International students in the US will not be permitted to remain in the country if their universities have moved classes fully online in the fall semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said the students could face deportation if they do not comply with the rules.
The rule applies to those students who are pursuing academic and vocational courses and hold F-1 and M-1 visas.
It is not clear how many international students will be affected. The largest number of international students hail from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada, according to an AFP report.
If the students wish to stay back in the US, they will need to switch to a different course with in-person tuition.
Most colleges and universities in the US have not announced their mode of instruction for the fall semester yet.
Harvard University will allow about 40 percent of its undergraduates to its campus near Boston, most of them freshmen. All undergrad classes in the fall will be delivered remotely, according a report in The Washington Post.
Princeton University will allow half of its undergraduate students into the campus in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Georgetown University will invite freshmen to its District of Columbia campus, the US daily reported.
ICE said the State Department "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."
(Writing by Mily Chakrabarty; Editing by Seban Scaria)
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