President of the USA, Donald Trump has said the foreign students in the US will no longer be allowed to remain in the country if the institution commences fully online.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said affected students would face “immigration consequences”, including deportation if they failed to comply.
It has given students who are concerned the options of “transferring to a school with in-person instruction” to retain their lawful status.
The rule, according to the agency, applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are issued to academic and vocational students, respectively.
ICE said: “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 U.S.
“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.”
It is not clear how many people are affected, but official data show that there were 1.09 million international students in the U.S. as of the 2018/2019 session.