The cancellation of in-person classes during the pandemic has affected international students. Regular classes turned into online classes to avoid COVID transmissions. However, it was announced Monday that Chinese students can enter the US soon. Observers see this as progress in the academic exchange programs.This also gives hope that the US will soon relax travel bans.
US Welcomes Students from China, Brazil, and Iran
Chinese students aren’t the only ones that can enter the US 30 days before their academic program starts. The US Department of State also announced that students from Iran and Brazil can also qualify for the US’ National Interest Exception (NIE) if their program starts on August 1, 2021, or later.
Students holding valid F-1 and M-1 visas don’t need to contact the US embassy anymore to get their individual NIE. Liu Shuangtao, the CEO of Perfecting Education, a consulting firm for studies in the US, thinks that this is a positive move. It brings hope to in-person classes in US universities by fall.
However, there is still no date when will consulates open visa applications. This means that those with no valid F-1 or M-1 visas are still not allowed to enter the US. EIC Education, an overseas education agency in China, said that the US Embassy in Beijing will process student visa applications soon according to their source. Expect F-1 visa applications to return in May after China’s May Day holidays.
Former President Donald Trump initially planned to deport international students who can take courses online. However, Trump retracted this plan.Another concern among parents and students is the discrimination and violence against Asians in the US.
Border Opening Soon?
Could this mean that the US will slowly open its border? Though domestic travel is picking up, international travel is still low. Right now, the US only allows essential travel at the border. The US also extended the border closure in both Canada and Mexico.