Visa China Application

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					Report on the UC Berkeley
Visa Holders' Survey, 2004
    Graduate Division, for the
    USA PATRIOT Act Task Force on
    International Students and Scholars
    University of California, Berkeley
    May 2004


                                          1
       UC Berkeley Visa Holders’ Survey
       History

         Following 9/11/01 and the new immigration
          regulations, this survey was designed to assess the
          experiences of visa holders at UC Berkeley and to
          identify possible ways that the campus can better
          accommodate their needs in regard to visa-related
          issues.
         From February 25 to March 24, 2004, we surveyed all
          individuals who were identified by the Office of the
          Registrar or Services for International Students and
          Scholars (SISS) as possible visa holders studying or
          working on the UC Berkeley campus.*
  *12 individuals who were not affiliated with UC Berkeley responded to the survey.
  Postdocs who were doing Optional Practical Training (OPT) were not included in the
  survey because of lack of email addresses.
                                                                                   2
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
       UC Berkeley Visa Holders’ Survey
       Response Rates

                                                     # of         # of               Response
   Surveyed Population                            Surveyed**   Responses               Rate


 Undergraduate                                       771            307                  40%
 Students
 Graduate Students                                  1,729           903                  52%

 Visiting Scholars,
 Faculty, and                                        775            478                  62%
 Postdoctoral Fellows
 Total                                              3,275          1,688                 52%

*12 individuals who were not affiliated with UC Berkeley responded to the survey.
                                                                                               3
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.                **with valid email addresses.
    UCB Visa Holders’ (by group) Immigration Problems*
    from Most Common to Least Common
Rank                                                                                      N=
                       Immigration Problem**                    UG      Grad PDSF
                                                                                                 UG, 212

  1      Delays at U.S. consulates or embassies 60%                      61%       59%         Grad, 605
                                                                                               PDSF, 338

                                                                                                 UG, 251

  2      Having to alter travel plans to or from                57%      59%       61%         Grad, 800
                                                                                               PDSF, 350
         U.S.
                                                                                                 UG, 245

  3      Delays in entering U.S. at point-of-entry 63%                   59%       52%         Grad, 742
                                                                                               PDSF, 355

                                                                                                UG, 302

  4      Worries of student registration block                  53%      49%                   Grad, 906


                                                                                                 UG, 201

  5      Family members have difficulty visiting 36%                     49%       26%         Grad, 609
                                                                                               PDSF, 219

                                                                                                 UG, 131

  6      Having to alter research plans                         31%      41%       31%         Grad, 497
                                                                                               PDSF, 223

                                                                                                 UG, 183

  7      Refused a visa to U.S.                                  7%        7%        6%        Grad, 554
                                                                                               PDSF, 280

                                                                                                 UG, 190

  8      Refused entry into U.S.                                 5%        3%        2%        Grad, 587
                                                                                               PDSF, 275


*As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced these problems.
                                                                                           4
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
        Delays at U.S. Consulates or Embassies*
 N=
        Percent Experiencing by National Region**
 29                    Central Am.
 33                  Australia & NZ
 38                        Canada
 81                     India & Bangl.
298                         East Asia
1165                                All
340                         West. Europe
 13                                Africa
 73                           East. Europe
 71                               S. America
133                                    China
 38                                       Middle East
 18                                                Israel

       0%      10%       20%       30%       40%        50%   60%   70%   80%    90%    100%
 *As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
 **Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.      5
 Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
 Problems with U.S. Consulate Requirement
 UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
 A major issue for all international studies is delays in getting visa
 renewed in their home countries - at times, this process takes up
 to a month. This means we have to be away from UCB and our
 studies for longer periods. We also need to spend money and go
 back to our countries, just to get the visa renewed. [India]
 The requirement for a face-to-face interview at the London
 consulate involved my wife and me in 8 hours of traveling and 4
 hours of waiting (and a whole lot of anxiety) for a 3-minute
 interview that no-one was pretending was anything but a
 formality. [United Kingdom]
 Applying for the visa is a long and painful process. First, not
 everyone is allowed to enter the embassy to submit the visa
 application, so you have to go through a travel agency—which
 [costs] money. Second—it cost about 300 dollars each time you
 apply for a visa and depending on country, perhaps more.
 [Southeast Asian nation]

                                                                    6
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
          Refused a Visa to the U.S.*
          Percent Experiencing by National Region**
   N=
   16      Israel
  286       West. Europe
   22            Centr. Am.
   60            South Am.
   79            Ind.&Bang.
   58
                 Canada
   67
                  East. Europe
   33
                  Austral. & NZ
                  East Asia
  270
                   All
 1031
                         Middle East       (4 refused)
   31
                             Africa    (2 refused)
   12
                                       China      (26 refused)
   97

         0%       10%       20%       30%         40%     50%    60%   70%   80%   90% 100%
*As a result of the current immigration regulations.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                  7
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
        Refused a Visa to the U.S.
        UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
    Many of my friends get checked in the US embassy when they
    tried to come back from China. I am very concerned so I have to
    delay or cancel my travel back home. [China]

    I haven't been home for more than two years, since I was rejected
    a visa the first time I applied (for no reason - and received one the
    next time for no reason also). I am afraid going back and applying
    for a new visa will be somewhat risky. [China]

    And an email from a non-respondent explaining why he did not
    answer our survey . . . .

