One July 24, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that schools certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and nonimmigrant students should abide by the guidance issued by SEVP in March 2020.  The March 2020 guidance applies to those F and M nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled in SEVP-certified U.S. schools on March 9, 2020 and were in compliance with the terms of their nonimmigrant status.

According to the March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9, 2020 will not be permitted to enter the United States for the purpose of enrolling in a U.S. school for the Fall semester to pursue a course of study that is made up of 100% online courses.  Designated school officials have also been advised not to issue Form I-20 to nonimmigrant students in new or initial status who are outside of the United States and plan to take classes fully online.  The March 2020 guidance does not provide any information regarding the possibility of new students pursuing a hybrid course of study, one that is made up of a combination of online and in-person courses.  The guidance also suggests that U.S. schools which will be conducting 100% of their courses online for the Fall semester offer nonimmigrant students deferment.

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