U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Rescind Recent F-1 Guidance Barring Online-Only Courses

Washington, D.C., July 14, 2020: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have agreed to rescind a policy that would bar international students taking online-only courses from residing in the United States in F-1 status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This development follows numerous lawsuits brought by states and prestigious universities challenging ICE’s decision to reverse its previous March 13, 2020 policy which allowed international students to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status even if their university offered online-only instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs announced the settlement at the beginning of a hearing in Boston, Massachusetts during the highly publicized suit brought by suit brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

As a result of the decision, ICE will revert to the guidance it issued on March 13, 2020 that allows students taking online courses to reside in the United States in valid F-1 status, and it will rescind any implementation of the policy announced on July 6, 2020.

The original March 13, 2020 ICE guidance can be found online here: https://www.ice.gov/.

We will continue to report on updates to F-1 student visa policies and other immigration related regulatory changes.

Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., will continue to report on developments regarding the immigration law and policy through our news section of donosolaw.com.


Donoso & Partners, LLC provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility for visas to the U.S. or Canada.

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