Two UC San Diego Students from Iran Denied Entry into the United States

Two Iranian graduate students set to attend UC San Diego were denied entry into the United States last month after their F student visas were invalidated by the United States State Department. According to the Guardian, a total cohort of 20 students were prevented from boarding their flights to the United States from airports in Iran, Turkey, and Qatar. The students said that the revocations were given without any warning or explanation.

The students were set to attend graduate programs, most of which were schools in the University of California system. Peyman, one of the students slated to begin his graduate degree in electrical engineering at UCSD, told The New York Times  that he felt “damaged emotionally, financially, academically.” He did not share his surname due to his fear that talking to the press would affect re-approval of his visa.

The State Department said that policies regarding student visas had not changed. High-ranking education officials also noted that it was common for student visa issues to arise every fall for international students.

The State Department’s multi-year report notes that a total of 399,262 people were issued F or M student visas last year. The department does not report statistics on visa denials.

Back in March 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13780 which banned entry into the U.S. of foreign nationals from eight countries, including Iran and North Korea. Those coming on valid F and M student visas, or J exchange visitor visas are exempt from the travel ban. The order also notes that “[individuals who are planning to come to the U.S. under these visas] should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.”

The cancellations occurred before the Sept. 14 drone strike on Saudi Arabian oil installations by the Yemeni Houthi movement, which is supported by the Iranian government. Tensions between the United States and Iran have remained high in recent years.

In a letter to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the UC Office of the President issued a statement that expressed its concerns about the Iranian students not being allowed entry.

“We are doing everything we can for these students, including working with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Capitol Hill to seek answers. UC has a deep commitment to providing a world-class education to all of our international students,” the statement reads. “Once they are enrolled at UC, we do everything possible to assist with their safe and timely arrival on campus, as well as to support them throughout their studies at the university.”

UCSD reported in its 2018-2019 student profile that 18.6 percent of its student body are international students. 

The two graduate students have still not been allowed entry into the United States. UCSD students who have questions or concerns about their visas are encouraged to speak to the International Faculty and Scholars office.

2 thoughts on “Two UC San Diego Students from Iran Denied Entry into the United States

  1. Sadly, Trump’s ugly and contentious issue is yet one more thing that makes being an international student away from home difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey.
    Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
    Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.”
    Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
    It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all at UCSD or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.

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