fbpx
Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Summit September 23rd 2024, InterContinental London - The O2
29th Jul 2020

US immigration confirms new international students cannot enter the US for “100% online” studies

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • After a turbulent month of policy making, US immigration authorities have confirmed that new international students will not be permitted to enter the US if their programme of study has fully transitioned to online delivery

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began the month of July by announcing new guidance that would have effectively barred international students from entering or remaining in the US if their programme of study transitioned to online delivery.

In a dramatic reversal, that rule was rescinded by the US government on 14 July, in the face of a number of lawsuits and widespread criticism of the online ban by US institutions, education associations, and state governments.

At the time, ICE indicated that it would continue under its previous guidance from March 2020 – an earlier directive that sets out exemptions to allow international students to maintain their visa status in the US while studying online.

Reports began to circulate last week that ICE had advised some US institutions that, while the March 2020 rules would be applied to continuing students, they would not apply to new students -- that is, to those planning to begin studies this year. In other words, the ban on online-only studies would still apply, but only for new students.

On 24 July, ICE confirmed these reports with a public statement that affirmed the department's guidance from March. Specifically, that continuing students can preserve their visa status in the US even if they are forced to study online because of the pandemic.

ICE added as well that it would, "not issue a temporary final rule impacting nonimmigrant students for the fall school term." This appeared to put an end to speculation that the US administration may introduce additional rules for the fall semester that could have impacted the visa status of international students in the United States.

At the same time, however, the ICE statement confirms that foreign students planning to begin studies in fall 2020 will not be permitted to enter the US if their programmes have transitioned to online study.

"In accordance with March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after 9 March will not be able to enter the US to enroll in a US school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100% online."

"Additionally," the announcement continues, "designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status who is outside of the US and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution fully online."

This latest directive will be disappointing to US educators and other groups working to support international students in the US. But some have pointed out that the emphasis on prohibiting studies that are "100% online" may yet leave room for new students to enter the country for hybrid programmes that combine remote and in-person instruction.

Speaking for the American Council on Education (ACE), Brad Farnsworth, vice president for global engagement, said, “While the association is disappointed that there is inconsistency between the treatment for existing students who are in the United States who will be allowed to enroll in fully online institutions and the treatment of new students, it is nonetheless pleased to see the flexibility for hybrid learning options.”

“We still have questions," added Mr Farnsworth. "And we’re keeping our options open as to how to respond.”

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • South Korea on track to attract thousands more international students within the decade Read More
  • International enrolment declines pressuring UK universities this year, with one in three facing significant financial challenges Read More
  • New Zealand expands work rights for accompanying dependants of foreign students Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

South Korea on track to attract thousands more international students within the decade At the same time as leading Western destinations – e.g., Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom –...
Read more
International enrolment declines pressuring UK universities this year, with one in three facing significant financial challenges It is becoming increasingly clear that a decline in international enrolments is putting the finances of UK universities...
Read more
New Zealand expands work rights for accompanying dependants of foreign students Immigration New Zealand has expanded the eligibility for work visas for partners of some foreign students in the...
Read more
Market snapshot: International student recruitment in China today The volume of Chinese students choosing to study abroad is rising and may even return to pre-pandemic levels...
Read more
Canada’s language training sector reached 82% of pre-pandemic benchmark in 2023 Canada’s language training sector continued its recovery from the pandemic in 2023. A new annual report from Languages...
Read more
US ELT providers flag visa denials as key area of concern The just-released 2024 Annual Report on English Language Programs in the USA expands on survey findings released earlier...
Read more
Canada’s immigration ministry proposes new compliance regime for institutions and schools Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has proposed a series of regulatory changes to the country’s international student...
Read more
What is the right balance of international enrolment in post-secondary education? In January 2024, Canada announced a two-year cap on international enrolments. That cap was mandated by the federal...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links