Town Hall on Chinese Visa Concerns

June 8th 2020, 11:00 am EST

The information presented here is from the Chinese Visa Town Hall on Monday, June 8, 2020. This information is current as of that date. We expect additional information regarding the presidential proclamation to be forthcoming and will update information as it arises.


Ms. Mary Millsaps, Director of Purdue Research Information Assurance

Dr. Michael Brzezinski, Dean of International Programs

Dr. Will Miller, Ethics & Social Media Professor at Purdue University

Dr. Wayne Chen, CoE Associate Dean of Research

Dr. Dana Weinstein, CoE Associate Dean of Graduate Education

Questions & Answers:


What Universities are mentioned on the ban?

What are possible reasons for this decision?

How does this affect students that may need to extend their current stay in the United States?


No specific universities have been named and it is unlikely the Dept of State will make the list publicly available. This is one of the biggest problems with the action. The various university and higher education associations are working to get clarity on the implementation details. However; those on the Department of Commerce Entity list or those historically known as the “Seven Sons” are likely involved.

The reasons are stated in the proclamation. It is stated the institutions that have close ties to the People’s Liberation Army and specifically China’s military civilian fusion strategy.

The proclamation, the way it is written at this date, is that certain F1, J1, and J1 research scholars could have their visas revoked. Other possible determinations could be made in the future. As currently written, the only thing that is stated with certainty, is a revocation of a visa for certain PRC nationals. Undergraduate students are not affected.


In case we cannot enter the US, can we work remotely or suspend and register for the next semester?


This is a complicated question that involves export control compliance, work rules, both US laws and laws of foreign countries. The Global Resources Committee is looking at this question now and will likely have specific guidance on this and related questions. This affects not only Chinese students, but all students around the globe. Guidance for working remotely will be provided shortly.

Registration in absentia is always a possibility.


The school where I did my undergraduate study and research was listed as unverified list by BIS. How would that impact my study here at Purdue?


The Department of Commerce’s Unverified list isn’t, in and of itself, and indicator of a specific action. It is a list related to exports and the ability of the DoC to verify the entity’s bona fides.


One person expressed concern for the ability to perform DoD research in an open research environment, with foreign nationals who may have ties to “aggressive foreign militaries.” His or her question was whether as a US public, state run institution, should Purdue not serve the needs of the nation and its citizens first?


Purdue takes a principled/risk-based approach to ensuring our research is protected. History shows us that foreign-born researchers have added greatly to the scientific and technological excellence of the US. and Purdue has benefited greatly from our international personnel. Let’s all remember that our most recent Nobel prize winner, Chemistry professor Ei-ichi Negishi, is foreign born and he is just one example of the excellence our international personnel bring to our community.

We believe by having both a strong regulatory structure to identify and protect our more sensitive research and a strong culture of research integrity and inclusion that holds all of us accountable, regardless of where we were born, we are doing exactly what this questioner asks us to do. An NSF funded report by JASON (an independent group of elite scientists which advises the United States government on matters of science and technology, mostly of a sensitive nature) released in December of 2019, also agrees with this point. I would point out that 2 of the most well-known cases of Chinese influenced criminal action on the part of researchers (Dr. Reece Roth and Dr. Charles Lieber) were native born Americans who were coopted by the Chinese government (the case against Lieber is still pending, but that is the allegation). I would argue that it is naïve to believe that just prohibiting individuals from a specific country or specific entities would somehow eliminate the risk of malign foreign influence.


I am a Ph.D. candidate and considering pursuing a post-doc because of my passion in my field determination to stay in academia. Would I be able to do that in the US on an OPT after graduation if my visa happened to be revoked because of this proclamation? How concerned should I be regarding Cotton's proposal to ban all Chinese students from getting a visa for graduate and post-graduate study in STEM?


It is hard to say right now, but IF that proposal makes it through the legislative process it will go through edits and negotiations and the associations are working hard to make sure the academic perspective is voiced and considered.


