Most students do not worry about whether they are able to return home after a day or week at school, but for the Iranian graduate students studying at the U, the year—let alone the day they are able— to return home is a constant uncertainty because of visa restrictions and larger international tensions.
“We are deprived of our right to return to our home country,” said Samar Emami, a graduate student in metallurgical engineering. “It’s like a prison.
” Emami is one of 35 Iranians studying at the U for her post-graduate schooling. She says visa restrictions are far more strict for Iranian students than other international students.
“Chinese students have the same visa but have multiple entries to and from their home country,” Emami said. Indian students have a five-year time frame to travel back and forth from home to the United States, she said.
Iranian visas do not permit travel out of the United States once they have entered for the first time, thus forcing the students to get new visas if they wish to leave.
“When we come here, we know we take the risk of spending five years here with no chance to go back to our country,” she said.
The visas in question, also known as F-1 Single Entry documents, are difficult to obtain and even more difficult to travel with.
“We need to make an appointment in order to get the visas,” Emami said. “There is no Iranian embassy in the United States, so we have to travel to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, or Cyprus in order to get one.” Doctoral students attend many conferences, some of which are out of the country, causing problems for research if a visa prohibits leaving. Read More...