Category: Immigration

Options for Foreign Students to the ICE’s New Must Leave the U.S. Policy

Released on 07/06/2020

Foreign students attending U.S. colleges that will operate entirely online in the fall 2020 semester can not remain in the country to do so, according to a new policy issued today by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the “ICE”) (see the ICE’s announcement here). The Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures to implement the new ICE policy shortly.

The new policy applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant visas, which allow non-immigrant students in the United States to pursue academic and vocational coursework. According to the nonprofit Institute of International Education, more than 1 million of the United States’ higher education students come from overseas, who may be affected by this new policy.

Here is a summary of the ICE’s new policy:

  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The US Consulate will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Custom and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.


  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulation. Eligible F-1 students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.


  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model – that is, a mixture of online and in person classes – will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.


  1. Schools should update their information in the SEVIS within 10 days of the change if they begin the fall semester with in-person classes but are later required to switch to only online classes.


  1. Nonimmigrant students within the United States are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes starting the fall 2020 semester. If foreign students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the United States or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave.

Based on the new ICE policy, a foreign student may face the following consequences if he or she has not been enrolled in qualified programs in the United States:

  • If the foreign student is applying for visa at the US Consulate oversea, his or her visa application may be denied by the US Consulate due to the enrollment in unqualified program in the United States.


  • If the foreign student obtains F-1 or M-1 visa, he or she may be denied entry to the United States due to the enrollment in unqualified program in the United States.


  • If the foreign students are physically in the United States and are not enrolling in qualified program in the United States starting in fall 2020 semester, his or her SEVIS record may be terminated by the ICE and he or she may be placed in removal proceedings to be deported to his or her home country.

It is unfortunate that the ICE announced this new policy negatively affecting the foreign students in this pandemic. If you are a foreign student, you shall do the followings immediately:

  • Make sure to enroll a school offering sufficient in-person classes as detailed below:


  • Undergraduate students for academic programs must enroll in a full-time study with minimum 12 credit hours, including maximum 3 credit hours of online classes.
  • Graduate students for academic programs must enroll in a full-time study with minimum 9 credit hours, including maximum 3 credit hours of online classes.
  • SEVP’s certification approval allowing the school to adopt a hybrid models with more than one class or three credit hours online.
  • F-1 students in English Language Program or M-1 students must enroll in a full-time study with minimum 12 credit hours, without any permission in online courses for credits.


  • No matters whether you are a foreign student in the United States, a foreign student applying for visa at Consulates oversea, or a foreign students trying to get into the United States at the Port of Entry, you shall make sure that your meet the above full-time study requirements.


  • If you are not able to locate a school meeting the above requirements, please discuss with immigration attorneys to discuss your possible alternative steps to maintain your lawful status in the United States.


  • Voice to your local communities to file a lawsuit against the US government to enjoin the enforcement of this new ICE policy.

This article is for education purpose and does not constitute any attorney-client relationship with readers. Should you have any questions, please feel free to schedule a paid consultation ($100) with attorney Lucy Lu at or a free consultation with the law firm’s attorneys at You may also contact us at or 800-928-4615.

Stay Connected to Lucy Lu and Associates During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Released on 03/24/2020

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms announced last night that she signed a 14-day stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from exceptions for “essential” services and businesses, Atlanta residents are directed to stay inside their homes. As of March 24, 2020, Lucy Lu and Associates continues its operations in all its offices but encourage its employees to work remotely with the support of technologies.

In order to remain close connections with the community of Lucy Lu & Associates, we would like to guide our clients in the following ways:

  • Our Office Hours:

Our normal office hours remain 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Monday to Friday.

  • Consultations:

Despite that in-person consultation is suspended temporarily due to the coronavirus breakout, our office continues to offer paid or free consultations to our clients by phone, skype or wechat.

To schedule free or paid consultations online:

To schedule a paid consultation with attorney Lucy Lu exclusively online here:

  • Case Inquiries or Customer Services:

Call us:            Toll Free: +1.800.928.4615

Atlanta Local: +1.404.343.7166

Silicon Valley Local: +1.408.498.9028

New York Local: +1.347.535.5180

Email us:

Online Chat:   chat with our team online:

Attorney Fee Payment:

Text us: +1.404.596.8773

Legal Matter Inquiries for On-Going Cases:  All of our attorneys, law clerks and paralegals remain working remotely. Please contact your assigned case managers directly. All case managers’ contact information is listed here: You may also contact our office per the instructions above.

  • In-Person Visits in the Offices:

We temporarily closed our offices for in-person visits due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, we still have limited employees routinely in the office to maintain minimum operation. Should you have any urgent matters, please coordinate our office per the instructions above for the possible arrangement of in-person visits.

The whole team at Lucy Lu and Associates are with our community. We’ll continue to work for our clients and support the community tirelessly. We wish you and your family a healthy year. Please stay safe and we’ll see each other shortly again!




Coronavirus Work Permit for F-1 International Students in the United States

Released on 03/20/2020
Hire us now for the work permit!

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is actively monitoring the effects of the public health emergency related to the 2019 coronavirus outbreak. Due to the current state emergency situation, the USCIS also provides special support for individual who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
For those F-1 international students in the United States, the USCIS may offer you the employment authorization if there is severe hardship to you caused by this unforeseen coronavirus, which allow you work off-campus. The examples of unforeseen circumstances include, but not limited to, negative impact caused to you by coronavirus outbreak for the followings:

• Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment (through no fault of your own);
• Substantial fluctuations in currency value or exchange rate;
• Inordinate increases in tuition or living costs;
• Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support;
• Medical bills; and
• Other substantial and unexpected expenses.

If your request is approved, you may be able to work off-campus in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of your current course of study.

Our attorneys at Lucy Lu & Associates continue to work for our clients at this difficult time. The team at Lucy Lu & Associates wishes everyone stay safe.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or 800-928-4615. You may also chat with us online at during our normal work hours from 9:00 am to 9:00 PM (eastern time) from Monday to Friday.

USCIS Proposed a Pre-registration Rule for FY 2020 H-1B Cap Petitions

News: On 12/03/2018, the USCIS proposed a pre-registration rule for Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B cap and advanced degree exemption petitions effective as early as April 1, 2019 H-1B cap filing date.

On 12/03/2018, the USCIS proposed a rule that would require employer petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions subject to the regular cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with the USCIS during a designated registration period. The proposed rule would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. Here is the full text published on Federal Register. Continue reading “USCIS Proposed a Pre-registration Rule for FY 2020 H-1B Cap Petitions”

Immigration News Update

Georgia to issue Driver’s License to young immigrants who are granted Deferred Action. Federal Court issued decisions on Georgia’s Anti-Immigration Law, HB 87. The State of Arizona declines to issue temporary Driver’s License and other state benefits to young immigrants granted Deferred Action. The State of Nebraska declines to issue temporary Driver’s License and other state benefits to young immigrants granted Deferred Action. US Embassy in India released checklist to help determine whether nonimmigrant visa in-person interview can be waived. USCIS reaches 10,000 U visa approved in the fiscal year 2012.

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Filing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Published by Lucy Lu & Associates LLC, 3475 Lenox Road, Suite 730, Atlanta, GA 30326. Phone: 1.404.343.7166 or

Today, August 3, 2012, the U.S. Citizenships and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would accept filing of deferred actions for childhood arrivals starting on August 15, 2012. The USCIS finally implemented the details for deferred action after President Obama issued the executive order on June 15, 2012!

Continue reading “Filing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”