Hi I’m an incoming grad student major in AAE. I will be graduating on June 12th from University of Washington which is an American university and I have never ever had any connections to Chinese military. Will my situation be considered as having high potential to be included in the ban list? I know this major is sensitive, will my visa be canceled just because I am taking this major? How high is the possibility can I continue my study at Purdue grad school? What can I do if I am included in the ban list? Will Purdue provide any legal help?


The fact that you received your undergraduate degree from a US institution does lower your risk. It is hard to know with any certainty how developments in Washington might impact specific individuals, but there are fundamental research questions in all fields, including AAE. Even the recent National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 requires the DOD to work with University leaders to better understand how

federal action might negatively impact US science efforts and how best to protect academic research. The academic associations are taking that role very seriously and Purdue is a part of those discussions.


I am a faculty member. I have no research projects that restrict citizenship or need security clearance. I publish all results in papers and release software in open source. Do I need to worry that any student in my research team may be related to foreign military forces? If I need to worry about the possibility, what can I do to protect myself, Purdue, and other students?


Purdue has a robust process of regulatory oversight that includes the identification of sponsored research that requires additional security and is subject to the export control regulations. I would encourage you to cultivate a spirit of research integrity within your research group and take time, if you don’t already, to discuss frankly what that means. Be an example of that integrity for your students, domestic and international alike. Pay attention to any behavior that may be an indicator of malign influence and hold each accountable for the little things so that the larger issues don’t develop. That is what is in your control. If you want help, my office (Export Controls/Research Information Assurance) can facilitate a conversation for your team.


I am a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. Though my study is not military-relevant, a small part of my thesis proposal is to integrate machine learning for modeling. But AI is listed as a target technology that the government has concerns with. Should I get rid of this part of the proposal, to be safe?


(Mary Millsaps) I am not a scientist, but I would say follow your scholarly curiosity, as that is what leads to great discoveries. Use all the tools available to you to pursue that passion. AI is with us and isn’t going away. In fact, if you look back to the federal review on national security and research (the “Corson Report” released in 1982) that informed the National Security Decision Directive 189, AI was mentioned as technology they were concerned about. NSDD 189 created the federal definition of fundamental research and the policy position that FR should be free of restrictions and has been reaffirmed by every administration since. The recent GAO report on Export Controls and universities, released just last month, acknowledged that NSDD 189 is still the position of the Federal government. And the JASON report I mentioned earlier was supportive of continuing that.


Will Purdue make a public statement opposing the SECURE CAMPUS act?

(Details here


Making decisions about a public statement on pending legislation is not something I do in my role, and in my experience, the university tends not to make such an institutional statement when it comes to specific legislative proposals. Instead, we stay actively informed and engaged on developments like these through our federal government affairs contacts and our university associations, since we have found those to be the most effective ways to provide feedback on and shape the polices affecting the university.


The President was talking about canceling the visa of some Chinese students in US. Is there any update on this?


Not yet. The proclamation states that the Department of State will be looking at possible revocations over the next 60 days.


If I leave the US, do I risk not being able to come back (even if I have a valid visa)?


If your visa is revoked, you would not be able to use it to re-enter the US.


Will this proclamation influence the application of OPT?


The proclamation does not make any mention of influence on OPT.


How about H1B application for postdocs. Is it suspended or I can still file my application?


The proclamation does not prevent a change of status to H-1B. It only discusses revoking a visa of certain individuals.


Does the proclamation affect individuals who attended universities in US for undergraduate studies?


It is not yet clear. But those who attended universities in US and do not have the connection with the institutions the Dept of State focuses on are less likely to be impacted.


Does whether people get deported based on their background (where they came from and what they did) or also depend on what they are doing now? For example, are people in working on nuclear related materials easier to get deported than bio-related materials? If so, would changing project help?


This proclamation does not discuss deporting anyone. It only addresses revoking a visa.


Does this mean those selective individuals will not get visas if they are currently outside US?


If an individual is affected by this proclamation then they would not be eligible to receive a visa.


