We’re pleased to report that on July 14th, facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration rescinded the July 6 rule that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the U.S.

Earlier, on July 6, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security released temporary procedural adaptation guidance for schools regarding F-1 international student enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester.

These new requirements created tremendous anxiety and stress for our international students. Our efforts to respond to concerns and accommodate students’ needs included engaging in advocacy against the new rule and exploring legal measures. These included:

  1. Association Sign-on Letter: A group of higher education associations signed an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security urging the department to withdraw this guidance and instead extend flexibility provided in April 2020 to international students who have a valid F-1 or M-1 visa, or are awaiting visa processing, and are enrolled in a full-time course load for the 2020-21 academic year.
  2. Institutional Sign-on Letter: A sign-on letter for colleges and universities (institution name only, not the president or chancellor) further amplified the urgency for flexibility provided in April 2020 to be extended for the 20-21 academic year.
  3. House Dear Colleague Letter: Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) have delivered a letter, signed by over 100 of their colleagues, urging the administration to rescind these changes.
  4. Lawsuit: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit to stop implementation of the new guidance. UC announced it would also file a lawsuit.

On July 13th, the Berkeley International Office sent an email memo with detailed guidance to all international students. While this most recent memo is no longer current, there will likely be future changes to policies. Please know that UC Berkeley has your best interest in mind and we will strive to support you in whatever way we can.

For the most current information, please refer to the Berkeley International Office COVID-19 Updates & FAQ. The Graduate Division COVID-19 page will also be updated as we learn more.


Categories: Campus Announcements, GradNews, July 2020, Student Life