The United States is opening its doors to Chinese students and academics by easing covid-19 travel bans. The U.S. State Department announced that students with valid visas can enter the United States 30 days before the start of the new school year.
For students and academics whose academic program begins on or after August 1, 2021, if they already have an F-1 or M-1 student visa, they will not have to submit another application until 30 days before the start date. Journalists, students, and academics under exchange visitor programs, as well as citizens of Brazil, Britain, China, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, and South Africa who “provide vital support for critical infrastructure,” will now be able to enter the United States under the “national interest exception” application.
On January 31, 2020, a week after the United States reported its first case of Covid-19, the Trump administration issued a travel ban on China, restricting people from mainland China from entering the United States in the last 14 days. This ban has not been lifted so far. In addition to China, the United States has imposed similar travel bans on the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and Iran.
Since the beginning of this year, many Chinese students have chosen to cross from Singapore to the United States. Students who went through a 14-day third-country quarantine in Singapore applied for a student visa at the U.S. Embassy there.
A survey of more than 700 American schools shows that in the fall of 2020, about 20 percent of American international students completed their studies remotely. China is still the biggest source country for American students. In 2020, there are 382,000 Chinese students with F-1 and M-1 visas studying in the United States, accounting for 31 percent of the total, Caixin reported. However, this represents a significant drop of 19 percent (92,000) compared to 2019.
In 2018, foreign students contributed a total of USD 44.7 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Study Abroad Report, published jointly by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Institute for International Education (IIE).
Among them, the economic benefits brought to the United States by Chinese students studying in the United States alone are as high as $14.9 billion. This aid accounts for about a third of the economic benefits provided by all international students.