USA tells foreign students to return home, as classes go completely online amidst COVID-19

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Shikha Chaurasia

Pune, July 7, 2020: The United States of America (USA) announced on Monday, if the classes of universities are held completely online due to the ongoing pandemic in the fall semester which starts from August end or September first week, then all foreign students will have to compulsorily leave the country.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, “non-immigrant students on F-1 visas and M-1 visas attending schools which are operating online entirely might not take a full online course load and remain in the US.”

According to the ICE, most students on F-1 visas enrol in academic coursework while those students on M-1 visas enrol in vocational coursework.

ICE also said, “active students currently within the US enrolled programs should depart the country or take other measures, like transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they’ll face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.” It further informed that the State Department will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the US.

Many Universities and Colleges are yet to announce their schedules for the coming fall semester. It is said that many of the schools and colleges are going to opt for the mix of online and in-person lectures. On the other hand, some universities including Harvard has already said that their medium of instruction will be completely online.