I was an F1-student in the US but because of some issues, my visa was revoked and I have to leave in my 3rd year of my PhD (at a top 5 school). I have done good work so far and my advisor is quite pleased with me. We tried all ways of getting the visa issue fixed but it seems impossible. My entry to the US seems impossible for at least another 10 years. My advisor said he could help me out in any way he could and I do want to finish.

There are no facilities in my home country so that's ruled out. I was considering transferring to some University in Canada with relevant interests so my advisor could fly in every few months to co-advise [he agreed to such a plan]. Thinking more generally though, at this point, what are my options?

  • 5
    Long shot, but see if your professor (if US citizen) or department chairperson could try talking to their local US representative or senator and ask if there's anything they can do to help. Perhaps "national interest" could be invoked, depending on your field!
    – mkennedy
    Apr 16, 2015 at 18:10
  • I second @mkennedy comment. The same issue happened to a guy I know doing his PhD. He went to talk to his riding federal deputy (Canada) and three days later he had his visa... It is worth giving it a shot!
    – Zenon
    Apr 17, 2015 at 0:41
  • @Zenon: Your friend had a 10 year ban, and 3 days later was given a visa? I find that hard to believe, at least if this were the US. 10 year bans are typically assessed for alleged visa fraud or for overstaying your visit. That's serious stuff. To talk from my personal experience, a similar case led to a the divorce of 2 friends. The bar to get a visa/greencard for "exceptional" reasons is incredibly high anyway. As a foreigner, the person banned was on a full scholarship for a Masters at Columbia, which is rare. Apr 17, 2015 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


If your adviser is supportive enough to agree to fly out just to meet you - that's extraordinary -, I would steer any future decision through them, and not only to make sure that future fly-outs are to places they can, and want to reasonably visit.

A professor taking you in, say, in Canada needs to be aware that your candidacy is essentially token. The question of funding arises, as does a possible limit they have or impose on themselves on their number of PhD students, as well as tricky issues upon graduating, and supporting you as their student on the job market. Ideally, you need to find someone who could be interested in truly co-advising, not only serving as a placeholder.

All things considered, someone willing to do this would likely be a close friend or collaborator of your current adviser, in an acceptable location for them. So before anything else, I'd discuss in great detail with your current adviser who might come to their mind, while you are still in the US. Hopefully, they can initiate contact for you and do some or all of the necessary explaining, which you chip in to, and follow up on in a promising situation.

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