International students holding F and M visas studying online outside of the U.S. can keep their status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a recent statement released on its official website.
"Students will not be permitted to enter or remain in the United States to attend such schools, but they are not barred from continuing to attend all classes at these schools from abroad," ICE said in response to the question "are students attending schools that are entirely online barred from attending that school?"
ICE also noted that this approach "balances students' ability to continue their studies while minimizing the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our communities by ensuring that individuals who do not need to be present in the United States are not physically here."
Earlier, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have jointly filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's administration over new rules barring international students from staying in the U.S. while taking online courses.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to bar the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from enforcing the new regulations on foreign students in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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