DHS Policy Regarding International Students and Online Education

July 7, 2020

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that international students who are taking only online courses will not be granted visas to enter or be permitted to remain in the United States in the coming fall semester. Under the policy, international students may obtain visas for hybrid programs that combine in-person and online instruction. As Provost Scott Strobel and I announced last week, Yale is offering hybrid programs in fall 2020. Although it is not yet clear how this policy will apply to every program or individual students, we will do all we can to ensure our international students can continue their education at Yale uninterrupted.

I am working with Yale experts and colleagues at peer institutions to understand the full implications of DHS’s guidance. In the meantime, Yale is committed to supporting students affected by this policy. The Office of International Students and Scholars will help address students’ questions and concerns. Yale also will provide information to the affected students as we learn more.

I am deeply disappointed and troubled that DHS has declined to extend to the coming fall semester the exceptions it provided for this spring and summer, especially when we are in the middle of a public health crisis. The potential disruption in the education of our international students will undercut the strength of American higher education, which draws brilliant individuals from around the world to our country. Our nation’s history of openness has long been essential to U.S. leadership and a thriving economy.

In responding to the current pandemic, American colleges and universities have adapted their programs in accordance with public health guidance and the evolving understanding of the virus. In company with the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and other groups, Yale strongly urges DHS to continue the more flexible approach to visas for international students for the fall 2020 semester.


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology