Foreign students in the US on student visas will have to leave the country if their schools move to hold online classes this fall amid the coronavirus, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Monday.  

In a press release, ICE said nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the US.

The State Department will not "issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter" the US, said the agency.

"Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.

“If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings," it added.

More than one million international students are attending colleges in the US, and the decision could affect thousands of them.