It is happening – after prolonged wait, I had to cancel my US student (F-1) visa application so that I could have my passport back for my upcoming trip. It was held hostage for 55 days. Usually, the application would be processed in about a week.
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As you may know, there is currently a trade war between the US and China. While bureaucrats from both countries sit down and figure out a compromise that would put an end to all the craziness, we the students unfortunately suffered. The intellectual property theft among other issues are what media considers sparkled the trade war, and it is apparent that the current administration is tightening control on student visas to prevent espionage activities through seemingly innocent scholar exchanges.
What does it mean to us, really?
It seems to me that students majoring in Computer Science and other related subjects, and master’s students, are among the most affected ones (and unfortunately I qualify the both). I have a number of friends whose visas are being delayed for no apparent reasons, and they are mostly computer science students in various institutions across US. Few of my friends who were lucky enough to get a visa were surprised by the 1-year validity of the visa. Since most university careers last more than 2 years, that means if they decide to reunite with their family during vacation, they will have to reapply for a new visa, potentially wait for months before they hear the outcome, OR they stay in the US for the entire duration of their study.
Is that just an inconvenience and matter of patience?
I used to think so, but now I’m not sure anymore. There are an increasing amount of students who are facing exactly my problem, some of them waited for more than 4 months. The visa was never my concern until now, when I was passion, then anxious, and finally numb. Day after days I open up the visa status checker, only to see “Administrative Processing” with no further progress. And now I even fear that my visa would not be renewed next year, should the situation becomes worse. In past five years, I studied hard, paid taxes, abided the laws, made friends, and did whatever I could to integrate into the society. And yet the very foundation of everything, my legal existence in the US, might be simply denied for concerns that I could be a threat to the nation security.
When I first set foot in the United States 5 years ago, I fallen in love with her right away. The freedom, the prosperity, the hospitality, and many other things has made America great. It is saddening to see that current trade war has such tremendous impact on not just me, but many students and scholar alike. I pray for a swift, peaceful solution to not only the current trade affairs, but also many issues in China, so that the peace can be achieved once and for all.