f1 visa students rule rescinded by ICE
USA Visa

Yay! F1 Students Rule Rescinded by Government

Proposed F1 Visa students rule for Fall 2020 is Rescinded (canceled) by the government.

The timeline:

  • July 6, 2020 – F1 Visa Rule Proposed – New Guidelines
  • July 7, 2020 – FAQ’s was Published
  • July 8, 2020 – Harvard and MIT Filed a Lawsuit
  • July 14, 2020 – ICE Rescinds the Proposed rule

Several Universities and Tech Firms joined the Lawsuit Filed by Harvard & MIT against the Proposed F1 Visa Students Rule by ICE.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had sued the administration over the move.

Today (July 14, 2020) at 3 PM, EST was supposed to be hearing at a Federal Court.

The U.S. government was expected to make an argument about why they are implementing this Proposed Rule.

“If a school isn’t going to open or if they’re going to be 100% online, then we wouldn’t expect people to be here for that,” acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told CNN’s last week.

But, in today’s court, there was no argument! No lengthy back and forth discussions.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Dale Burroughs in Massachusetts announced Tuesday that the government and plaintiffs had reached a resolution in a lawsuit brought by Harvard University and MIT.

In less than 5 minutes, it was all over.

Actual Notes from the Court:

By my understanding that moots the TRO/preliminary injunction motion and will preclude the enforcement of the July 2020 policy directive and frequently asked questions on a nationwide basis.” Mr. Farquar (govt) agreed. Mr. Lee (plaintiffs) asked the judge to clarify that it meant that the July 6 directive and the July 7, FAQ were rescinded on a nationwide basis, and the judge said right, her reference to the “July 2020” directive and FAQs meant to encompass both, and “that both the policy directive and the FAQ would not be enforced anyplace…” Mr. Lee agreed. The judge continued, “the motion is mooted, the hearing will be adjourned, and the case will remain open on my docket pending further motion practice from the parties.”

So, time to celebrate? Yes.

And while I was scanning all the news to see what happened?

And I found the following bit from CNN.com.

One person familiar with the matter told CNN the White House had felt the blowback to the proposal and that some inside the West Wing believe it was poorly conceived and executed.
According to another source, the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students, rather than students already in the U.S. The White House declined to comment on an ongoing policy process.

Let me paste that text again – the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students.

So, I do not want to speculate on that if they will move forward or not. But, as of now. It’s good news that this New Proposed Rule and FAQ’s that was posted on July 7 is also rescinded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) Does it mean international students can now take online classes and still be able to reside in the US?

Yes. If you are in the USA, you get to stay and take online courses for the Fall 2020 semester and stay in the USA.

Q2) What happens to F1 Students outside the USA? Will they have active F1 Status till the end of Fall 2020?

Yes. As per the March 2020 guidelines for F1 Students. I hope that will not change.

Here’s the answer form ICE:

Under current conditions, if an Active F student leaves the United States to complete the spring term online, their SEVIS record should remain in Active status and not be terminated. While the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, students deemed to be maintaining status if they are making normal progress in their course of study. For that reason, the five-month temporary absence provision addressed in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(4) will not apply for students who remain in Active status.

Q3) Can New Fall 2020 students come to the USA and take 100% Online Courses?

As per March 2020 guidelines, new Fall 2020 students can’t come to the USA to attend 100% online programs. So, we have to wait for guidelines on this aspect. Here’s the confirmation on that from ICE.

Initial students currently in the United States that have reported to their school should be made Active in SEVIS and follow the guidelines the school provides to all its F and M students related to COVID-19. If Initial students have not arrived in the United States, they should remain in their home country.

ICE is expected to make changes to March 2020 guidelines. Until we hear from ICE, please stay tuned to this page.

I will add/update this FAQ frequently. If you have questions, post in the comments.


Stay safe and healthy. Wear your mask.

I will update this article as I get more information.

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  1. Hi Raghuram, I am starting college this fall on H-4 and applying for Change of Status to F-1 parallely. Can I take all classes online if I am enrolled full time on H-4 ? Will the time spent on H4 status count towards my eligibility for F-1 benefits like CPT?

  2. Hello Sir,
    If I am outside the USA and I’m coming as a new student, and my university has announced hybrid model, will I be able to enter U.S. border?
    Thank you!

  3. Hello Sir,
    I am going to start my MS in December this year. I am currently outside US. Does this rule apply to me.. Will I be able to enter US if my university is offering 100% online classes?

    1. If you are outside the USA and you are coming as a new student, as per guidelines, you will not be able to enter and take 100% online courses. This applies to Fall 2020 students. This applies at this time. If things change, I will update the blog post.

  4. Hi,
    I am in India right now and fall 2020 is my last semester. I am in India from jan 2020 and I was not able to return back due to covid-19. My university has adopted hybrid model and my last course is in class. Is there any problem for me to return back? I have valid visa and valid sevis.

    1. You should be able to return with your current I-20 and take classes. Remember, USCIS may deny your OPT if you apply from the outside the USA. So, I would talk to your DSO and come to the US at least before graduation.

  5. I’m on F1 visa graduate student living in USA. My university has announced hybrid model. But can I go back to India for fall semester and study fall semester online completely, come back for Spring semester and still be active in SEVIS?

  6. Hello sir,
    Right now my sevis is closed.
    I done second master’s and applied for opt and uscis denied after 8 months and reason for deny is used cpt more then 1 yr and also they closed my sevis.

    Now i have new admission in MBA with new sevis id bt dso said have to exit usa and come back and my visa will expire 04th nov 2020.

    So now is it possibility to i can come back if i go canada or mexico border?
    And right now all border is closed so wait to open !

    Really helpful your suggestions here sir.

    Thank you

  7. So I am currently in the US and going to start my MS this Fall. Does this rule apply to me or I still need to wait about more clear communication on “the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students.”

    1. As of now, you don’t have to worry about one source quoting it. You are good to go as of today.

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