On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order suspending the admission of Chinese nationals seeking entry to the U.S. with F-1 or J-1 visas if those visa holders have been affiliated with certain institutions tied to the Chinese military.

The premise for the proclamation is that China is engaged in a “wide-ranging and heavily resourced campaign to acquire sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property, in part to bolster the modernization and capability of its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” that represents “a threat to our Nation’s long-term economic vitality and the safety and security of the American people.”

The order, which went into effect June 1, 2020, impacts intending F-1 and J-1 graduate-level and higher students and researchers from China who (1) receive funding from or who are currently employed by, study at, or conduct research at or on behalf of an entity in China that implements or supports China’s military-civil fusion strategy or (2) have been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of an entity in China that implements or supports China’s military-civil fusion strategy.

Undergraduate students, lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders), and spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are exempt from the restriction. The following categories are also exempted subject to a determination by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies:

  • A foreign national who is studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to China’s military-civil fusion strategy

  • A foreign national whose entry would further United States law enforcement objectives, based on a recommendation of the U.S. attorney general or his designee

  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest

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