The new visa rules requiring foreign students in the US with an F-1 visa to take at least one course in-person or face deportation prospects are likely to “create uncertainty and difficulties” for some students, the Indian Embassy said here. “These new modifications at a time when many of the US universities and colleges are yet to announce their plans for the new academic year are likely to cause uncertainties and difficulties for some Indian students wishing to pursue their studies in the US,” said a spokesperson of the Indian Embassy.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla expressed India ‘s concerns on the issue to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale at the India-US Foreign Office Consultations held on 7 July. In January of this year, there were 1,94,556 Indian students enrolled in various US academic institutions, according to a recent study from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Of those 1,26,132 were men, and 68,405 were women.
The new regulations, declared by the SEVP on July 6, include temporary exemptions on F-1 and M-1 visas for non-immigrant students taking online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020 academic year’s fall semester. “While these modifications do provide some flexibility for US universities and colleges to adopt a hybrid model — that is a mixture of online and in person classes — they also restrict international students on F-1 and M-1 visas from taking courses entirely online,” the spokesperson said.