The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced that international students who are pursuing degrees in the country will have to leave if their universities decide to go completely online in the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were close to 170 F-1 and M-1 visas issued to Afghans in 2019 according to the U.S. State Department.
Universities across the U.S. are deciding whether to begin the transition to switch to online-only courses or a hybrid of in-person and online.
This means thousands of foreign students who come to the U.S. for attending academic, non-academic, vocational or training courses, may have to do it from home or transfer to another school with in-person instruction.
ICE said violators risk deportation proceedings.
The guidelines apply to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas and the guidance does not affect students taking classes in person or a partial online course-load as long as their university certifies the student’s medium of instruction is not completely digital.
M-1 vocational and F-1 English language training programme students are not allowed to opt for any online classes.