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COVID-19: International Students Taking Online Classes Cannot Remain in US for Fall 2020 Semester

The Trump Administration has announced that beginning in Fall 2020, nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools and universities operating entirely online due to COVID-19 will no longer be eligible to remain in the United States on their student visas. This will leave many international students faced with the issue about how to continue their studies without losing their student visas.

ICE permitted foreign students to temporarily take online courses during the spring and summer semesters as universities adapted to the COVID-19 situation.

Moving forward, the Trump Administration and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will enforcing the following rules:

  • No new visas will be issues to students enrolled in schools, universities and programs that will be fully online for the Fall 2020 semester

  • Students currently in the US in such programs must depart the US or transfer to a school that offers in-person classes in order to remain in lawful immigration status. Students enrolled in online programs due to COVID-19 may be subject to removal orders if they remain in the US

Many universities throughout the US are offering online-only teaching until a COVID-19 vaccine is available. This includes prominent Ivy-League institutions, such as Harvard and Columbia, as well as many large state university systems, such as the University of California campuses. According to recent statistics, over 1 million international students currently attend US colleges and universities.

If you have any questions regarding this new policy, please contact Ayla Adomat, Esq. at

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