The current public health crisis has limited travel and closed college campuses. And across America, foreign national students are adjusting to these new restrictions. With so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep track of each change. But understanding the circumstances can help students make sense of their options.
Understanding the restrictions
New travel restrictions present challenges for foreign national students who returned home, or plan to soon. Currently, the United States has suspended all nonessential travel until conditions allow for it to resume. Flying home may count as essential travel for these students. But if plan on returning to the United States for school, their journey may qualify as nonessential.
Many students have opted to stay on campus, which comes with its own challenges. Some campuses have allowed foreign national students to remain in housing. Yet, others have implemented restrictions or have shut it down altogether. Many foreign national students rely on campus housing, and now find themselves scrambling for a place to live. Furthermore, student visa restrictions prevent foreign nationals from holding off-campus jobs unrelated to their studies. And first-year students cannot have an off-campus job at all. For those remaining on campus, these limitations can create barriers to survival and basic needs.
Finding a path forward
Despite these complexities, current restrictions have not led to the revocation of student visas. And for now, the United States has relaxed requirements that prohibit full course loads of online learning. Yet, the current crisis will cause foreign national students to face further travel and housing challenges. As they fight to continue their education, an immigration lawyer can help them navigate the process.