Distance learning
Photo for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News

Washington DC: The international students pursuing courses in the United States must leave the country if their institutes have switched to complete the online course due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

"The US 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 US 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," read the order.

The new order has created uncertainty among the international students, Brad Farnsworth, vice president of the American Council on Education, was quoted as saying by CNN. "We think this is going to create more confusion and more uncertainty."

"This is going to create I think more anxiety on the part of international students and for those who are still thinking about where they are going to go in the fall. I think this may push them in the direction of attending a university in another country," he said.

Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in this situation, the bigger issue is "some of these countries have travel restrictions on and they cannot go home, so what do they do then? It is a conundrum for a lot of students."