On July 6, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement or ICE announced modifications to temporary exemptions for international students on F1 and M1 USA Student Visas attending or intending to attend colleges that are solely offering online courses in the fall semester of 2020. The exemptions were announced in March allowing international students on F1 and M1 visas to attend schools offering entirely online courses because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The modifications announced on July 6 would have led to removal proceedings against international students in the U.S. on F1 and M1 visa. Additionally, no new visas would be issued to international students that intended to join schools offering entirely online courses. Many international students were caught in a conundrum after receiving their student visas whether to travel to the United States or not.

The July 6, 2020 declaration was challenged by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the federal courts. On July 14, 2020, pursuant to an agreement between ICE and the litigants, the July 6, 2020, declaration was removed. As things stand now, international students that have enrolled in U.S. colleges offering entirely online courses, can reside in the U.S. while attending online classes for their respective universities

This is good news not only for international students but also for universities and the U.S. economy. According to data computed by National Association for Foreign Student Advisers or NAFSA, in 2018-19, there were 1 million international students in the U.S. This resulted in $41 billion in revenue. NAFSA also estimated that 1 student supports three American jobs. Recently, there has been a rapid decline in the number of students moving to the U.S. to attend colleges, however, Australia and Canada have seen a 16% rise in international student enrollment.

It is recommended that International Students should remain in constant touch with international student office or ISO of their respective Universities and also reach out to their local consulates prior to scheduling their trip to the United States.

Here are addresses and contact details of some of the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Asia:


United States Embassy
Panchsheel Marg, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi, Delhi 110021, India

United States Consulate
C49, G Block Rd, G Block BKC,
Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East,
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051, India

United States Consulate
Gemini Flyover, Teynampet,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600006, India


United States Embassy
27 Napier Rd,
Singapore 258508

United Arab Emirates

United States Embassy
Plot 38, Rabdan Street, Airport Road Embassies District,
Sector W59-02
Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates