• Thursday, June 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Indian students in US in deep crisis over coronavirus

Caroline Laber-Smith protests inside Building 10 on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology on March 12, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Students have been asked to move out of their dorms by March 17 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE Indian Embassy in the US asked the large Indian students’ community to avoid all non-essential domestic and international travel.

The US president Donald Trump on Friday (13) declared a national emergency to combat the novel coronavirus.

There are over 200,000 Indian students studying in various educational institutions and universities in the US.

More than 100 colleges and universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Harvard University, have also suspended in-person teaching and announced to shift to online classes in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 41 lives in the US.

The institutions have also asked students not to return after the spring break and to move out of their houses and first-year dorms.

This has created a major challenge for students from India as a large number of them do not have any friends and relatives in the US.

For official advisories on domestic and international travel, the students have been asked to check the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For international travel, the Indian Embassy asked students to contact their Designated School Official (DSO) for information on any possible impact in the future on their F-1 or J-1 status.

The F-1 or J-1 are two different categories of visas for international students.    These have certain restrictions on stay of an international student after their academic institute closes down or they conclude their courses.

Indian students also face the problem of visa validity in the development of universities moving to online courses.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not consider online courses as a reason for foreign students to stay in the US.

The embassy advised Indian students to read official campus advisories or contact their DSO for information on how short-term or long-term shifts to online courses will impact their F-1 or J-1 status.

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