Three months into the Trump administration, on April 26, 2017, the Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual was changed at 9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(3) - B-2 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Course of Study to emphasize that the effect of earning academic credit for a short course of study on eligibility for a B-2 Visitor visa "applies regardless of whether it is a U.S. or foreign educational institution that will grant academic credit for completion of the short course of study." Compare:

Language after 4/26/17:

"a. Individuals whose principal purpose of travel (see 9 FAM 402.1-3) is tourism, but who plan to engage also in a short course of study, are properly classified for B-2 visas. You must determine whether the content of the course qualifies as a short course of study. If the student will earn academic credit toward completion of an academic program engaging a short course of study while in the United States, then a B-2 is not the appropriate visa class. This guidance applies regardless of whether it is a U.S. or foreign educational institution that will grant academic credit for completion of the short course of study. You should not advise applicants to obtain an I-20, but should refuse the visa under INA section 214(b) as not approvable for the planned activities."

Language before 4/26/17:

"a. Individuals whose principal purpose of travel (see 9 FAM 402.1-3) is tourism, but who plan to engage also in a short course of study are properly classified for B-2 visas. You must determine whether the content of the course qualifies as a short course of study. If the student will earn academic credit or completion of an academic program of study in the United States, then a B-2 is not the appropriate visa class. You should not advise applicants to obtain an I-20, but should refuse the visa under INA section 214(b) as not approvable for the planned activities."

The full FAM entry now provides as follows. Note that the entry was revised on 9-14-2020 solely to change the advisory opinion routing abbreviation from CA/VO/L/A to L/CA in paragraph (e). No substantive changes were made at that time.

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(3) - B-2 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Course of Study

(CT:VISA-1151; 09-14-2020)

a. (U) Individuals whose principal purpose of travel (see 9 FAM 402.1-3) is tourism, but who also engage in a "short course of study" while in the United States, are properly classified for B-2 visas. If the student will earn academic credit toward completion of an academic program by engaging in the course of study, then it is not a "short course of study" for the purposes of this paragraph, and B-2 is not the appropriate visa class. This guidance applies regardless of whether it is a U.S. or foreign educational institution that will grant academic credit for completion of the short course of study. You should not advise applicants to obtain an I-20, but should refuse the visa under INA section 214(b) as not approvable for the planned activities.

b. (U) An individual enrolling in such a program may be classified B-2 if the purpose of attendance is recreational or avocational.

c. (U) Individuals traveling to the United States to attend seminars or conferences that are required to earn a degree (i.e., the applicant cannot complete the requirements for the degree unless he or she completes the proposed seminar or conference in the United States) are not eligible for B visa classification. This includes students engaged in an on-line course of study traveling to the United States for academic consultations or to take examinations. In the case of an alien traveling to the United States to attend seminars and conferences for credit toward a degree, the study is neither incidental to a tourist visit, avocational, nor recreational.

d. (U) Individuals traveling to attend professional education, seminars, or conferences that do not result in academic credit may qualify for a B-1 per 9 FAM 402.2-5(B).

e. (U) It is common for U.S. colleges, universities, and private organizations to offer summer programs tailored for high school or college-aged students. Though these programs are for academic enrichment and are marketed as "study" and the participants attend "classes" the activities do not meet the definition of "full" or "part-time" course of study and therefore do not qualify for issuance of an I-20. You may not advise applicants to obtain an I-20 for these programs. In most cases, the activity, which is more like a summer camp with an academic focus, can be undertaken in B-2 status. You should consult L/CA for an advisory opinion (AO) on the appropriate visa classification.