JULY 24, 2020: Update
Just last week, we saw Trump revoking his ban and just when we thought the storm is over, Harvard announced that the ban does not apply to incoming Freshmen. In simpler words, any undergraduate student who was going to enter USA for the first time for his studies on a F-1 visa will not be allowed since college courses are running fully online and the ban revoke does not apply to them.
“International freshmen will not be able to come to campus this fall due to federal visa restrictions,” Harvard’s Indian-American Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote to undergraduates Tuesday.
We are trying to find if this applies to incoming Master’s students as well. For the moment, it looks like USA has still not found its peace with students.
In lieu of the above, shall you continue your study abroad plans to USA? Contact us if you need help planning your future. Nistha has been helping students make their decisions this year more than ever and we are always happy to assist you.
JULY 15, 2020: Update
The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded its ban on international students who planned to take classes entirely online in the fall as university campuses remain largely closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Details of the administration’s rollback came during a court hearing over a challenge brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in federal court. According to a court order, both sides had reached an agreement to rescind the policy, which was announced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week, sending thousands of students into a panic.
JULY 9, 2020: Original News
USA asked international students to leave the country if they are on an online-only coursework. Our analysis below.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced all of a sudden that international students will face deportation if their schools switch to remote learning fully due to the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, there was a temporary exemption that permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status. This ruling by ICE revokes this exemption and basically states that if you are studying fully online, you cannot stay in USA 😷
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. Active students currently in the USA 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. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
It is devastating and cruel to say the least because online classes are not anybody’s fault. This comes after Trump banning issuance of new H1B visas last month 😩
Who does it affect?
- Current F1 students who are taking classes completely in online mode
- Anybody planning to start Fall 2020 semester whose program is declared not hybrid cannot get F1 stamped or enter United States
Few options available to you:
- Change your program of study such that they enroll in either hybrid or in person classes
- Ask your advisor if there’s a way to enroll in courses which qualify for in-person credits – there might be certain project/independent study kind of courses that fulfill this criteria
- Some people are talking about taking medical leave or transferring to another college but that is not feasible for everyone
Is there any hope on the horizon?
First, this turbulence is mainly caused by Presidential elections due later this year in USA. Things are expected to settle down after the elections.
MIT, Harvard, NEU have sued the govt for the same in order to protect the students.
India is also planning to raise the issue diplomatically to protect the students.
What are current students saying about it?
Nothing great to report.
Next year’s H1B is my last attempt, and with all the noise around, there is nothing promising to look forward to.
I love my job so that keeps me going and even though there are rumors of layoff, my team seems to be safe from being affected.
On a positive note, I feel lucky to have come here, did my MS and get a job before the pandemic hit.
Almost all the juniors who graduated last month from my college have active job offers, so that’s a great news.
The manner in which classes are being held (online) is a major drawback. Professors hate it, and attending a class in person is miles ahead of attending classes online. It’s not just the classes, but being have to be away from the University buzz is a major setback too.
The kind of support we are receiving from our faculty, and graduate associations (at CMU) is reassuring. But constantly being reminded by this administration that we are ‘aliens’ in this country, irrespective of our contributions, has consistently corroded our motivation to stay here for any longer than is needed. Before coming here last year I was of the opinion that every rule had a rationale that probably benefited the country’s economy or it’s politics. But now I am surprised to see how a country that was built by immigrants can be so xenophobic. Many of my friends are judiciously considering moving to other countries or going back home as soon as things settle. And it’s not only us Indians. An Australian colleague in my dept just sent his wife and 2 kids back home. I’ve heard from Chinese friends who want to go back home as soon as they graduate. I too am considering a future out of this country as soon as I graduate this December.
Colleges are trying to provide a hybrid model for current students so that they can stay. Apart from new i20 issuance (stating that we will be attending hybrid classes), nothing major is impacted for most of the universities (in hybrid mode). PS: College is supporting us in every way they can and Trump administration is doing the opposite. Keep calm and wait for November.
Rest, we are keeping an eye on the events very closely and will keep updating things here. You can also join our hyper active FB group to discuss the issues with fellow students.
Leave your comments and concerns below 💬