“Nonimmigrant” or international students may need to act quickly when it comes to remaining eligible to stay in the U.S.
On Monday the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced changes that affect all international students studying here in the U.S. but especially those whose schools have switched to online-only due to COVID-19.
SEVP is a program that is run by ICE - one of the agencies that fall under the Department of Homeland Security - and they recently announced the modifications added to their program due to many schools moving to online classes for the fall semester because of COVID-19.
The modifications state that nonimmigrant students attending schools that have completely transferred online cannot take on a full online course load and remain in the U.S. If a students’ school is completely online, they must transfer to a school that allows in-person classes or leave the country.
Other modifications state that F-1 students whose schools are operating regularly and holding in-person classes must abide by existing federal regulations. Additionally, F-1 students whose schools will be adopting a hybrid method of classes may take more than one class online.
The panic has already started as many people took to social media to express their concerns and uncertainty about their education and legal status. This is a similar panic that was caused at the start of the pandemic when colleges and universities shut down and their international students were forced to find shelter after being required to leave campus.