Proclamation Bans Entry of Certain Students and Researchers from China

May 31, 2020

On May 29, 2020, the President issued a Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China. The proclamation is effective at 12:00 p.m. EDT on June 1, 2020, and is to remain in effect until terminated by the President.

Who Is Affected by the Order?

The proclamation suspends the entry of Chinese citizens into the United States with an F or J visa to study conduct research in the U.S. at the graduate or post-doctoral level who, currently or in the past, are affiliated with an entity in China that implements or supports the PRC's "military-civil fusion" strategy. The affiliation may be through:

  • funding
  • employment
  • studies
  • conducting research

Under the Proclamation the term "military-civil fusion" strategy is defined as "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." The entities that implements or supports this are not defined.

 Who is Not Affected?

The Proclamation exempts certain categories, including, but not limited to:

  • Undergraduate students;
  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
  • The spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident;

See Section 2 of the proclamation for other categories to whom the order does not apply.

Are F or J Students and Researchers Currently in the U.S. Covered?

At this time the order covers only individuals seeking entry into the U.S., not those already present in the U.S. However, there is a provision which directs the Secretary of State to consider whether nationals of China currently in the U.S. pursuant to F or J visas who otherwise meet the criteria should have their visas revoked.

How Will F or J Visa Holders be Identified as Subject to the Ban?

The implementation of the proclamation is conferred to the Secretary of State as it applies to visas, and to the Secretary of Homeland Security as it applies to entry to the United States. No further details are available at this time.

 Are Immigrants or Other Nonimmigrants Covered?

At this time, this order does not apply to immigrant visas, or other classifications of non-immigrant visas.   However, the proclamation directs the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, within 60 days, to review non-immigrant and immigrant programs and recommend to the President any other measures that "would mitigate the risk posed by the PRC's acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property."

Find more details about the proclamation here.

This presidential action is cause for great concern to our highly-valued students and researchers from China, as well as to Columbia University’s administration, the ISSO and the U.S. academic community at large. It is shocking and alarming and we know you will have many questions for which regrettably there are few answers at this time. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.