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
27th Apr 2022

US extends COVID guidance around online and hybrid programmes for 2022/23 academic year

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • US Immigration has provided important updated guidance for new and continuing students, especially those studying entirely or partly online
  • The policy around online study is designed in part to allow students and educators the flexibility to move programmes online, or back to in-person instruction, as institutional policy and local public health conditions allow

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced earlier this month that its March 2020 guidance for F and M visa class students, and schools certified by SEVP will remain in effect for the 2022/23 academic year.

One of the key points in that original March 2020 guidance is that it allowed international students enrolled in the US as of 9 March 2020 to maintain their visa status and to be considered to be engaged in a full course of study even if they were studying fully online (and whether in the US or abroad). SEVP has caps in place otherwise that limit the amount of studies that students can complete online while still preserving their visa status.

An extended set of FAQs, last updated on 18 April 2022, provides more detailed guidance for students and counsellors around the SEVP policy in this area.

A new section of that FAQ file outlines "Clarifying Questions for the 2022/23 Academic Year", notably with respect to the following.

  • The March 2020 guidance applies primarily to continuing students who were enrolled in the US as of 9 March of that year, and who had a valid visa at that time. It explains that, "If a non-immigrant student was enrolled in a course of study in the United States on 9 March 2020, but subsequently left the country, that student remains eligible for a visa since the March 2020 guidance permitted a full online course of study from inside or outside the United States."
  • Continuing students are similarly permitted to remain in the US even if their programmes remain fully online: "Consistent with the March 2020 guidance, for the 2022/23 academic year non-immigrant students may remain in the United States to engage in a fully online program of study if they have not otherwise violated the terms of their non-immigrant status."
  • However, the updated SEVP guidance also cautions that, US institutions and schools "should not issue a Form I-20, 'Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status,' for a student in new or Initial status who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution that is operating fully online. A new student may be issued a visa to study inside the United States if their program of study is a hybrid program with some in-person learning requirement." In other words, new students cannot be issued an I-20 for programmes that remain fully online.

Please consult the complete FAQ file for the latest SEVP guidance for new and continuing students for 2022/23.

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Market snapshot: International student recruitment in China today Read More
  • Canada’s language training sector reached 82% of pre-pandemic benchmark in 2023 Read More
  • US ELT providers flag visa denials as key area of concern 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

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
UK ELT providers report restricting enrolment because of bed shortages A new report from English UK draws on survey responses from 91 member centres to conclude that many...
Read more
Student weeks for Malta’s ELT sector surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2023 The latest data for Malta’s English Language Teaching (ELT) sector finds that total student weeks for 2023 increased...
Read more
International students contributed $31 billion to Canadian economy in 2022 An updated analysis from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) estimates that the combined direct and indirect GDP contribution of...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links