Chinese international students expect to return to campus in fall

New policies of the government and schools affect Chinese international students and their plans in 2021


Illustration by Xiang(Lucy) Chang

How to return to the state for school has been a problem that Chinese international students concern about since the outbreak of COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, the U.S. government released different policies to the international students who hold a student visa (F or M). Many of these policies became Chinese international students’ obstacles for coming back to the state for school.

In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the pandemic travel ban to many countries, including China. This means that all the non-immigrant Chinese people were not allowed to enter the state. At the same time, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the F-students will not be given the U.S. visa unless they stay in the state for their school. In other words, a Chinese international student who takes online classes for his/her school in China cannot get the America visa.

While the government still executes these two policies today, it changed another proclamation for visa. Since the beginning of 2020, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China cancelled all the immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments. However, in February, 2021, the U.S. Consulate General Shanghai released some reservation places of student visa in May. This means that the Chinese international students who decide to come to the state have the chance to get their F-1 visa before the fall semester starts.

Other than the opened visa reservation places, the new announcements from many American colleges also encourages Chinese international students, especially the seniors, to come back to the state. In spring, many colleges announced their in-person instruction in fall, 2020. The colleges in California which made the similar announcements include the University of California, University of Southern California, and California State University.

Based on the current situation, it is possible and hopeful that Chinese international students can return to the U.S. for school in fall. To meet the requirements of entering the U.S., after getting their student visa, the Chinese international students can go to a country that is not included in the U.S. pandemic travel ban (for example, Singapore) and be quarantined in that country for 14 days before they enter the state.