The determination of the U.S. Department of Immigration issued this Monday (6/7), states that foreign students enrolled in 100% online courses must leave the country unless they transfer to 100% presential or hybrid courses at schools or universities. The situation is even more difficult for those whose visa is linked to the English Language Course, which cannot be part of a hybrid course. Likewise, students who are scheduled to enter the United States to study in the next semester, if classes are online, may be prevented from entering the country. The measure affects students with visas of the type F-1 and M-1, as well as their dependents. An additional problem for students is that with the advancement coronavirus contamination, more and more schools are adopting 100% virtual classes, thus reducing their options.
The United States beat its record for international students at the university level in 2019, with 1,095,299 foreigners attending educational institutions. Brazil is the 9th leading country in the world to send students to the United States in this category, generating an approximate revenue of $ 558 million dollars to the United States in 2018. In addition to this population, the United States still has a much larger number of students, and their dependents, on English language courses, known as ESL - English as Second Language.
The measures adopted by the American Government affect thousands of foreign students and dependents, who are in the country, including Brazilians. The measure also affected those who intend to study in the United States, as of the second semester of this year. Students affected by the new measure, those who were allowed entry into the United States through study visas F or M, have as a requirement for their permanence in the country, regular physical presence in the classroom. This basic requirement was greatly affected during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially to prevent the spread of contamination, as schools had to adapt to virtual teaching and suspend the physical presence of students in classrooms.
Students who are enrolled in courses that will now be taught virtually (online) and are not included in the exceptions provided for by the restrictive determination, must leave the country or take measures to adapt, such as changing the course or educational institution, in order to fit the requirements or even file to change their condition to continue in the United States (status) to another category of temporary stay or even, in applicable cases, to immigration categories such as family members or professionals.
The consequences for noncompliance with the new measures can be serious for those who do not adapt, since the American Government may issue orders to leave the country, as well as initiate deportation procedures. People who break the immigration law have severe future consequences in their relationship with the United States, ranging from the involuntary withdrawal from the country to the barred entry for up to 10 years or even a permanent ban.