U.S Will Rescind SEVP Rule Restricting Online Curriculum for Foreign Students

On July 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as part of a resolution reached pursuant to a lawsuit, agreed to rescind the July 2020?Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) policy change. As we?previously reported, the SEVP policy change would have required?foreign students in F-1 or M-1 status in the U.S. to take at least some in-person coursework in the fall 2020 semester. According to the resolution, the federal government will rescind the July 6, 2020 SEVP Policy Directive and the July 7, 2020 SEVP FAQ (as well as the implementation of the same).

 

Based on this update, the prior COVID-19-related SEVP guidance issued in March 2020 continues in effect, which will allow F-1 and M-1 students taking only online courses in the fall 2020 semester to continue to lawfully reside in the United States.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any questions.

New Rule Impacts International Students Who Take Online Courses

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a temporary exemption for the spring and summer semesters that allowed non-immigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted. On Monday, July 6th, SEVP modified these temporary exemptions; the modifications will be effective for the fall 2020 semester. DHS will be publishing these modifications in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.

 

Beginning in the fall 2020 semester:

 

1. F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain the United States. The Department of State will not issue visas to such students, and Customs and Border Protection will not allow them to enter the United States. Active students currently in the U.S. must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to another school that provides in-person instruction. Otherwise, they may face initiation of removal proceedings.

 

2. F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

 

3. F-1 students attending schools?adopting a hybrid model (mixture of online and in-person classes) will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. But the school must certify to SEVP through an I-20 that the program is not entirely online. They must also confirm that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their program.

 

Non-immigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes.
Please contact a Graham Adair attorney with any questions.