Our Insights


United States Expected to Limit Visas to Certain Chinese Citizens

Authors: Melissa Manna (Raleigh), Rebecca L. Sigmund (Greenville)

Published Date: June 11, 2018

A new policy enacted by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) instructs United States consular officers to limit the issuance of visas to some Chinese citizens as part of the administration’s measures to address China’s alleged intellectual property violations. Although the specifics have not yet been officially released, at least one news agency has reported that the policy will go into effect on June 11, 2018, and may limit visas to just one year on a case-by-case basis for Chinese graduate students studying in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Further, it has been reported that the policy includes a provision requiring special clearances for Chinese citizens seeking visas to work in research or as managers for companies on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s list of entities that require higher scrutiny. The additional clearances could add months of delay to the normal visa process. 

Although the proposed changes come amidst President Trump’s trade talks with China, they were originally contemplated in his National Security Strategy released in December 2017, which named China as one of the top countries allegedly violating United States intellectual property laws. As part of his national security strategy, President Trump indicated that the administration would review visa procedures and, more specifically, “consider restrictions on foreign STEM students from designated countries to ensure that intellectual property is not transferred to our competitors.”   

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.

Melissa Manna  (Raleigh)

Melissa Manna
Melissa Manna is an Immigration Practice Group Writer. Her primary focus is writing and editing legal articles relating to immigration for the firm’s online and print publications, websites, and newsletters. Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Melissa spent 9 years as in-house counsel at TowerCo, one of the largest independent wireless tower companies in the U.S., representing the company in all aspects of commercial real estate. During that time she managed due diligence, advised and...

Rebecca L. Sigmund  (Greenville)

Rebecca L. Sigmund

*Currently licensed in Georgia only.

Rebecca Sigmund advises companies on immigration alternatives for prospective employees as well as matters relating to employment eligibility of workers.  Her practice largely involves securing appropriate temporary working visas and permanent residency for executives, managers, investors, technical personnel and other professionals to authorize their employment in the United States.