If you are looking to study abroad in the US or perhaps you are already studying in the United States as a foreigner, this is for you.
International students studying in the US may not be allowed to stay in the US this autumn if their universities fully move all classes online. Except of course, they switch to course with in-person tuition.
Since the corona pandemic started, universities in not only the United States but most part of the world, are gradually moving their classes online. Instead of students having to attend physical classes, they are being instructed to attend classes online.
This does not only apply for university students. In most countries, other sections like primary and secondary schools are made to either go online, or temporarily suspend every school lessons. This is of course, is as a result of the pandemic and the need to practise social distancing.
In the case of the United States, foreign students may face deportation. Before you panic, there is a clause. This was announced by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency which said that students in the US could face deportation if they do not comply with the rules.
The rules in this case is to switch to a course with in-person tuition. At this time, there is no clear figure as to how many students will be affected by this.
It is no doubt that large number of international students travel to the US to study every year and as such, they are a significant source of revenue for universities. This is as a result of the fact that many pay full tuition.
Some of the top Universities in the US already have their classes online. Harvard has equally announced that all instructions on courses will be delivered online when students return for the new academic year. This also applies to those living in the university.
The student and exchange visitor program had permitted foreign students to continue with their spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the country.
This new development was announced on Monday stating that foreign students remaining in the US while enrolled in online courses and fail to switch to in-person classes could face “Immigration consequences including but not limited to the initiation of removal proceedings”. New students seeking to re-enter the US in the semester fall for study will be denied visa if all courses are online.
It is also worth mentioning that this rule applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 Visas. These visas are for academic and vocational students.
Perhaps we should also mention that the state department in the fiscal year 2019, issued 388,829 F Visas and 9,518 M visas according to the agency’s data. Yet, there’s no accurate saying of how many students will be affected by this new development. However, it is being said that over 1 million foreign students are studying in the US.
Another worthy mention, is the fact that Foreign students studying in the united states, contributed $45 billion (£36 billion) to the country’s economy in 2018 according to the US commerce department.
In conclusion, while it’s still possible to remain in the US and study as an international student, you may be required to switch to a in-person course. Failure to do this while all courses are being moved online, may result to defaulting students being deported and their VISAs withdrawn.