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I'm from Palestine (or West Bank). Now I'm applying to Boston University (the deadline unfortunately is just a few hours from now), and my country is not listed in their online application.

What can I do? There is not even an "others" option listed. Could I safely choose the nearest country to mine (Jordan), where incidentally I had earned my B.A. degree from? Or is that stupid to do? I can't call Boston directly now because their offices are closed now.

Should I forget about Boston University? (I did that, sadly, with UCLA for the same reason). But I really care about this school and I already sent both my GREs to them.


EDIT: I have both Palestinian and Jordanian passports, in both of them my homeland is Palestine. I don't hold an Israeli passport or citizenship.


UPDATE:I submitted an application and followed it with an email explaining the issue. I'm still waiting for a response.

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17  
Pick something close, and send an email to the department to clarify. They, likely, will not care and be annoyed at whatever random bureaucrat didn't know what they were doing. – Jon Custer Jan 8 at 23:29
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For the future, a word of advice: next time, just take your best closest guess (so, Jordan). Never stop yourself from trying to do something important that you really want to because of some small bureacratic matter. Sometimes these things do stop/block us and there is nothing that can be done, but don't help them do it by giving up. Get as close to perfect/true as you can, send the application, and email the administrator first thing. In a case like this, I cannot imagine a school caring about this detail if it was promptly followed up by an explaining email. Good luck! – Chelonian Jan 9 at 5:33
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To add to what @Chelonian, I would suggest even emailing both UCLA (whose recent deadline you missed) and Boston University (if you missed today's deadline), explaining the problem you encountered and that it caused you to mistakenly not apply to the school since you believed your application wouldn't be considered, and ask that they allow you to apply late. Even include a link to this page that documents what happened. At my university (part of the same university system as UCLA) no one would care which country you were from as long as there was a realistic chance you could get a visa, and... – Dan Romik Jan 9 at 8:40
13  
Worth noting that this may not even be a deliberate move by the university - many web-form designers slap in a list of countries without ever reading it through or realizing that not all "lists of countries" actually make sense. (I've seen several places list 'Antarctica' as an option for nationality, for example...) – Andrew Jan 9 at 14:34
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I'll eat my hat if it was deliberate. – Noah Snyder Jan 9 at 14:36
up vote 55 down vote accepted

The United States does not recognize the statehood of Palestine (meaning technically that can't be your home country as far as that government is concerned), which makes it somewhat unsurprising that an American university might not have it listed as a country.

The Department and School likely doesn't have a particular stance on the issue - they probably didn't even design the application. Of course the ideal option would be to call them, but as this isn't an option at the moment, I'd put something close (Jordan - which as you mention you hold a passport for) and then call them to clarify as soon as you are able to do so.

Also, as this is clearly a recurring problem, you should seriously consider finding out if a given school's application has this problem well before it is due.

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4  
"that can't be your home country as far as that government is concerned" In fact, I have Palestinian friends holding Palestinian passports who study in the USA with Palestine as their homeland. But in their case, at least, it's neither UCLA nor Boston University. And they have F-1 visas on their Palestinian passports. – Mohammed Jan 9 at 1:39
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@Mohammed Like I said, it's likely not a particular stance a university is taking, as much as just an artifact of "Is this a country?" having a complex answer between the U.S. and Palestine. – Fomite Jan 9 at 5:15
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@Mohammed the USA can – and clearly do – let people with a Palestinian passport into their country. But doing so doesn't require that the USA diplomatically recognize the State of Palestine. – Moriarty Jan 9 at 5:27
7  
The US has a One China policy, but that doesn't stop anyone from listing Taiwan as their nationality on graduate school applications. In complicated scenarios there's just not a relationship between whether the state is recognized and whether you acknowledge that people are from it. I think the first paragraph of this answer is unnecessary and somewhat incorrect. – Noah Snyder Jan 9 at 14:09
    
@NoahSnyder The US also politically and militarily supports Taiwan. They're not really analogous. All the first para is is "why this might have happened". It's almost certainly just an error in a "list of countries" drop down form. – Fomite Jan 9 at 19:14

First, this is just an error on their part, and not an issue of politics or policy. Contact them and they'll fix it, and in the meantime pick something close, as said in comments.

That said, it might be best to just pick Jordan anyway. If you were to be accepted, which passport would you use to get a visa? As a practical matter, this might be affected by which consulate you go to, which is obviously this is a little tricky since there's no consulate in the West Bank. If the answer is your Jordanian passport at the consulate in Jordan, then I'd pick Jordan as nationality, even if you currently reside in the West Bank. They're asking this question because they want to know what your visa situation would be.

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2  
My Palestinian friends used their Palestinian passports at the consultant in Israel to get their US visas.. – Mohammed Jan 9 at 14:39
    
Ok, if that's your plan then you're right to list Palestine or West Bank and my first paragraph applies. It wasn't clear to me which was more practical in terms of checkpoint rules. – Noah Snyder Jan 9 at 14:45
    
Which US consulate you would go to is irrelevant. You're not required to go to the consulate or embassy in your country of nationality to get a visa. – David Richerby Jan 10 at 17:08
    
@DavidRicherby: You're right that I should have emphasized the passport not the consulate. But your comment isn't correct. At least some offices will only issue visas to nationals and residents of the country they're located in. I looked into this when I realized I would be closer to a Chinese consulate while traveling in Australia than I am in the US. Here's another example where you can only apply for a US visa at a consulate in Mexico if you are a US or Mexican resident or if your passport was lost/stolen. – Noah Snyder Jan 10 at 17:37
    
I really mentioned the consulate, because it seemed likely that it might be easier to use a Jordanian passport for business in Jordan. But I really don't know. I tried to edit the post for clarity, emphasizing the consulate. – Noah Snyder Jan 10 at 17:37

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