    Thanks for your message. Hereby I inform you that I applied to
    obtain VISA for my family and myself in last November from the
    US Embassy, but my application was refused and I could not
    obtain visa to come California. [Middle Eastern nation]

                                                                      8
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
        Having to Alter Travel Plans Re: U.S.*
 N=
        Percent Experiencing by National Region**
 42
                      Austral. & NZ
 80
                          Canada
 93                      India & Bangl.
 88                        East. Europe
 30                         Central Am.
384                         West. Europe
 73
                              South Am.
1412                                    All
345                                East Asia
 46                                      Middle East
 17                                           Africa
 20                                                Israel
194                                                      China

          0%       10%       20%       30%         40%      50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
 *As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
 **Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.      9
 Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
     Altering Travel Plans to and from the U.S.
     UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
  Because my DS2019 has to be renewed every year I have to go
  back to France every year to do the paperwork at the embassy to
  renew the stamp. [France]

  I cannot go back home because I will have to get my visa stamp
  renewed if I do, and that takes over three months in my home
  country. I haven't been home in about five years!
  [Southwest Asian nation]

  I share the feeling of all post-docs that I know: we are afraid to
  travel in our country of citizenship for family reasons or for
  interviews (e.g. to apply to research positions in our country of
  citizenship) because we are afraid to experience very long delays
  for re-entering the U.S. [France]


Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
                                                                 10
        Family Members Have Difficulty Visiting*
        Percent Experiencing by National Region**
  N=
  33     Au.&NZ
   61    Canada
 248     West. Euro.
   24         Central Am.
 285               East Asia
   15                    Israel
1034                        All
   58                   India & Bangl.
   60                    East. Europe
   53                          South Am.
   11                               Africa
   32                              Middle East
 154
                                                  China

        0%      10%       20%       30%       40%    50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
*As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                 11
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
        Problems with Family Visits
        UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
  My parents visa application for attending my MS graduation
  commencement was declined last May. This . . . hurt me A LOT!!

  My parents have great difficulty to visit me and even to attend my
  graduation ceremony. I am doing piles of paperworks to make
  documentation to US Embassy. It really cost a lot of my study
  time.

  My parents cannot get their visa to visit me and see their
  newborn [grand]child. I am suspicious whether they can get visa
  for my commencement in this May.

  My parents were denied visa last summer when they try to visit
  me. The visa officer didn't even tell a reason for the denial! The
  result was I had to take a month off from my research and visited
  them back in China.
  [all the above from China]
                                                                 12
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
             Delays at U.S. Point-of-Entry*
             Percent Experiencing by National Region**
 N=
 96                    India & Bangl.
 42                       Austral. & NZ
 117                            China
334                            East Asia
1347                                 All
392                           West. Europe
 15                                Africa
 81                           East. Europe
 82                                Canada
 19                                  Israel
 33                              Central Am.
 78                               South Am.
 48                                 Middle East

       0%        10%       20%       30%       40%   50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
 *As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
 **Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                  13
 Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
      Problems at the U.S. Point of Entry
      UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
  I have had distressing incidents at the port of entry . . . due to minor
  mistakes. . . . I put the DS2019 form in my suitcase, instead of in the
  passport; the officer at customs got very anxious and demanded me
  to show that form . . . . They sent me (together with my [child]) to an
  awful and scary room decorated with posters showing images of the
  twin towers and the phrase: "we will never forget". . . . In our case
  they 'released' us once they saw my papers. [Latin America]
  [My country] is fifty percent Muslim, and that has meant all citizens,
  Muslim or Christian . . . have been tarred with the broad brush of
  'potential terrorist'. I have been made to feel like a criminal at San
  Francisco International Airport, having my photo taken and my
  finger prints too, on the pain of denial of entry. [African nation]
  There were huge delays at the port of entry where I felt like I was
  questioned beyond necessity. I have been in the United States for
  the past 9 years and have never experienced as much hassle as I
  have recently. [Southwest Asian nation]
                                                                      14
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
       Worries Re: Student Registration Block*
       Percent Experiencing by National Region**
  N=
  28          Central Am.
  34                Austral. & NZ
  14                      Israel
  80                 East. Europe
  68                    South Am.
 225                  West. Europe
  48                    Middle East
1195                            All
 312                       East Asia
  75                          Canada
 122                      India & Bangl.
 174                                China
  15                                  Africa

       0%       10%       20%       30%       40%   50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
*As a result of the current Immigration regulations. Only students included.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                 15
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
        Fears of Bureaucratic Mistakes
        UCB Visa Holders Share Their Concerns
  The entire process is bureaucratically controlled, which
  means that at any stage of my graduate work I am in danger of
  some clerical error or irrational whim on the part of a staffer
  costing me valuable time or money or even my degree.
  [Canada]

