I speak for myself: Applying for a visa at the American Embassy in Lebanon was one of the most enjoyable experiences for me in comparison to other countries I have visited so far.
But it seems that it’s not the case for everyone. Recently, I have heard so many stories about students from all levels going through what they described as a nightmare. Too many in fact; and the worst part is that most of them have almost the same pattern.
- Student applies to a university in the USA.
- The university studies file before accepting student and supplies him/her with required documentation.
- Student goes to the Embassy of the USA in Lebanon in order to apply for a visa.
- The Embassy of the USA grants student the required visa.
- Student goes to the USA to study.
This is how it usually goes. Imagine that you went for a couple of years to get a Master’s degree or have been working hard and investing energy, time and money for a Ph.D. degree. As Lebanese student, you visit Lebanon for vacations to see your family and when you want to go back to continue your studies, the unthinkable happens:
A certain point of your trip, during transit or upon arrival to the United States, you get informed that your visa is “illegal”and got revoked. Above all this, you have to be deported at once with no further explanation nor clarification.
Some have been sent back to Lebanon on the first flight there was but others had to wait… get interrogated, searched, kept under surveillance for several hours; even days without any legal support and banned.
Those students all had big dreams, Ph.D. students were working on world class research and out of a sudden, everything stops. I was told from those who tried to get in contact with the American Embassy in Lebanon or the Lebanese Embassy in the United States that their answers concerning the matter is evasive and unclear.
I do understand security concerns but alarmingly most of the students who got their visa revoked are good people with proven track record, solid background and high grades. I’m talking about people who only go to study without any further plans.
I’m just surprised at the fact that students are not being told why their visa got revoked and what options they could pursue. A quick research online showed that they could go through a procedure called “visa reinstatement” but none of them were informed and though that the revocation was final. They deserve a chance to prove that they deserve to pursue their studies, don’t they?
I find this weird and disturbing. Looking at it, it seems that even if a student was granted a visa to study in the U.S.A. this does not guarantee that he/she will get the chance to finish his/her degree for unexplained reasons? This does not sound like something the authorities in the U.S.A. would do.
Any of you also heard about this issue?