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Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from China

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Pasricha & Patel

President Trump has announced the U.S. will block certain Chinese nationals associated with entities in China that are part of China’s military-civil fusion strategy from coming to the U.S. by using
F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor visas.

This ban will begin on June 1, 2020 at 12 p.m. EST, and remain in effect until the president terminates it as his discretion.

This ban applies to students and researchers at the graduate and higher levels who are Chinese nationals planning to apply for visa or seek entry into the U.S. and who either:

  • Receive funding or who are currently employed by, study at, or conduct research at or on behalf of, or
  • Who have been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of, an entity in China that implements or supports China’s military-civil fusion strategy.

There are various exemptions to this ban though. Those who are not part of the ban include:

  • Undergraduate students;
  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
  • The spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • A foreign national who is a member of the United States Armed Forces and any foreign national who is a spouse or child of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • A foreign national whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement (such as a PRC U.N.representative or expert performing a U.N. mission) or who would otherwise be allowed entry into the United States pursuant to United States obligations under applicable international agreements;
  • A foreign national who is studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC's military-civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies;
  • A foreign national whose entry would further United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security,or their respective designees.

Also, any foreign national who willfully misrepresents a material fact, seeks to circumvent the proclamation through fraudulent means, or enters the United States illegally will be deemed a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.

This proclamation does not prevent a person from seeking asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with U.S. law.

Also, the Secretary of State will also consider whether the visas of Chinese nationals who are already in the U.S. on F or J status and to which the presidential proclamation would apply, should be revoked or not.

Furthermore, within the next 60 days of the proclamation, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security will review nonimmigrant and immigrant programs to recommend whether any other steps will be needed in order to safeguard sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property that may be acquired by China.

With the political and diplomatic tensions and uncertainties that exist between the U.S. and China simmering for quite some time, it remains uncertain what future steps, if any, the U.S. government may take against China that could impact the Chinese nationals who are either trying to gain admission and entry into the U.S., or those who are already here in the U.S. on various visa statuses.

We certainly will be monitoring the situation as the news develops, and we encourage readers to follow our site for any further updates. And should you have any questions regarding this or any immigration question, please contact our office for formal consultation.