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AILA Doc. No. 20070838 | Dated August 10, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a temporary exemption regarding the online study policy for the 2020 spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted F and M students to take more online courses than normally allowed for purposes of maintaining a full course of study to maintain their F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency. On July 6, 2020, ICE announced DHS’s plans to publish modifications as a temporary final rule in the Federal Register to the temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to COVID-19 for the fall 2020 semester.
ICE announced the following temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester:
On July 14, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a hearing involving litigation filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) challenging DHS's July 6, 2020, international student guidance, DHS has agreed to fully rescind the July 6, 2020, ICE guidance and July 7, 2020, Frequently Asked Questions, and rescind all implementing guidance. The status quo based upon the agency's March 13, 2020, guidance will remain in force.
On July 24, 2020, ICE SEVP issued follow-up guidance stating that active F and M students, as well as schools, should abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020, which enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. SEVP will not issue a temporary final rule for the fall school term.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20070838.