Skip to main content

Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Update for International Students on U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Directive

Dear International Students,

I am writing to share some wonderful news. The U.S. government is withdrawing the directive that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on July 6, which would have prohibited international students in the U.S. from taking a fully online/remote course load during the Fall 2020 term while remaining in F-1 status. Following legal challenges from Northwestern University and from higher education institutions and states nationwide, a federal judge announced today that ICE will rescind the directive. This means international students currently in F-1 status will be able to keep this status for the Fall 2020 term, provided they register for a full course load, regardless of whether these courses are in person or online/remote, and regardless of whether they are in the United States or outside the United States.


This is a victory not only for international students at Northwestern University, but for the higher education community as a whole. Our strength as a world-class university—the global conversations happening across our campus every day, the creative work in the arts and the groundbreaking research in our laboratories to address the world’s greatest challenges—depends on you, the world’s best and brightest. Your presence and your diverse perspectives are a part of what makes Northwestern a great global university. Please know that all of us—your student colleagues, your teachers and University leaders care deeply about you and are grateful you are a part of our community.


While we hope you are as relieved as we are to hear this news, we know this has been a very difficult week and a difficult year. We remain committed to supporting you in every way possible as you make plans for the Fall term and beyond. I encourage you to reach out to your Office of International Student and Scholar Services advisor with any specific questions or concerns pertaining to your status or plans.


We will continue to keep you apprised of new developments as we plan for the Winter and Spring terms. Again, we greatly value you being a part of our community, and we are fully committed to supporting you all in every way possible as we prepare to resume our research, teaching and learning activities as safely as possible this fall.

   我们将会及时向大家通报有关冬季学期及春季学期的安排计划。在此我们再次强调,你们每一位国际学生都是西北大学大家庭的重要一员。 我们会为你们秋季即将重启的科研、教学及学业保驾护航。


Annelise Riles

Associate Provost for Global Affairs, Northwestern University