U.S. rescinds new visa rules for international students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has rescinded its July 6 guidelines on F-1 international student enrollment options and status maintenance requirements for the fall 2020 semester.

The guidelines, which restricted F-1 international students from taking all online courses for the fall 2020 semester, was challenged by Harvard University and MIT in a lawsuit that was later bolstered by the support of universities across the country, including the University of Illinois System. DHS rescinded the July 6 guidelines, July 7 frequently asked questions and all implementing guidance prior to opening arguments in the Harvard-MIT case on July 14.

Guidance regarding continuing F-1 student enrollment options and status maintenance now reverts back to the status quo established by DHS on March 13, 2020. However, at this point, the situation for international students newly admitted to begin programs in fall 2020 remains unclear as the March 13 document largely addresses continuing students only.

The Office of International Services (OIS) is pleased by this outcome and the reinstatement of a more flexible and realistic set of options that will enable UIC’s international students to continue their studies and maintain their status while protecting their safety and health during the COVID-19 crisis. OIS will seek clarification regarding prospective new fall 2020 students while reaching out to students, departments and administrators shortly to clarify any steps that need to be taken with regards to international student enrollment and support as we approach the fall semester.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact OIS at ois@uic.edu or 312-996-3121.

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