Hi I am an incoming grad student major in AAE. I will be graduating from an American institution (UW) on 13th and I am currently in the USA. I think right now US government is focusing on students who have relations to certain military-related Chinese universities. However, since I am graduating from an US institution and I have never ever had any sort of connections to Chinese military, will I also be affected? I know my major is kind of sensitive, will I be affected just because I am in this major? I am now transferring my SEVIS from my current school to Purdue, will this process be affected as well? If I will be affected will Purdue provide any legal help for me to justify for myself?


We cannot state with certainty who is affected and who is not. This proclamation does not prevent a student from transferring to Purdue from another US institution.


If my Visa was revoked, do I have to leave the US immediately without completing my current research or study?


Visa is a travel document. As long as your I-20 is valid and you maintain your student status. You are legal in US.

You can remain in the US if you continue to maintain legal status. After you graduate or complete research you would need to depart the US or begin a new degree program or continue research elsewhere in order to maintain legal status in the US.


I think the OPT can be seen as the extension of F1, so I am concerned whether the proclamation will influence the people applying for or owning OPT


Not affected at present but could be if further determinations are made by the US government


Is there a list of the specific Chinese institutions that the DoS has identified? Does the proclamation apply to all past association of individuals with these institutions or only current affiliations?


The DoS has not provided a list. That is part of the problem. We can assume those institutions on the Commerce Entity list are likely included, but we don't know which other ones will be.

The proclamation applies to both current affiliations and past affiliations.


If I come from a sensible college or research field, should I choose to defer due to the uncertainty of visa application process at present?


This is your decision. We cannot advise what you should or should not do here.


Can new international students choose to enroll online in their home country if the travel ban continues to hold or they cannot obtain F1 visa in time?


Purdue is planning to offer on-line courses. Check with your academic advisor for details


Will the 2020 Fall offer be cancelled, due to this proclamation? How long can we keep this offer? For 1 year?


Fall 2020 will not be cancelled. An offer for admission can be deferred until Spring 2021 if so desired


I'm currently an exchanged student holding J1 status and am still in West Lafayette. My J1 status will be expired on July 13. However, I'm afraid that I might not be able to buy a ticket before then and leave the U.S. due to the recent restriction on flights between the U.S. and China. Thus, I'm wondering if there are any solutions for this such as J1 extension?


Check with ISS -


If one's visa is revoked but he needs to extend the I-20, will the program extension request be affected?


Not at this time. But if the US government makes further determinations it could be.


I am visiting scholar, is there any effect to J1 visa? And can we do any extension?


This proclamation will apply to some J-1 visa holders. Extension of stay is allowed at this time


If someone's F1 visa is revoked, does it mean that the person needs to leave the US? Or the person is still allowed to pursue his/her degree as long as he/she stays in the US.


Not required to depart the US. Allowed to remain in the US unless there are further determinations by the US government.


For post docs, will changing F-1 OPT to H-1B help?


This proclamation does not apply to individuals in H-1B status.


If my visa got revoked, how will I be notified? Thanks.


We do not know at this time.


Here is a very serious question. Since DoS would revoke visas for those are already in US, how about if DoS works with USCIS and DHS? They then would be able to expel students.


We do not know for certain what USCIS or DHS may recommend or what the DoS will do with it. The possibility you list cannot be denied, it’s potentially possible.


So, is it institute based or individual based?


The proclamation discusses entities in the PRC that implement or support the military-civil fusion strategy.


Is institute planning lateral entry midway through semester?




One question, if I cannot get my F1 visa before the start of the semester, can I choose to take online courses in my country first, and transfer into on-campus courses whenever I get my visa and back to USA?


Theoretically, yes. Check with your academic advisor.


Do you guys know is this situation affecting the OPT application?


To date, no. In the future, it is unknown.


If we choose to take online courses, could we enter the US in the middle of the fall term, or must we wait till Spring 2021? Do we need to get a new I-20 later?


