July 8, 2020
Dear Boston University Community,
As I am sure you know, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued new guidance on the F-1 student visa provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The effect of the new guidance is to drastically limit the options for international students to study in the United States, particularly if they are unable to be physically present for on-campus instruction. This is a misguided regulation that flies in the face of all that Boston University and other institutions are doing to give our international students the flexibility they need to make progress in their studies.
International students will shortly be receiving a communication from University Provost Jean Morrison and Vice President for Global Programs Willis Wang with details about our best understanding of how the new guidance will affect them. The good news is that our Learn from Anywhere (LfA) hybrid teaching modality will justify continuing status. Students who cannot travel to the United States—because of the exigencies of the COVID virus or other international phenomena—will be able to engage in Learn from Anywhere remotely, but will likely not be able to maintain their F-1 visa status.
Please know that we are speaking out forcefully about this new guidance in public forums, with our legislative delegation, and in concert with other educational institutions and organizations. Our international students are a vital part of our educational community at Boston University, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure they can continue their studies.
Please stay safe and well.
Robert A. Brown