  Embassy staff and immigration officials are sometimes not
  fully informed and essentially cause us to break the law. I
  entered the US "illegally" . . . because Embassy officials told
  me my student visa was sufficient, even though my status had
  changed and I should have been issued a tourist visa. Now,
  every time I apply for a new visa, I pray that they don't check
  all the stamps in my passport. What will happen now that all
  our movements are tracked on computer? Will we pay for
  some petty official's mistakes? [a visa holder]

                                                             16
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
       Having to Alter Research Plans*
N=
       Percent Experiencing by National Region**
16       Centr. Am.
49        East. Europe
33         Austral. & NZ
41           South Am.
45               Canada
 11               Israel
216          West. Europe
224               East Asia
862                      All
58                India & Bangl.
 7                        Africa
29                             Middle East
133                                     China

      0%        10%       20%       30%       40%   50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
*As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                 17
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
      Having to Alter Research Plans*
      Percent Experiencing by Major Disciplinary Group**
N=

           Social Sci. &
180
            Humanites


128         Professions



114              Life Sciences



862                      All


                       Sci., Tech.,
425
                      Eng., & Math.

      0%        10%       20%       30%       40%   50%   60%   70%   80%   90%   100%
*As a result of the current Immigration regulations.
**Percent “Strongly” or “Somewhat” Agreeing that they have experienced this problem.
                                                                                 18
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
     Having to Alter Research Plans
     UCB Visa Holders Describe Their Experiences
  The major change for me has been the rule change that we can't
  enter the US more than 30 days prior the start of class (before it
  was 90 days), which made it for me very hard to start working on
  research during the summer as I had agreed with a prof here.
  [Canada]

  The renewal of the visa is a big obstacle for my summer research.
  Every year I have to return my country to renew my visa before
  travelling to a third country. [Italy]

  I can't attend international conferences, although I am supposed
  to do. [Middle Eastern nation]

  Random long (from a few weeks to a few months, even a year)
  security check according to the Technology Alert List is a HUGE
  pain for Chinese students!! [China]

                                                                 19
Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.
AVC-R Findings from Survey of Visa Holder
Postdocs and Faculty Who Employ Postdocs/GSRs
                                                                                                     N=
                       Immigration Related Problems                                            %
 Postdoc chose not to attend an international                                                  69%    75

 professional conference in last year because of a
 concern that they might experience difficulty or
 delay in reentering the U.S.
 Postdoc indicated that their personal life has been                                           48%    75

 adversely impacted by the situation relating to
 travel outside of the United States.
 Faculty who employ post-doctoral scholars report                                              60%   110

 greater difficulty in recruiting post-docs to their
 labs.
 Faculty who employ international GSRs report                                                  41%    71

 delays in their arrival.
                                                                                                20
Source: AVC-R Robert Price’s Postdoc and Faculty Survey, 2004. Not for public dissemination.
      Leaving the U.S. and Regrets
      UCB Visa Holders Share Their Thoughts
   I have decided to prematurely terminate my position at U.C.
   Berkeley because of the climate created by the new legislation.
   [Switzerland]

   If I had to decide again to do a postdoc in the US I would
   definitively NOT come here due to the way UC Berkeley and US
   administration treat foreigners. [Spain]

   The way people are treated at US embassies is just denigrating
   and frankly a shame. If it wasn't for being able to spend a year at
   one of the best Universities in the world, I would surely not
   recommend a stay in the US, just for the administrative hassle. I
   am sure that more and more researchers, myself included, will try
   to find more hospitable environments outside the US in the future.
   [Switzerland]

Source: UC Berkeley Visa Holders' Survey, 2004.                  21
     Immigration Problems
     Summary of Findings from UCB
1.    UCB visa-holders have experienced widespread
      Immigration-related delays.
2.    Visa-holders from China, Middle East, Africa, and
      Israel experience the greatest difficulties or
      constraints.
3.    Many have altered travel plans because of fear of
      visa problems or actual visa-related constraints.
4.    Many experience great anxiety and/or humiliation
      because of the new visa process; some express
      regret at coming to US.
5.    Research efforts are negatively impacted by new
      immigration regulations, particularly in the sciences.
                                                          22
     AAU Recommendations *
     Supported by UCB Survey Data

1.    A visa issuance process that is secure, timely,
      efficient, transparent, and predictable; that
      enhances homeland security; and that will permit
      full scientific exchange and collaboration.
2.    An efficient and practical exit and re-entry
      process for international students and scholars
      who have been issued a visa so they can exit and
      re-enter the U.S. without having to be completely
      re-screened.

 * Source: “Summary of AAU, NAFSA, NASULGC Visa Survey,” January 12, 2004.
   http://www.aau.edu/resources/students.html
                                                                             23
  AAU Recommendations* (continued)
  Supported by UCB Survey Data

3.    The federal government revisit the one-year limit
      on Visas Mantis clearances in the future and
      consider extending it to make it more compatible
      with the time it takes students to complete their
      degree or scholars to complete their scholarship
      or research.
4.    A process by which current student and scholar
      visa holders can revalidate their visas before
      leaving the U.S. for academic, health, or other
      personal reasons.

* Source: “Summary of AAU, NAFSA, NASULGC Visa Survey,” January 12, 2004.
  http://www.aau.edu/resources/students.html                                24

				
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