By PAAIA Staff
May 20, 2011, Washington, D.C. – PAAIA commends the Obama Administration’s decision today to lift the single-entry visa policy for Iranian students. The new policy will allow Iranian students the opportunity to return home for family visits or travel abroad for academic conferences without having to renew their visa every time they leave the United States.
Under the old visa policy, Iranian students were eligible for visas that were valid for three months and allowed single-entry into the United States. As of today, they are eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. “I’ve heard from many Iranian students and Iranian Americans that you wanted this change,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “So I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns. We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran’s future. We want to be able to share with you what we think is great about America.”
Over the past two years, a number of student and civic organizations have brought attention to the issue of single-entry visas for Iranian students. The Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE), the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), Multiple Entry Visa for Iranian Students (MEVIS (MEVISA), A), and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), were amongst the many groups and individuals who called on the Obama Administration and members of Congress to reform the single entry policy for Iranian students.
PAAIA recognizes the tremendous value of attracting international students and scholars to the United States and the need for the government to pursue a corresponding strategy. It is of particular importance that students from Iran have a positive experience in America. Towards this end, PAAIA reached out to State Department officials and policy makers to inquire further about this matter and to ensure that any related deliberations were informed by the experiences of the students as broadly as possible.
PAAIA looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of State on discussing the impact of the new policy towards Iranian students with the Iranian American community. Meanwhile, PAAIA, applauds the efforts of all in the community who have contributed to bring about this wise policy change.