US authorities announced on Monday that Chinese students, whose academic programs begin on August 1, 2021 or later, can enter the US before the start of their academic activities, which is seen by observers as a major step forward for academic exchanges in the post-pandemic era.
Industry insiders and concerned students noted that the move gives them hope of further relaxation on travel bans and visa application.
Chinese students, whose academic programs begin August 1, 2021 or later, may qualify for the US' National Interest Exception (NIE) and can enter the US no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic activities, according to an announcement by the US Department of State on Monday.
Students and academics subject to Presidential Proclamations in China, Iran and Brazil, may now qualify for a NIE if their academic program starts on August 1, 2021 or later, said the US authority on Monday.
Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas no longer need to contact the US embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel.
It is not yet clear when the US embassy and consulates will open for visa applications. According to the official website of the embassy, it "remains unable to resume routine nonimmigrant visa operations" due to COVID-19 risks.
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