Virginia, US

May 29 2020

Presidential Proclamation Suspends Entry of Certain Chinese F and J Nonimmigrants with Ties to Entities that Support PRC Military Initiatives

United States

At a glance

  • The proclamation prohibits Chinese nationals from using F or J nonimmigrant visas to enter the United States to engage in graduate study or research if they have been associated with entities that support the Chinese government’s military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy. The suspension takes effect at 12:00 pm EDT on June 1.
  • Chinese nationals entering the United States for undergraduate study are exempted from the ban, as are U.S. lawful permanent residents and the spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, among others. The proclamation also exempts those studying or researching in fields not deemed to advance China’s MCF strategy.
  • The Departments of State and Homeland Security are expected to issue details on implementation of the proclamation.

The issue

Effective June 1 at 12:00pm EDT, a presidential proclamation will ban the entry of certain Chinese nationals as F or J nonimmigrants if (1) they will engage in graduate study or research in the United States; and (2) they have been funded by, studied at, been employed by or conducted research at or on behalf of an entity in the People’s Republic of China that supports the Chinese government's military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy. The proclamation defines the MCF strategy as "actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities."

The proclamation directs the State Department to consider whether it should cancel the visas of Chinese F and J nonimmigrants currently in the United States who would otherwise be covered by the ban. News reports had earlier indicated that the proclamation would directly cancel those visas. DOS and DHS are directed to consider issuing updated regulations concerning inadmissibility to the United States on the basis of membership in a totalitarian party. The proclamation further directs the agencies to review nonimmigrant and immigrant programs within 60 days and recommend any other measures requiring Presidential action that might mitigate the risk of the PRC’s acquisition of sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property, indicating that the ban could be broadened.

Who is exempt from the proclamation

The proclamation exempts Chinese nationals entering to engage in undergraduate study and Chinese Fs and Js studying or researching in fields that do not contribute to the MCF strategy, as determined by DHS, DOS and DOJ. Those fields are not identified in the proclamation.

Also exempted are U.S. lawful permanent residents, the spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, foreign nationals in the U.S. armed forces (as well as their spouses and children), and foreign nationals whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives or is in the U.S. national interest.

Implementation of the proclamation

The Departments of State and Homeland Security are expected to provide further detail on how the proclamation will be applied and to more clearly define who is subject to the suspension of entry. 

Fragomen is closely monitoring the implementation of the new proclamation and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.