ICE reverses policy after telling foreign students attending US schools online to go home (UPDATED)

This announcement comes after many prominent universities issued hybrid or mostly-online learning models for the fall semester.

ICE announced that university students taking a fully online course load in the fall must return to their home countries.

UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security has reversed it decision to force international students studying in the U.S. to return home.


Original story below: 

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced Monday that college students taking a fully online course load during the fall 2020 semester must return to their home countries.

“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States,”  a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated.

[RELATED: Fall reopenings a mixed bag for campuses]

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” ICE added.

Students attending schools with “normal in-person classes” will not be affected, and students attending schools operating under a hybrid model will be permitted to take more than one class online. However, students who do not comply with the new requirements may face removal from the United States. 

[RELATED: Professors, teachers do NOT want to go back to work this fall]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government had previously issued temporary exemptions to nonimmigrant foreign students allowing them to take more online courses than usually permitted. 

The recent announcement comes after prominent institutions — including Harvard University  — announced that they will not be inviting most students back to campus in the fall. Many universities are adopting hybrid models while others are returning to fully online instruction.

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