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International students from Nepal who are in the USA in F-1 visas are now facing deportation threat as a problem on top of the ongoing pandemic. With the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, international students were already feeling hardships with the job loss due to colleges being shutdown. Many international students in the united states have faced unwarranted difficulties during this time.

The international students from Nepal and other international students committees are now facing a new deportation threat from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As coronavirus daily cases spiked in the United States for five days in a row, crossing over 45,000 cases per day, most of the colleges are now shifting towards online classes or remote classes.

As the coronavirus has crippled the United States of America, colleges have been trying to adjust by shifting the classes online via Xoom and other methods. As per international students, the F-1 visa required students to be full-time enrolled in colleges and also required them to have at least 12 credits each semester. F-1 students aren’t allowed to take all of their 12 credits online even before the pandemic. Now, with the dire situation in hand, US colleges are desperately trying to stay open for fall, the move towards being completely online has put the international students, the biggest financial contributor at the risk of being deported.

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”

The U.S. Customs Border & Protection website posted the announcement today that any students enrolled full-time online during the fall semester of 2020 will lose their lawful status and must depart the country or transfer the college. U.S. Departments of the state have also insisted that they will not be issuing visas to international students who are coming this fall and will be fully enrolled online. CBP will be enforcing this rule and will not permit students to come in.

International students from Nepal who are currently residing in the states and studying has raised their concerns in different social media platform. Sujana from Dallas tweets that the American Universities are digging their own grave with the excessive funds that international student bring to American universities.

“Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.”

F-1 visa students usually do have to follow the strict rules to stay in their status in this country. F-1 students attending school are required to attend class in-person, must take all 12 credit classes, and maintain 2.0 GPA at all times, as bound by existing federal regulations. From the limited scope of the jobs within the college, capped at 20 hours to restrictions on many grants and aids that other non-international students enjoy. F-1 visas are required to pay out of state tuition fees, which is significantly higher the amount the residential students have to pay.

“Going back home to Nepal won’t be an issue but the issue. might be when we want to come back to the United States. As there are so many changes with homeland security rules, you never know what might happen to you. They might withdraw your application and deport you from the port of entry.” Ranju KC from New York shares her frustration with us. Ranju has currently finished her associate degree and wants to join the Queens College, NY this fall. She shares that she already has experienced being denied entry for no reason and having to re-do her processing to be back again.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish these exemptions to the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule. Here is the link to the complete scripts as published by ICE.gov.

“Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester include:

  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
  2. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
  3. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in-person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursuing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.”

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