Just days after its announcement, a federal rule denying international student visas for online coursework has been reversed.

After months of state lockdowns due to COVID-19, schools and universities all over the country have been grappling with plans to reopen. News outlets are reporting that a recent decision regarding international student visas has been rescinded.

The rule would have facilitated the removal of any foreign students studying in the U.S. if their fall semester coursework was to be completed online. This would have affected all international students here on F-1 and M-1 visas for the upcoming academic year. Under its guidelines, to stay in the country, students would have had to find a new in-person school or a hybrid educational program with a combination of online and in-person classes.


The public outcry from schools and student groups was swift. Many universities took to social media to support their international students and created hybrid online courses to bypass the rule. Two universities, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, filed a federal lawsuit in response. It was at the hearing for that lawsuit that the news emerged that the ruling had been reversed.

On the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, the original July 6 rule is still posted, but the FAQ section has been updated to show it is not currently in effect.

Many universities are tweeting out their support of this reversal.

What do you think about this federal rule being overturned? Sound off in the comments!