Trump administration has announced new guidelines that will block any new student planning to enrol in the online-only study from entering the United States.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in the statement, said that “nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the US to enroll in a US school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 per cent online.”

The order comes in a week after the ICE had revoked the older restrictions on foreign students amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Additionally, designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status who is outside of the US and plans to take classes at a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)-certified educational institution fully online.”

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International students who are already in the US or are returning from abroad and already have visas will still be allowed to take classes entirely online, according to the update, even if they commence with in-person instruction but their classes begin to move online as the pandemic worsens the situation. 

The new guidelines come after the ICE rescinded previous guidelines that could send thousands of students largely enrolled in universities but also some in grade schools – home.

The rule was criticized by states and educational institutions as a way to pressure colleges and universities to reopen their campuses with in-person classes during the pandemic. It comes as coronavirus cases are spiking in states across the country.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s international student ban.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, challenges the order and calls it “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action to expel international students amidst the pandemic that has wrought death and disruption across the United States.”

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