F-1 M-1 International Students Can Take Full Online Courses & Remain in U.S.

On July 14, 2020 after lawsuits filed by several states, Harvard and MIT, the Trump administration said it would no longer require international students to attend in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic in order to remain in the country.
DHS and ICE rescind or ended the policy barring International Students from taking online courses due to COVID-19. ICE will revert back to the guidance it issued in March that allows foreign students to take online courses to reside in the United States on F-1/M-1 visas. ICE agreed to a resolution less than five minutes into a hearing for the case Harvard and MIT filed last week
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On July 6, 2020, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications  to a temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester. In summary, F-1 M-1 students taking full online courses cannot remain in U.S. – they must attend in-person classes full-time for the fall 2020 semester.
Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester include:

  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
  2. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
  3. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.

Schools should update their information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days of the change if they begin the fall semester with in-person classes but are later required to switch to only online classes, or a nonimmigrant student changes their course selections, and as a result, ends up taking an entirely online course load. Nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes. If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave.

Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

Orlando Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram advises F-1 and M-1 students to seek guidance from their school counselor.  If the F-1 M-1 students taking full online courses at current school then maybe the student may want to transfer to another school that has in-person classes so not to violate their F-1 M-1 status.

For more information on F-1 M-1 students taking full online courses,

text/call 407-292-7730 | whatsapp 407-353-1363 |email gail@gaillaw.com

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Young Immigrants “Dreamers” benefit from new bill – Dream Act of 2017

On July 20, 2017, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill titled Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615), which would provide young immigrants who were brought to this country as children and grew up, commonly known as Dreamers, in the United States the chance to apply for lawful permanent residence, if they meet certain requirements. A week later, two bills were introduced in the House of Representatives that would protect also Dreamers – the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (H.R. 3440), introduced by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and the American Hope Act, introduced by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

#GailLaw welcomes these efforts and calls on both the Senate and House of Representative to pass legislation protecting Dreamers and to urge the Trump Administration to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program until a more permanent solution is in place for these young immigrants. Currently DACA is under attack (more…)

Obama Immigration Order: Immigrant Parents & Children – “We’re not going to deport you”

During President Obama’s address to the nation, he stated we have a tradition of welcoming immigrants. His speech and executive action was prompted by 500+ days of inaction by the Republican House of Representative on an immigration bill already passed by the Senate. In referring to the executive order he will sign, he stated “this is about who we are as a country…working hard…and keeping families together.”

Republicans may block Obama immigration order by passing a resolution denouncing the president’s action and then vote to censure him or sue over the legality of the executive action. Opponents have mentioned an appropriations bill to stop spending for this executive order but U.S. Department of Homeland Security is self-funded by application fees and does not rely on Congressional spending. Republicans need to be cautious that whatever action they choose to take, it does not alienate them from Latino and minority voters.

Deportation Protection for Parents & Children: Obama immigration order offers two deferred action (or protection from deportation) initiatives that will benefit 4.4 million undocumented immigrants. First, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be granted three years of deportation relief. To qualify, they must have lived in the United States since 1/1/2010, pass background checks and pay taxes. Application for Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) will be released and accepted in 180 days.

In 2012, Obama immigration order to help immigrant children was implemented and many immigrant children continue to benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Obama will revise DACA to eliminate the age restriction, (more…)

FL Senate & Illegal Immigration: Florida college tuition break for illegal students?

This week, the Florida Senate will consider the Post Secondary Tuition bill and decide whether to grant a tuition break for illegal students who are living in the country illegal.  This issue relating to illegal immigration and college students has greatly divided the Republicans in the Florida Senate.

Democrats, many Republicans, Gov. Rick Scott, several former governors including Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist and many news media outlets have piled on — Scott and Crist once opposed the idea, but now support it.

Some Florida colleges and universities already allow in-state tuition for students in the US illegally. Florida International University, for example, was the first to do so. But the University of Florida doesn’t allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants because it’s against federal law.

READ MORE….

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

DACA Renewal of Deferred Action for DREAMers (Young Immigrants)

Those individuals granted DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may submit their renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before their current period of deferred action will expire. If renewal request are submitted more than 150 days (5 months) before your current period expires, immigration authorities may reject it and return the petition with instructions to resubmit it closer to the expiration date.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Renewing DACA-Deferred Action-DREAMer Status

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process announced for those individuals granted DACA from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, when USCIS started receiving requests. The process of renewing DACA (DREAMer) has NOT yet been announced for individuals who received deferred action by making a request on or or after August 15, 2012. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has not issued a renewal form so applicants are advised to use existing forms and note “Renewal Request”. Request for renewals must be submitted 120 days before your current period of deferred action under DACA expires.

CLICK HERE for more information.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Renew DACA – Deferred Action-DREAMer Status

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal process announced for those individuals granted DACA from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, when USCIS started receiving requests. The process to renew DACA has NOT yet been announced for individuals who received deferred action by making a request on or or after August 15, 2012. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has not issued a renewal form so applicants are advised to use existing forms and note “Renewal Request”. Request for renewals must be submitted 120 days before your current period of deferred action under DACA expires.

If you wish to renew your deferred action for another two year period, you must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This form must be completed, properly signed and accompanied by a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (along with the accompanying filing fees for that form, totaling $465), and Form I-765WS. 

If your previous period of deferred action expires before you receive a renewal of deferred action under DACA, you will accrue unlawful presence and will not be authorized to work for any time between the periods of deferred action.  For this reason, USCIS encourages you to submit your request for renewal 120 days before your current period of deferred action under DACA expires.

An individual whose case was initially deferred under DACA by ICE may be considered for Renewal of DACA from USCIS if he or she:

  • Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching his or her 16th birthday and established residence at that time;
  • Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole.
  • Was present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his or her request;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his or her lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from a high school, has obtained a general educational development certificate,  is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; or was in school at the time he or she requested DACA from ICE and: 1) has successfully completed an education, literacy, or career training program (including vocational training) and obtained employment,  2) is currently enrolled in high school, postsecondary school or a new/different education, literacy or career training program, or 3) has made substantial, measurable progress toward completing an education, literacy, or career training program and,
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.