Trump Administration Agrees To Drop New F-1/M-1 Rule, Allowing Students To Study Online For The Fall Semester

Posted on Jul 15, 2020 by Chris Prescott

On Monday, July 6, 2020 SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program (a division of ICE) announced that students taking a full online course load in the fall semester are not allowed to remain in the US.

This new rule was a departure from a previous exemption announced in March 2020, allowing students to study online and continue to maintain their status.

Following the announcement that international students were not allowed to continue studying online, schools and students were left scrambling to figure out ways to try and circumvent the rule.  Although SEVP/ICE stated that students could transfer to a school offering in-person instruction, given that the fall semester is only a few weeks away this was an unfeasible option for the majority of students.  Many were left wondering whether they would have to leave the U.S., otherwise face the possibility of deportation.

For further details of this rule please refer to our previous article:


Two days after the rule was announced, Harvard and MIT filed a Federal Lawsuit alleging that the new rule was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Today, it was expected that the two schools would go head to head with the government before District Judge Allison D. Burroughs.  However, in a surprise move the government backed down and the parties reached an agreement.

This means that schools/Universities will be allowed to continue to offer online instruction and students can continue to take all of their classes online.  Students across the U.S. are no doubt breathing a huge sigh of relief.

For further details regarding the above, please contact our Senior Immigration Attorney, Chris Prescott at