Breaking News – SEVP modifies temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall 2020 semester. Here’s the official press release.
Temporary Exemption that was announced earlier in the year is now modified.
Note – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.
The Keyword here is Plans to Publish for Fall 2020 Semester.
Running Updates & Impacts:
- Universities are exploring solutions – Looking for Creative ways to need hybrid criteria.
- Students stuck outside the USA and if they graduate in December & school is 100% online, what happens to their OPT?
- If your college is 100% online and if you are forced to leave, and graduate in Dec 2020, then you can’t apply for OPT as well!
Quick Q&A with a DSO About F1 Students Attending Classes Online
New F1 Visa Rules & Changes Proposed by ICE:
Please note this is for the Fall 2020 Semester.
Option 1: Schools are 100% Online
- Are you on F1 Visa or M1 Visa Student Visa?
- Is your school operating 100% Online?
- Then you HAVE two Options.
- Transfer to Another school that offers in-person classes.
- Leave the Country (for Fall 2020 Semester).
Yes, you read it right – Leave the Country!
Option 2 – Schools are Operating with In-Person Classes
- No Changes
- Follow existing Federal regulations
- Students may take a maximum of one class or three credits online.
Option 3 – Schools Operating in Hybrid Model
- Hybrid Model – Mix of Online and In-Person Classes
- Students can Take More than One Online Class
- Schools may have to issue New I-20 that program is not 100% Online
This is breaking news, and I’m analyzing and getting opinions from DSO and Immigration Attorney. Please Stay Tuned for updates to this page.
ICE Just released these new New Temporary Rules, and all DSO’s are scrambling to see how this will impact their students.
Schools Should Report to SEVP By July 15, 2020
- Colleges and Universities should report to SEVP by July 15, 2020, if they will be offering entirely online classes or will not reopen by July 15, 2020
- What if Schools have not yet decided? COVID-10 is changing so rapidly, and how can schools choose in 10 days?
- If Schools are not entirely online, operational plans should be updated by August 1, 2020
DSO Should Issue New I-20’s
For all students attending schools in the United States this fall 2020, designated school officials (DSOs) must issue new Forms I-20 to each student certifying that the school is not operating entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. DSOs must indicate this information in the Form I-20 Remarks field in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Schools must update and reissue all Forms I-20 to reflect these changes in program enrollment and student information within 21 business days of publication of this Broadcast Message, on Aug. 4, 2020. When issuing new Forms I-20, please prioritize students who require new visas and are outside of the country.
I can’t believe if any DSO or school is equipped to issues 1000’s of I-20 in 21 business days’ time. There are universities with few thousand international students!
Questions and Answers about New F1 Visa Rules
Q1. Are these New Rules are Exemptions for F1 Students?
ICE gave exemptions in early 2020 when schools were shutting down due to COVID-19. Those exemptions allowed F1 and M1 students to take 100% classes online for Spring and Summer of 2020. Now, those exemptions are modified with these new rules.
Refer to the Screenshot – SEVP made changes between Jan 2020 and Mar 2020.
Now, July 2020 updates (released today will apply for Fall 2020 semester):
Q2. What does this mean? When does one have to leave the country?
- You don’t have to do anything as of today.
- You don’t have to pack and leave the country today.
- If your school is 100% online for the Fall Semester, then this would impact you.
- All DSO’s are talking in the backend, and something will be announced from your school.
Q3. How Can Universities Handle This is this rule is Implemented
- I have seen email confirmation from at least one Day 1 CPT University that they will offer In-Person Classes.
- Cal State System – They Confirmed Classes are 100% Online for Fall 2020
- The University of California System goes 100% Online for Fall 2020
- That’s just Two systems. There are 100’s of Colleges and Universities. It’s not easy to only offer in-person classes to just a select few students.
- Can schools offer in-person classes just for International Students? Would they put their faculty and staff and international students at risk of infections?
- These are questions being asked by University Presidents and everyone involved in the International Student Community.
- CNN – International Students may Need to Leave the USA if classes are 100% Online
- WSJ – New rules Details How Foreign Students Can and Can’t Take Classes this Fall
If this is rule is implemented as stated, it will have devastating effects on U.S. International students. I hope this will not be applied, and exceptions are given to take classes online until this pandemic is controlled.
I will be posting updates and adding commentary as I hear new updates.
Please share the news and stay engaged.
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