(Updated) ICE Extends COVID-19 Guidance for International Students Through 2022-23 Academic Year

April 25, 2022 Amanda Bolhuis

UPDATE: This update to the original article below reflects the latest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance for certain international students.  

On April 18, 2022, ICE  announced  an extension of guidance originally issued for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) in March 2020. The guidance allows existing F and M students to stay in the U.S. and continue to pursue their program of study entirely online in the 2022-2023 academic year if they have not violated the terms of their nonimmigrant status. Aside from the extension, which will last through the 2023 academic year unless ICE announces a further extension, there are no significant changes to the guidance’s provisions.  

Schools that are SEVP-certified do not need to submit a new procedural plan detailing their alternative procedures if they previously submitted a plan and if they are not making substantive changes for the 2022-2023 academic year.  Schools that are making substantive changes should submit those changes to SEVP within 10 days of deciding to implement the changes.  

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced that it will continue to allow international students to take more courses online during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Overview

ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will continue following guidance first issued in March 2020 for the 2021-22 academic year. The guidance allows international students to take courses online rather than in-person due to COVID-19.

The SEVP guidance also states that students in new or initial status who were not already in the U.S. as of March 9, 2020 may not be issued F-1 or M-1 visas if their studies will be 100% online. To enter the U.S. in initial status, students must be enrolled in a fully in-person educational program or in a hybrid learning program with a combination of online and in-person learning.

What Should Stakeholders Know?

ICE’s guidance will be extended through the 2021-22 academic year without modifications. Students who were already in the U.S. as of March 9, 2020 in F-1 or M-1 status can remain in the country, even if their studies will be 100% online during the 2021-22 academic year.

Looking Ahead

Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) will continue to provide updates to this story as they become available. Stakeholders can also monitor the ICE website for more information. 

 Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional. 

About the Author

Amanda is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates. Her practice focuses on employment based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions. She has extensive experience handling B, E, H, L, O and TN visa cases, employment-based green cards (EB-1 and PERM labor certification) and USCIS Requests for Evidence and appeals. She also has experience advising companies on corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and I-9 compliance issues. Amanda works with clients in several industries, including automotive, insurance and technology.

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