Earlier this week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that the U.S. Department of State will neither issue visas to students nor permit them to enter the U.S. if their universities switch to online-only courses, as a measure to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S. Ha Kim Ngoc visits Vietnamese students.

Ngoc recommended Vietnamese students in the US directly contact their schools or universities’ centers for international students to seek support and advice for the best option.

Students were also advised to stay in touch with the Vietnamese Embassy, Consulates General, and the association of Vietnamese youth and students in the U.S., for updates on the new policy.

Ngoc also voiced his concern over the policy, saying that the embassy and other Vietnamese representative offices in the U.S. have contacted local authorities about the matter and relating procedures.

Ngoc said his embassy had asked local authorities to adopt measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese students in the U.S. and has lobbied other ASEAN member states to together take action.

It had proposed the Vietnamese Government increase flights repatriating Vietnamese citizens, he added, operated by Vietnam Airlines or foreign carriers.

There will be more opportunities for Vietnamese people hoping to come home to do so, as the government is considering the pilot reopening of a limited number of air routes connecting Vietnam with destinations in Northeast Asia such as Seoul, Tokyo, and China's Taipei and Guangzhou, he noted.

Those who are taking in-person classes and have a place to stay and a valid visa should carefully weigh flying home at this time, he suggested.

Source: VNA