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ICE to deport foreign students taking fall classes entirely online

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) announced Monday that foreign students will not be allowed to remain in the country if they take entirely online classes during the fall semester.

Foreign students who are attending schools operating entirely online will not be allowed to remain in the US. The US Department of State will not issue student visas, and US Customs and Border Control will not permit those students to enter the US.

Foreign students attending schools operating normally will be subject to normal federal regulations, which means that they will be allowed to take one online class maximum. Foreign students attending schools that adopt a hybrid model will be allowed to take more than one class online. However, the schools will have to certify that their programs are not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make “normal progress in their degree program.”

If a student begins the fall semester with in-person classes but ends up taking an entirely online course load, the school should update this information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days. Foreign students are not allowed to take a full course of entirely online classes, and they must leave the country or take alternative steps if their school switches over to operate entirely online.

The US Department of Homeland Security will publish the procedures in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.