US tightens visa control for Chinese students

US tightens visa control for Chinese students

REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

US authorities announced today that Chinese citizens who want to study in the country in a "legitimate way" are "welcome," but recognize they have tightened visa requirements.

Due to recent restrictions and visa refusals, China had urged students to "strengthen their risk assessment" before deciding to study in the US.

Washington's justification for the new visa rules is the "increasing number of cases" of Chinese students that have been allegedly recruited by foreign intelligence services, a State Department spokeswoman said.

The Chinese Ministry of Education has urged students to "think carefully about the need to take precautions and make appropriate preparations" before traveling to the United States.

The call comes amidst a trade war between Beijing and Washington and growing US distrust of Chinese students and researchers.

Last month, the GOP tabled a bill to prevent anyone connected to the Chinese army from getting a student visa, prompting immediate protests in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Education has also complained about the difficulties in the visa application process, such as increased processing times, shorter expiry dates, and a growing number of refusals.

"This affects all Chinese citizens studying in the US and also those who have successfully completed their studies there," the ministry said on its website.

The bill calls on Congress to establish a list of scientific and engineering institutions linked to the Chinese military, whose employees or researchers are not legally allowed to obtain student or researcher visas.

According to the official Chinese news agency, about 360,000 Chinese citizens are currently studying in the US,