On Monday, officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revamped their policy for international students, after the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.
For their part, officials with the University of Texas at El Paso released the following statement regarding the changes:
University officials are aware of today’s decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to modify the regulations related to online courses permitted by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
There are more than 1,400 international students who will attend UTEP in the fall. We will work individually with each of them so that their course schedule meets federal requirements for their F-1 visa. We will work with each of them so that they can start or continue progress toward earning their degree.
According to the DHS release, “non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. 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 United States 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.”
DHS officials say they plan to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.
UTEP officials added that they will be providing additional information directly to students, over the next few days.
Students with questions and concerns can reach out to the Office of International Programs at email@example.com or 915-747-5664.