U.S. Embassy Doha Press Release – New Student Visa Guidance

Student visas are an important priority for U.S. Embassy Doha, and we are proud of the success Qatari students have had at U.S. academic institutions.  We appreciate the patience of students and their families during this extraordinary time. 

Guidance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement indicates that students enrolled under a fully online program at an academic institution should depart the United States.   

We are pleased to announce, however, that many international students who had planned to study this fall in the United States may still have the opportunity to do so.  The Department of Homeland Security has announced its plan for temporary modifications to F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant visa requirements for the fall 2020 semester to allow those students taking in-person classes or pursuing a “hybrid model”—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes — to qualify for nonimmigrant student status.  These students would be allowed to stay in the United States while completing their studies.   

This temporary accommodation provides greater flexibility for nonimmigrant students to continue their education in the United States, while also allowing for proper social distancing on open and operating campuses across America.  

Students should contact their Designated School Official (DSO) at their academic institution to understand the rules for their program.  Your DSO can tell you whether you should apply for a student (F-1) visa at this time.  

 International students will also still have to obtain the appropriate visa and may still be subject to other visa processing or travel restrictions due to COVID-19.   

Please contact our Consular Section at ConsularDoha@state.gov with questions regarding your specific situation.  Our staff stands ready to assist. 

For new students wishing to apply to U.S. universities for the upcoming academic year, please also feel free to reach out to our Educational Advising Team at doha@educationusa.org with any questions you may have. 

As the guidance unfolds, Embassy staff will continue to coordinate with the Ministry of Higher Education to address students’ questions and concerns. 

Please check our website qa.usembassy.gov regularly for updates. 

For the full press releases from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, please consult :  https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-modifies-temporary-exemptions-nonimmigrant-students-taking-online-courses-during and https://www.state.gov/international-students-are-welcome-in-the-u-s/.