UMD: A Globally Connected University

Guidance on U.S. ICE SEVP for Fall 2020

Guidance on U.S. ICE SEVP for Fall 2020

UPDATE: July 14, 2020

We are pleased to report that the U.S. government has agreed to rescind the policy directive and FAQs released July 6-7, 2020, regarding Fall 2020 international enrollment in U.S. institutions of higher education. The government also has agreed to rescind any implementation of the directive. 

Government guidance will return to the previous status quo established by the policy directive and addendum issued on March 9 and 13, respectively. ISSS has updated its FAQs accordingly, and advisors are available to support UMD’s international community with any remaining questions. 

The University of Maryland stands with international students and scholars, and we are thrilled to see the needs of this vital community prevail over this policy.

The following email was sent to the University of Maryland community on July 8, 2020.

Dear University Community,

On Monday, July 6, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued new guidance ( that restricts online course enrollment for international students on F-1 visas during the Fall 2020 semester. We are acutely aware that this surprise announcement is creating inordinate stress and frustration among members of our community. The University is committed to advocating against the new guidance. The Office of International Affairs’ International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is providing updates and answering any questions from faculty, staff and students.

The Office of International Affairs and other relevant units at the University are reviewing the new guidance to better understand its ramifications for the upcoming fall semester. At this point, we can provide you with the following information:

  1. The University of Maryland has decided to offer a hybrid model of instruction for Fall 2020 to maintain the health and safety of our community.
  2. Because the University of Maryland will offer hybrid instruction, continuing international students (F-1) in the United States can take more than one three-credit course online, but must take at least one hybrid course or one in-person course to maintain their immigration status.
  3. The University is committed to ensuring international students have in-person instructional opportunities in order to stay in the United States, and is currently exploring various options.
  4. Continuing F-1 visa students who will be outside the U.S. for Fall 2020 can also take online courses and retain their F-1 status as long as they are enrolled full time.
  5. ISSS will update all I-20 documents to make sure students are in compliance with the new regulations.

ISSS will send out an email to academic units, as well as all international students and scholars to clarify some of the details associated with this new guidance. You may find these details and ongoing updates on its website.

Our international community is vital to the University of Maryland’s teaching and research missions. The surprise ICE SEVP guidance hinders the University’s core mission and harms our international students’ ability to achieve their academic goals. We remain committed to working toward reasonable immigration policies that welcome international students and scholars to our campus.


Ross Lewin, PhD

Associate Vice President for International Affairs