Chinese Int’l Students Frustrated by US Visa Delays

Chinese students won’t be able to travel to their study destination because visa processing is being deferred.

In response to this, a petition called “Chinese F1 Student Visa Crises for 2021-2022 School Year” has been published by  Association of International Educators (NAFSA) Interest Group to promote Chinese students’ case.

According to the petition, the US F1 visa services in China have been closed for more than 13 months, Erudera.com reports.

Vice-chair at NAFSA in China, Andrew Hang Chen said that US embassies in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenyang are not offering F1 visa appointments.

“From February of 2020, Chinese student visa processing has been closed for 13 months. Sometimes there are appointments available, but the pattern is that the appointments are always canceled,” vice-chair Chen said.

On the other hand, the US embassy website in China announced that the typical visa services would be back soon.

“US consulates in China are unable to resume immigrant and non-immigrant US visa services at the moment. We will resume visa services as soon as possible but are unable we cannot set a date,” the statement reads.

Sarah Spreitzer, Director of government relations at the American Council on Education, expressed her concern about international students’ attendance.

“We have asked the US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to look into taking action, including waiving interview requirements for new F1 visa applicants if consulates are unable to reopen in time and prioritizing the processing of student visa applications,” Spreitzer added.

Official data assembled by Open Doors reveal that 372,532 Chinese students in the US during 2019 – 2020 contributing approximately $15.9 billion to the US.

Chen said that if delays continue, Chinese students will change their studies destination to countries like Canada and the UK. According to Chen, students and their families may not support remote studying while it doesn’t comply with the money students pay for the on-campus experience.

“I think the solution has to be between the State Department of the US and their counterparts in China. From my observation, both countries encourage student mobility. It’s only the practical issue of getting the visa officers back to their positions,” Chen said.

The petition is demanding those in the international education sector to contact policymakers and organizations in the US and China.

Under the Trump administration, US-China relations got worse since the US accused China of espionage after several Chinese nationals were held for alleged J1 visa fraud.

In September 2020, the Trump administration declined the US visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students. Meanwhile, in December of the same year, other US visa sanctions were imposed on the Chinese Communist Party members.

Last November, F1 Chinese international student visas allowance had a decrease of 99 percent, with only 808 visas granted to Chinese students from April to September 2020.

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