Travel Ban Impact on Immigrant Students

Last year, the President placed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries in what he claims is an effort to protect the United States. The decision was backed by the Supreme Court. The specific bans vary by country and most allow for case-by-case exemptions. However, immigrant students are still feeling the pinch of limited access to American universities and the threat of not being allowed to reenter the U.S. should they go back to their countries of origin.

The President instituted a travel ban on the following countries:

  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Venezuela

The ban for each country varies. In some cases, government officials and their family members are prohibited from entering the United States. Other countries have varied limits on temporary immigration but indefinite bans on permanent immigration.

For countries where students are permitted to apply for a non-immigrant visa, the process is a complicated one. For example, Iranian students seeking visas must first visit an embassy in another country on their own time and at their own expense, only to face a vague waiting period.

If they do receive a visa, once in the United States, they may be faced with the heartbreaking reality that they are now unable to see their family back home. Should they choose to leave, students on single-entrance visas may not be granted reentry.

If they do seek reentry, the clearance process for students in some countries can take up to two months – essentially an entire semester. Many of the student immigrants impacted by the travel ban are those pursuing advanced degrees in important areas such as technological, medical, and engineering fields.

Other Effects Felt by Students

There are some less obvious ramifications of the travel ban on immigrant students. For Iranian students, there is no money transfer permitted between the two countries. University students facing the usual financial woes that most college–age adults face cannot depend on the support of family members back home.

The stress of wondering about their status from day and worrying about family members back home takes a toll on student productivity. Especially at the PhD level, immigrant students are under an incredible amount of pressure and stress which is compounded by ever-changing and increasingly restrictive U.S. immigration policies.

If the travel ban continues, the United States will inevitably lose some of the most promising young scholars and entrepreneurs in the world to universities in other countries. Many students are beginning to choose to work and study in places that permit them to come and go more easily and afford them freedoms they do not currently have in the U.S.

If you are in the U.S. on a student visa, or seeking a student visa and have questions about the travel ban and its limitations and requirements, contact a Philadelphia immigration lawyer for smart legal guidance.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Guide Foreign-Born Students through the Visa Process

The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are knowledgeable about the travel ban and are on top of the ever-changing immigration policies throughout Pennsylvania and the country. To speak with a multi-lingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer about your immigration law matter, call 215-925-4435 today or submit an online contact form. From our Philadelphia offices, we proudly serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania.