Immigration New Visa Limits for Some Chinese Students and Scholars

June 7, 2018

The Department of State recently announced plans to limit the length of validity of the visas it issues to some Chinese citizens who wish to work or study in the US.  To date, the government has provided limited details, but these proposed changes can go into effect as early as June 11, 2018.  While the visa application process itself will not change, under the new practice, consulates would begin issuing one-year visas to Chinese graduate students in certain STEM fields, instead of the five-year visas previously issued.  Chinese citizens seeking visas may also be subject to additional clearance reviews if they work for an entity that appears on the one of the US Commerce Department’s lists requiring higher scrutiny.  While these changes affect the validity of the visa stamped into an individual’s passport, they will not impact the amount of time an individual will be permitted to study or work in the US.  Those who are already in possession of a visa should not be affected. 

 At this point, it is unclear how much of an impact this will have on the visa issuance process this summer. Students and scholars in STEM fields are encouraged to apply for their visas as far in advance as is practicable to allow time for such clearance reviews and to take the new visa limitation into consideration when making their long-term plans and travel plans.

The University of Pennsylvania continues to monitor this situation for any updates and together with our peer institutions will advocate to the US Government about the importance and value of our international students and scholars. Should any new information arise, we will be sure to communicate to you.

 For any questions or concerns, please direct them to ISSS at