ICE Bans New International Students Again
July 24th, ICE announced that all international students newly enrolling in their school would not be allowed entry if all of their classes will be taught entirely online.
Schools have been asked not to issue I-20 to new students who will take only online classes and are currently outside of the United States. This means such students, without valid I-20’s, will not be able to apply for student visas.
If the school can provide certification that the student is taking at least one in-person class and not just online courses, they may enter on a valid visa.
This rule does not apply to students that are already enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities as of March 9th.
Suppose the student was already enrolled at a U.S. college or university by March 9th and holds a valid student visa; in that case, even if the school only offers remote instructions, the student can remain in the U.S. or return after departing the country.
Under the situation where the pandemic is to worsen, and schools are to revert to fully online instructions, international students will not be forced to leave the country.
This rule has been highly controversial and has undergone several changes. First released on July 6th, the rule initially was to ban all international students taking online classes only. Only one week later, the ICE agreed to rescind the rule after being challenged in court by several universities.