The pandemic meant huge adjustments for us all. Students wanting to
live their dream of studying abroad found this time very challenging and many had to adapt or
change their plans to fit with Covid regulations and travel restrictions. To help these
students, the United States allowed some flexibility to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program
Earlier this year, in May, it was announced that the flexibilities had ended. However, students already enrolled could continue to study under those conditions until the end of the school year.
As we get ready to start the new academic year, let’s look at what is changing and how this impacts present and future Zoni students.
What is the SEVP?
As many of you are already aware, the Student and Exchange Visitor
Program (SEVP) is a program administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It
decides which schools may issue the I-20 forms needed to get an F or M visa. The main goal of
the SEVP is to ensure that foreign students and exchange visitors maintain their legal
immigration status while studying in the United States.
What were the flexibilities?
During Covid-19, the DHS allowed for a number of flexibilities to the
SEVP rules and requirements. This meant students who met the then-SEVP guidance could start or
continue their courses online during this time. International students could:
What is changing?
Earlier this year, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency was declared
over. At the same time, DHS announced the end of the special flexibilities granted to
international students. For the 2023-24 academic year, international students holding an F
non-immigrant status, and all schools accepting students with this visa type, must comply with
the rules in place before the pandemic.
This means F-1 students studying language courses may not study online to meet their fulltime enrollment requirement.
This also means that schools are not allowed to issue an initial I-20 to a foreign student planning to enroll in a program of study that contains online components in above the set limits.
How this impacts Zoni students
The end of COVID-19 flexibilities means that all students studying on
an F-1 visa with an online or virtual component must get ready to return to campus! New students
will also be required to attend (almost) all classes in person to attain and keep their F-1
Your Zoni representative will let you know the schedule details for your in-person lessons and if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact your campus manager or your academic advisor at the campus in which you are enrolled. They will be happy to help.
The benefits of in-person lessons
Although adjusting back to 100% in-person lessons may take a little
getting used to for some of you, there are so many benefits to studying in a class.
Zoni Live for Virtual Study Abroad
There are so many reasons to get excited about in-person classes, but
what about if you cannot attend classes in the United States? Zoni Live - our online virtual
school - will continue to offer classes at many different levels to students living outside the
U.S. (who therefore do not need a student visa). If your dream is to study English abroad and
you want to get a head start before you make the journey, Zoni Live classes are the perfect
preparation! Contact Zoni for more information about our virtual class options and how to
The flexibilities to the SEVP were very welcome and necessary during the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 is behind us, we are excited to take the final steps in returning to normal life. All Zoni teachers, staff and current in-person students are thrilled to welcome virtual students back into our campuses! We look forward to seeing you in person very soon!
If you would like to know more about Zoni’s in-person language courses, you can visit our website, www.zoni.edu. For information about our virtual classes (for students who will study outside the United States), please zonilive.com. You can also call us at +1 (212) 736-9000 with any questions or to talk about how we can help you reach your English language learning dreams!
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