NAICU Washington Update

Administration Announces Efforts to Bring Back International Students

April 30, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Student Exchange Visitor Program has extended its distance learning guidance to allow certain students to reenter the U.S. and continue their studies.  Students allowed to reenter under this guidance are those who are F-1 and M-1 student visa holders actively enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities as of March 9, 2020, and took courses online while outside the country. 

In addition, new international students will also be allowed to enter the U.S. as long as their program of study has some component of in-person learning instruction, meaning hybrid or fully in-person. The guidance will remain in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Also, the State Department will issue additional guidance for students from countries currently under travel restrictions and banned from entry into the U.S.  Those students will be allowed to enter under a National Interest Exemption starting August 1, 2021.  Both of these issues were included in community comments NAICU joined early this year asking for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to help bring international students back to U.S. colleges and universities.  

While this is good news, the pandemic is continuing to be the largest roadblock for international students wanting to study in the U.S.  With varying travel restrictions country to country, and very few U.S. consulates open and processing visas, it will likely be a longer time frame for the majority of international students to be able to return to the U.S. 

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