60 Saudi students lose US visas in 3 months

Saudi authorities warn against storing banned pictures, videos on mobiles, laptops

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Graduating students listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speak at a commencement ceremony. For illustrative purposes only

Manama: US immigration authorities have cancelled the education visas of 60 Saudi students in the last three months, the Saudi cultural attaché has said.

Mohammad Al Eisa attributed the cancellation to violations of the US immigration laws that included storing immoral or violent pictures or clips on mobile phones or laptops.

“Violations also included transferring from a university to another without informing them, failing to obtain good grades and traffic tickets,” he said, Saudi daily Al Hayat reported.

Some of the students lost their visas while they were on holidays in Saudi Arabia while others were informed about the cancellations when they arrived in the US or when they were transiting through a European airport on their way to the US.

Al Eisa said that around 120,000 Saudis were studying on scholarships in the US.


“The cancellation of 60 visas out of this number is quite normal and happens everywhere,” he said.

All Saudis students had been informed by the cultural mission in the US about the new rules regarding banned material on mobiles and laptops, he added.

"We do know that such material is banned in all decent homes and workplaces since it is unacceptable by any standard," he said.

The students have been warned not to store any unethical, religious, violent, conflict-related pictures or videos on their mobiles.

The Saudi interior ministry also issued warnings to all Saudis flying to the US to fully comply with the rules and regulations as part of their safety.

“The Ministry of Interior has received notes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the cancellation of visas of Saudi students at US airports, denying them entry into the country,” Mohammad Al Marool, the head of public relations, was quoted as saying by the London-based daily.

“Contacts showed that most of the cases were related to the existence of violent or unethical material on their mobile phones or laptops.”


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