ICE Confirms Fall 2020 Semester Federal Guidance for F-1 and M-1 Students
Updated: Jul 31
Today ICE confirmed that schools certified by SEVP, as well as F-1 and M-1 students, should abide by the guidance that was previously issued in March 2020. The guidance allows schools and students to engage in remote learning due to COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to F-1 and M-1 students who were actively enrolled at a SEVP-certified U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status.
For continuing students, the March 2020 guidance permits online classes counting towards a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits. The guidance applies to continuing F-1 and M-1 students who were in valid status on March 9th. Students who returned to their home country to continue their studies remotely will be able to re-enter the U.S. even if their school will be 100% online instruction.
For new or initial students who have already arrived in the U.S., the March 2020 guidance permits online classes counting towards a full course of study in excess of the regulatory limits (the same as continuing students).
For new or initial students who have not yet arrived to the U.S., the March 2020 guidance states that those F-1 or M-1 students in new or initial status after March 9, 2020 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school if the school will be engaging in 100% online instruction. DSO's have been instructed to not issue a new Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" for students in new or initial status who are outside the U.S. and plan to take classes at a school that is providing online-only instruction. Please note that this does not apply new or initial students who plan on studying at an in-person or hybrid program as they should still be able to enter the U.S.