University’s Statement Regarding International Students Restrictions from ICE

July 8, 2020

To Our International Students:

The University of Rochester is actively engaged in efforts through our government and association representatives to reverse new guidance announced on July 6 by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—the agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with oversight of the F-1 student visa program—which requires international students to take in-person classes to keep their visa status.

The guidance is brief and addresses the ability of international students to remain in the United States to continue their program of study, depending on the nature of the program and delivery of instructions. Based on our initial review, the guidance seems to suggest that hybrid courses and online courses with a physical presence are permissible. The International Services Office (ISO) will issue a detailed summary of the guidance and will hold a town hall later this week to provide further information. We know that this is an anxiety-ridden time, and we are doing all within our capacity and power to engage on this issue in ways that best support you and your progress as Rochester students.

We are also joining with other U.S. higher education institutions to strongly and urgently advocate that ICE rescind this guidance and provide temporary flexibility to permit international students to participate in the range of in-person, online, and hybrid instruction that all universities and colleges are implementing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We know that this latest announcement from ICE has caused a great deal of concern and anxiety for our international students, and that you have many questions. Please know that we’re here to support you. ISO is analyzing and summarizing the immediate impact of the new guidance to our students and will share updates on its website. If you ​still have questions, please contact Ravi Shankar, Assistant Vice Provost & Director of the International Services Office, at

Yours sincerely,
Jane Gatewood, PhD
Vice Provost for Global Engagement

Ravi Shankar
Assistant Vice Provost for International Services

See full University Statement here