In an online hearing before Federal District Judge Allison D. Burroughs, who was presiding in a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT against the restrictive ICE policy, ICE announced it is withdrawing its memorandum that prohibited F-1 students from entering or remaining in the United States if their U.S. school did not offer in-person or hybrid courses during the Fall 2020 semester. Several other universities and colleges as well States have filed lawsuits challenging the restrictive policy.
ICE declared that it would continue to apply its March 2020 COVID-19 guidance, and which permitted F-1 students attending school in the United States to take online classes to maintain their status due the pandemic. However, future restrictions on F-1 students cannot be ruled out as the court kept the case open for further litigation.
The rescission by ICE means that F-1 students will continue to benefit until further notice from the March 2020 ICE guidance that permits foreign students to engage in online instruction within the United States during the COVID-19 emergency. It also means U.S. schools will be able to offer a full online curriculum in the Fall 2020 Semester without risking its foreign students’ valid F-1 status in the U.S.
See this link for additional details: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-14/harvard-and-u-s-make-deal-on-foreign-student-visas
We continue to closely monitor the status of F-1 policy and related litigation, and we are committed to bringing you the latest guidance to keep you abreast any policy changes that may affect your stay and work in the U.S.
Should you have any further questions regarding the above, please call our office at 716-881-2600 for assistance.