On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation refusing entry into the United States of certain Chinese citizens. The following factors will trigger the ban:
1. The individual is requesting entry into either F or J status for study above a Bachelor’s Degree or to conduct research;
2. The individual is affiliated with an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s ‘military-civil fusion strategy’.” This includes anyone who “receives funding from or who currently is employed by, studies at, or conducts research at or on behalf of, or has been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of” an institution that supports the MCF strategy.
3. The individual’s focus of study or research is in a field that would “contribute to the PRC’s military‑civil fusion strategy, as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security.”
The Department of State has confirmed that neither the list of targeted entities nor the list of targeted fields of research will be made public. Therefore, the individual F or J seeker must present their application for a visa to the U.S. Consulate to request a decision on their application. Those who are denied will receive a denial based on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Note that the Proclamation included an additional measure which instructs the “The Secretary of State (to) consider……. whether nationals of the PRC currently in the United States pursuant to F or J visas and who otherwise meet the criteria described in section 1 of this proclamation should have their visas revoked…” When Chinese nationals who are currently within the United States have their visas revoked, they are NOT required to leave the U.S. or end their F-1 or J-1 program. A visa is only necessary when a person enters the U.S. Therefore, if your visa is revoked while you are in the U.S., you are strongly urged not to travel outside the U.S., as doing so will subject you to a new visa appointment which would be evaluated under the criteria described above.
Finally, the Proclamation gives the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security 60 days within which to provide the President with additional actions “to further mitigate the risk posed by the PRC’s acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property.” No additional guidance on this issue has been published.
How can I tell if a particular institution is a targeted entity?
Because the Department of State is not releasing a list of targeted entities, we must rely on other published sources to evaluate individual institutions. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has created The China Defence Universities Tracker. That Tracker ranks each institution on a continuum from “High Risk” to “Low Risk.” The higher on the continuum an institution is ranked, the greater the chance that affiliation with that institution will cause concern under the terms of the White House Proclamation.
How can I tell if my field of study or research is a targeted field?
Because the Department of State is not releasing a list of targeted fields, we must rely on other published sources to make the best guess about individual fields. The Department of State has published a Fact Sheet about the MCF. That Paper has noted that, “Key technologies being targeted under MCF include quantum computing, big data, semiconductors, 5G, advanced nuclear technology, aerospace technology, and AI.” We can, therefore, assume that fields of study/research under those categories will be problematic under the terms of this White House Proclamation.