ICE issues ‘new international student’ guidance

On July 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued new guidance specific to new international students. We recognize these shifting polices continue to cause unnecessary anxiety, fear and frustration for our international student community. However, this directive should not have a significant impact on our Syracuse University students.

Specifically, the guidance advises that new international students will be prohibited from traveling to the United States if their academic studies are entirely online. Currently, 99 percent of our undergraduate students are enrolled in a combination of in-person or hybrid classes, in addition to some online coursework, this semester. Our academic advisors will work with our students to ensure that any new international undergraduates will have sufficient face-to-face coursework to meet the ICE requirement. International students currently in the United States may, consistent with prior guidance, study in the U.S. regardless of the modality of their coursework.

We will also work to ensure that all new international graduate students have access to in-person courses. New graduate students will review their planned coursework with their advisor or the director of graduate studies to ensure their classes will meet the requirement.

This guidance did offer one assurance: Should Syracuse University transition from residential, in-person/hybrid learning to online learning after the semester has already begun due to the pandemic, international students will not be penalized, nor will they have to leave the country.

There are numerous resources available to our international students. We encourage students who believe they may be impacted by this guidance to contact the Center for International Services at or 315.443.2457.


John Liu
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost

Amanda Nicholson
Interim Deputy Senior Vice President, Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience

Peter Vanable
Dean, Graduate School

ICE Rescinds Directive Affecting International Students

On July 14, we received notice that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its July 6 directive that international students who planned to enroll only in online classes would not be permitted to remain in the United States. The decision to rescind this directive means that, for the fall semester, there are no restrictions on the number of online-only courses that can be taken by international students currently in the United States and no special requirement that these international students enroll in one or more in-person classes at Syracuse University. We expect guidance for international students currently abroad in the coming days.

This decision is critical for our students, many of whom have been impacted by travel restrictions, economic hardship and the fear of being forced to leave the United States.

We applaud this decision and regret that the guidance issued last week caused unnecessary stress and anxiety for our international students. We are hopeful that the powerful voice of higher education—which benefits greatly from the talents, hard work and creativity of international students—will continue to be heard in decision making.

Syracuse University will continue to advocate for current and newly enrolling international students. Since the initial announcement, the University has taken steps to express our deep dismay and opposition to ICE’s July 6 guidance, including joining an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT, and our support of a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General seeking to block the implementation of ICE’s proposed policy.

We encourage our international students to contact the Center for International Services at or 315.443.2457 to access resources and services and to receive additional support.


John Liu
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost

Amanda Nicholson
Interim Deputy Senior Vice President, Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience


I am an incoming international student. Is it possible all of my classes may be online?

A number of required first-year architecture classes will be offered in-person, satisfying the new regulation that incoming international students cannot live in the U.S. while taking all classes online. 

Can international students take all courses online while living in their home country?

Yes, students can adjust their schedule to include all online classes. Returning students have access to adjusting their schedules between August 3-14.

Can international students take all classes online while living in Syracuse?

Yes. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its July 6 directive, and international students currently in the U.S. can take all online classes.

What happens if I planned to attend a class in-person but that class is now fully online?

You may remain enrolled in any online classes.

How will I know if my hybrid classes are online or in-person?

Review your schedule in MySlice. Classes that have been changed to online, will now have “Online SYNC” listed as the classroom.

Will all in-person courses still offer an online version?

Yes, faculty teaching in-person classes will be able to accommodate students who cannot attend in person because you are sick, need to quarantine, or for any other reason.

The new rules published by ICE state that students can take the “minimum number of online courses required to make normal progress toward their degree.” Required architecture courses can be online, but can non-architecture electives be online?

This directive has been rescinded. You may take any or all of your classes online.

Am I required to come back in the fall because Syracuse University is adopting a hybrid model?

No, you can enroll in a fully online semester and stay in your home country.

If I do not return, will my I-20 be terminated? How will my F-1 status be affected if that happens? How do I apply for a new I-20 and visa?

Yes, if you do not return to the U.S. this fall, your SEVIS record will be terminated. The University will reissue your I-20 for the semester you plan to return to Syracuse. You need to contact the University’s Center for International Services for dates and directions on applying for a new I-20/visa.

If I get a flight to Syracuse after the start of the semester, can I start online and then return to campus?

You should plan to start your semester in-person on August 24. If you cannot return to campus by this date, you can continue your classes remotely for the remainder of the semester.