COVID-19: US embassy in China resumes student visa process

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Last updated on May 8th, 2021 at 01:28 pm

The US Embassy and consulates in China on Tuesday resumed in-person visa appointments for Chinese students. This development has come days after the Biden administration eased travel restrictions for students from China and a number of other countries with the aim of allowing enrollments in colleges and universities.

Addressing a news briefing last week, William Bistransky, acting consul general at the US Embassy in Beijing, said more than 1,000 visa officers will be assisting students personally to accelerate their application process. Visa officers will be accompanied by over 150 Chinese support staff to help hundreds of applicants in the process.

He noted that more than 3,000 online applications were submitted within the first hour after the Embassy’s website was opened for student visa appointments.

“While the vast majority of students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics would receive their visas, some with a hi-tech background would require extra screening,” Bistransky added.

With these efforts, the US Embassy in Beijing is extending a helping hand to Chinese students and welcoming them to American universities, communities and homes, the senior official asserted.

Bistransky stressed the embassy will be able to successfully conduct over 2,000 student visa appointments in a day by mid-May.

He further explained that Chinese students willing to attend American schools and colleges in the fall are required to apply for the visa at least 120 days before the academic programs begin across the country. In addition, they must enter the US 30 days before the beginning of their classes.

He also noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local authorities’ regulations will decide quarantine measures for students from China and other countries on their arrival in the US. Bistransky added the students arriving in the US in the fall are required to present negative COVID-19 test report taken within three days before the flight on their arrival in accordance with the regulations implemented by the CDC.

The US Embassy and consulates in China had suspended in-person visa appointments for immigrants and non-immigrants in view of the COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020. Last month, the American Council of Education (ACE) wrote a letter to the Biden administration, urging the authorities to speed up the visa process for current and prospective international students. According to the International Education Exchange (IEE), Chinese accounted for about 35 percent of international students (372,000) for 2019-20 academic year in the United States.

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