International students in the United States must leave the country or risk deportation if their schools switch to online classes, according to a CNN report.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced this advisory on Monday.
These include international students pursuing degrees or training programs in universities, as well as non-academic or vocational courses.
Most of the universities in the country are deciding to switch to online classes while COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
Harvard University will deliver classes online in the next semester, including students living on campus.
Meanwhile, the ICE exempts certain visas, allowing them to remain in the US.
The Office reiterated it will not issue visas to students enrolling programs that are fully online for the fall semester.
ICE recommended affected students to take other alternatives, such as transferring to schools with in-person instruction.
The advisory does not include schools using hybrid models, such as a mix of online and in-person classes.
However, Brad Farnsworth, vice president of the American Council on Education, said this move will create more confusion and more uncertainty.
He said the government should have just encouraged how educational institutions will adjust in the pandemic.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, expressed her concern how the students will go back home when there are travel restrictions across the globe.