|The White House has released a Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that is effective as of June 1, 2020.
Who is impacted by this entry ban?
This Proclamation bars the entry to the United States by PRC citizens who are seeking to enter the United States with F-1 or J-1 visas for the purpose of studying or conducting research at the graduate level and who are currently receiving funding from, currently or previously employed by, currently studying at, previously studied at, currently conducting research at, or previously conducted research at an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy.” The Proclamation defines “military-civil fusion strategy” to mean “actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities.”
Who is exempt from this entry ban?
Chinese citizens seeking to enter the United States in F-1 or J-1 status for the purposes of pursuing undergraduate studies are exempt from this ban.
It also does not apply to any U.S. lawful permanent residents, spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, any members of the U.S. military, any spouses or children of U.S. military members, anyone who is seeking entry to the United States to carry out obligations under international agreements such as the U.N. Headquarters Agreements, and individuals who will be entering the United States to further its national interest or law enforcement objectives.
Any Chinese F-1 or J-1 visa holders who are deemed not to be contributing to the PRC’s military-civil fusion strategy are also precluded from this entry ban.
Current and potential impacts:
The Proclamation directs the Department of State to consider the possibility of implementing additional measures that are intended to “further mitigate the risk posed by the PRC’s acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property.” This includes the revocation of F-1 or J-1 visas from Chinese nationals who are currently in the United States and are deemed to be affiliated with a PRC-based organization that implements or supports the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy” as outlined in Section 1 of the Proclamation. The Proclamation additionally directs the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to recommend additional restrictions to nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs or take additional action within 60 days of June 1, 2020.
Practically speaking, Chinese nationals who are already in the United States in F-1 or J-1 status and have lawfully maintained their immigration status will not be negatively impacted if their visas are revoked. If they have entered the United States with valid F-1 or J-1 visas and maintain their status as students, they are legally admitted for the “duration of their status” as students and may continue to lawfully remain in the United States. Those who are deemed to support a PRC entity that implements or supports the PRC’s “military-civil fusion strategy” as outlined in Section 1 of the Proclamation will however not be able to secure new visas for the duration of the entry ban.
We also generally anticipate that all Chinese nationals seeking to apply for F-1 or J-1 visas at U.S. consular posts (once the consulates re-open) are likely to be subjected to much stricter scrutiny, administrative processing (i.e. processing delays stemming from additional administrative review of their backgrounds), and higher denial rates. Please note that there is currently a separate COVID-19 related entry ban on individuals who have been in China within the 14-day period immediately prior to entry to the United States. This ban therefore will only impact PRC nationals based outside of the United States once this separate ban ends. There is currently no expiration date to the separate entry ban. For further details on the existing travel ban, please read our client alerts at https://mccownevans.com/news-resources/.