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On March 23, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published answers to frequently asked questions by Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) stakeholders about the impact of COVID-19 on SEVP-certified schools and students on F and M visas. Among the issues addressed by ICE were the following:

  • Enrolled F students who have chosen to return to their home countries to complete the spring term remotely will maintain an “Active” record status within the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • SEVP will temporarily allow F and M students to count online classes toward a full course of study in excess of normal regulatory limits.
  • Students who are required to leave on-campus housing may continue to study online either inside or outside the United States.
  • Students may participate in curricular practical training (CPT) while outside the United States in limited circumstances.
  • Schools must “notify SEVP [of] any procedural adaptation[s] due to COVID-19 within 10 business days of the change.”

ICE will continue to publish its latest guidance for SEVP stakeholders on the agency’s website. Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on our Immigration blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Critical information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.

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