Indian Student In US Impacted By F-1 Visa Restriction
Students holding F-1 Visas or those applying for student visa will be impacted by the recent decision of US Immigration and Custom Enforcement. On July 6, they said that foreign students need to leave US if all of their classes are moved online in upcoming season. As a result, it will impact more than an estimated 200,000 Indian student in US.
In this article, we have answered some of FAQs that will be helpful for Indian Student in US about new F-1 visa restriction. On top of this, we have suggested some of potential options you might need to follow if you are affected by this decisions.
What is F-1 Visa?
The F-1 visa allows students to stay in US as a full time student at an accredited educational institute, including college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic and language training programme.
Further, in this visa, you are only allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during regular full-time quarters or semesters.
Who will be affected by the latest visa restriction by the US government?
All Students holding F-1 visas or those who wish to apply for it to pursue higher education in the US will be the most impacted. There are two important things to note here:
- The US will not be issuing F-1 visas to students who are set to start a new semester in Fall 2020, which will be completely online.
- Those students who are already in the US and are pursuing their studies will have to leave the country if the programme is set to go completely online for the rest of the Fall semester.
Does this mean they have to suspend their course midway?
No, those who will have to leave the US can continue the course online from their home countries.
Is there no way Indian students can stay back in the US and complete their courses?
The only way F-1 visa holders can stay in the US and continue their studies is if their university starts offering hybrid method of teaching. Such as, a combination of both online and in-person classes. This means that along with online classes, there should be offline classes in a physical classroom setting.
Further, the student must get the university to certify to the ICE that the classes are indeed of a hybrid nature, and provide proof for the same. Only after the submission of necessary documents will the student be allowed to stay back and continue their studies.
My university does not offer hybrid classes but another one does. Can I transfer my course?
Yes, you have the option of transferring to another university. But for this, new university most offer a combination of on-campus and in-person classes, along with the ones online. However, this has to be done before the fall semester commences.
However, many universities have already completed the admission process for the fall semester. Further, with rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, it is unlikely that US universities would opt for in-person classes before 2021.
What happens if students fail to transfer or return to their home countries?
- In this case, students will be deported back to their home countries.
- They may also face future bans on entry into the US.
Can students who return midway apply for a fresh F-1 visa ahead of the spring semester?
What about students who are scheduled to start their courses in September 2020? Can they defer their admission to the next semester?
I have returned to India due to the pandemic. I am already enrolled in a university that offers hybrid classes. But I am not able to return due to travel ban. What should I do?
Who are the other visa holders whose entry into the US is restricted?
- L-1 visas for intracompany transfers
- H-1Bs for workers in specialty occupations as well as the H-4 visa for spouses
- H-2Bs for temporary non-agricultural workers
- J-1 visas for exchange visitors on a short-term basis like interns, trainees or those in summer work travel programmes
- L-1 visas allow the companies to transfer highly skilled workers to US for up to seven years
If I have to return to my home country and continue education online, will I get a refund on my fees?
This decision boils down to the university itself, if they are private and autonomous. You should get in touch with your respective university for details on this.