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Update on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Online Study Exemption

    Client Alerts
  • July 15, 2020

The Trump administration reversed a previous directive that would have barred students in F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant status from remaining in the United States this fall while taking courses entirely online. Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would end the temporary exemption to its online study policy under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Due to the COVID-19 emergency, ICE had suspended its online study policy, which limits the number of online courses F-1 and M-1 students can take. Under the new policy guidance, ICE will extend the online study exemption through the fall semester, meaning that F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrants can maintain status while taking fully online courses of study. The reversal comes after Harvard and MIT filed suit against ICE, alleging that the agency’s decision violated the Administrative Procedures Act.