This guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the continuing public health concerns created by 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, whether from inside the United States or abroad.
As stated in the March 2020 guidance, Active F and M students will be permitted to temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study for the 2021-22 academic year. Students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took courses online while outside of the country can re-enter the United States, even if their school is engaged solely in distance learning.
In accordance with the March 2020 guidance, new or Initial F and M students who were not previously enrolled in a program of study on March 9, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant student for the 2022-23 academic year if their course of study is 100 percent online. A new student should be allowed to enter the United States if they are engaged in a hybrid program of study, with some requirement for in-person learning. Consistent with this restriction, Designated School Officials should not issue a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” for a student in new or Initial status who is outside of the United States and plans to take classes at an SEVP-certified educational institution that is operating fully online
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