The US Travel Ban to Europe
Through the eyes of French citizen and Gaslight Marketing Intern, Emma Portier
On July 1st, the European Union opened their borders to nonessential travels to certain countries. Since the virus struck Europe earlier than the United States, it makes sense that the US, where the situation is still critical, is not included with the countries allowed to go to the EU for nonessential travel.
However, as a European and French citizen currently studying in the US, going back to my country has never been an issue, despite the lack of flights, but the problem is, will I be able to come back to the United States?
After the presidential declaration on March 11th, 2020, and effective on March 13th, European citizens cannot enter the US except if they have a good reason such as working in the health department to help contain the virus. After months of lockdown and now with the country opening phase by phase, the declaration still does not allow European citizens to enter the US. The US government made it clear that EU citizens with ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), a document that allows EU citizens to stay in the US for 90 days, or working visa are not allowed to enter the country, while the situation for international students under the F-1 visa is still unclear.
For international students, especially people originally from Europe, the current climate is becoming more stressful. Since the lockdown, some students under F-1 visa have risked going back to their countries without knowing whether or not they will be able to return to the US in September to start again school. Especially because our I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) expire on July 24th, 2020. So, in order to begin school in September, schools would need to send another one in order to allow students to continue their study in the US.
If the situation was not stressful enough, the US government just announced they will ban the H-1B visa, which allowed foreigners to work in the US. This is the visa international students are seeking in order to work on American soil. Therefore, most international students from my school, enrolled at the last minutes for dual degrees (second masters) in order to have more time to think about their next steps and to see whether or not the US government will change their stance on the H-1B visa.
People everywhere are stressed as well because governments and health organizations are expecting a second wave of the virus around October/November and therefore maybe another lockdown. For international students this means that we will not be able to see our families or go back to our home countries for some time. The closed borders have become our main subject of conversation and tension and stress are increasing.
The only thing we can do is wait until we have further information.
Gaslight Marketing Intern