Wait until Spring 2021. You will need updated I-20. Liaise with ISS if needed -


Hello everyone, are there cases in Purdue where students' F-1 status are revoked and forced to leave in one month? I heard some cases in other Universities.


Not to my knowledge.


Any information on us starting travel and visa for international students before fall?


No update at this time for admitted international students.


Hi, I am an incoming Chinese PhD student. In the fall semester, I can have online courses. But if I still can't get a visa in the spring, does it mean I cannot continue my PhD study in Purdue and I have to reapply to universities in other countries?


Contact the admission office of the department that admitted you for details and options.


Does the black list of institutions have a valid period of time? Has any institution ever been dropped from the list?


Since the Department of State will not be publishing the list, I expect it won't have a specific validity period.


If I'm a third country citizen but attended undergrad in China, will I be affected?


The proclamation specifically mentions nationals of PRC, so I would assume you would not be impacted by this action.


How this proclamation will affect students graduated from US universities even if they are in the fields that are considered sensitive?


Unknown to date


May I know if they are only targeting ppl who are connected to the MCF program or all people enrolled in sensitive majors could be affected no matter whether they have studied in the MCF universities or not?


Proclamation explicitly stated entities that support the MCF strategy and PRC nationals affiliated with them.


Can we attend conferences in China? Today with the pandemic, that conference is online with all talks given live online.


Nothing in this proclamation would impact your ability to participate in scientific conferences, even those in China.


For Chinese student in US right now, would you recommend against leaving US for the time being until a more specific statement was made? What if no further elaboration was made by the white house?


You have to decide the level of risk you are willing to take.


According to the email sent by the department, International students will be deferred to the 2021 spring if they couldn’t get visa on time. But what if the visa is checked and can’t be issue until 2021 summer? Can we still defer to the 2021 fall?


Check with admission folks


Where can we find the list of DOC restricted universities? Any precaution for faculty members when communicating with perspective applicants from those universities?


You can use the following search tool at


To what extent does the proclamation would affect the students or scholars who attended Chinese university but obtained their graduate degree (master or Ph.D.) in US?


The relationship, past or present, to an entity that supports the military-civil fusion strategy is the key factor


Are there formal guidelines at Purdue for fundamental and applied research?


Yes, you can visit the Export Control/Information assurance website for more information.


Will this proclamation influence the Automatic visa revalidation for traveling to Mexico and Canada after the F1 visa expires? For example, do we need to be more cautious when taking advantage of automatic visa revalidation?


Unknown, sorry


Can the graduate student do his/her final defense remotely in another country assuming the student has accomplished the other course requirements?


Check with your faculty advisor.

Most likely this will be allowable. Provided the student is not in a comprehensively sanctioned country (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine.)


If F1 visa is revoked, will days of F-1 illegal stay (not sure how that term is framed) in the US accumulate?


Not at this time. Only if DHS so determines


Sorry, this is a personal question. I have submitted and paid the shipment for the i-20, but I haven't received yet. Due to the limited time slots of visa interview in AIT, I would like to ask my SEVIS ID first for booking a visa interview.


Check with ISS -


For example, if I’m a PhD student majoring in Artificial intelligence. Even if my undergraduate university was not listed in the MCF list, my major is still sensitive and get targeted on the proclamation. Will I be affected under this circumstance?


This is hard to say because the Department of State hasn't really published the MCF list.


I am OPT right now, and it will be expired on June 15th. Due to the limitation of the airlines, can I do extension of my OPT status?


Check with ISS -


For postdoc currently on F1 OPT, should will apply/transfer H1B help?


H-1B is not affected by the proclamation.


If my visa is revoked, can i continue to study until i graduate (if i do not leave this country)?


At present one would not need to leave the country if a visa was revoked. This could change if DHS makes such a determination.


The proclamation listed several "sensitive" fields such as AI, does it mean students in those sensitive fields from any Chinese university, or just from a (TBD) subset of MCF universities?


I think it is very hard to answer this at this point. Areas of research that is identified as sensitive, may be more impacted, but that list is also not definitive.