On May 29, the US President issued a proclamation titled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China that limits the entry of some Chinese graduate students and visiting scholars starting June 1, 2020. The impact for the University of Tennessee at this time is limited. We will continue to process immigration documents as normal for all students and visiting scholars from China.
Who is NOT impacted?
- Undergraduate students
- Individuals in a field of study that does not contribute to China’s “military-civil fusion strategy”
Who is impacted?
New graduate students on study visas and visiting scholars who:
- Receive funding from, are employed by, study at or conduct research for organizations supporting the military-civil fusion strategy.
- Have been previously employed at, studied at, or conducted research for organizations supporting the military-civil fusion strategy.
Does this mean that our Chinese graduate students will need to return home?
- No. International student visas are travel/entry documents. Once a student is inside the US, their immigration status no longer depends on the visa. The visa may expire and, as long as the student is maintaining their status, they may remain in the US indefinitely.
- Although the Executive Order mentions the future potential of revoking visas of those already in the US, students currently inside the US would still be able to remain here legally if they continue to maintain their immigration status.
What happens if a current student or visiting scholar travels outside the US?
- Students who are outside the US require a valid unexpired visa to return to the US. If their visa is no longer valid or has expired, they will need to apply for a new visa at a US consulate abroad. Students and scholars subject to the new Executive Order will not be able to receive visas to travel to the US.
- At this time, we recommend that Chinese graduate students and scholars carefully assess the need to travel outside the US. If they find that they may need to travel, they should contact the International Student and Scholars Office as soon as possible to speak to an advisor.
Which organizations are involved in the “military-civil fusion strategy?
- The Executive Order only describes these organizations in vague terms. It is unclear at this point if a particular organization would qualify. In unrelated government documents, concerns have been expressed about technology related to artificial intelligence, power systems, power storage devices, nuclear energy, aerospace technology, and new and advanced materials with both civil and military applications.
- It is likely that universities and institutions controlled directly by the Chinese military are subject to the ban. It is unclear to what extent civilian universities with strong ties to the Military are likely to be included.
If I have questions related to international students, who do I talk to?
- Students can speak with an International Student Advisor Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm. Students can speak to an advisor either by skype or by telephone. Students can add themselves to the virtual waiting room at Front Desk Check-In form, enter their student ID number, and contact preference. Once their turn arrives, an advisor will contact them by Skype or by telephone. More information is available here: https://international.utk.edu/
- Scholars should contact the International Student and Scholars team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faculty and Staff should contact the International Students and Scholars team by email the appropriate email below. Please note that this email inbox is being monitored daily and a team member will respond to your question.