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Award-winning high-schooler denied US visa for science fair

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A Vietnamese pupil may miss the opportunity to participate in an international science fair in the US after his visa application was rejected twice.

   

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Mai Nhat Anh and Phung Van Long won national award with distill salt water project

The project to distil salt water by high school pupils, Mai Nhat Anh and Phung Van Long, under the guidance of teacher Mai Nhat Quyen, won first prize at a national science and technology competition in March. It was chosen by the Ministry of Education and Training to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) on May 13 in the US.

However, after two visa interviews, only Phung Van Long and two observers from Nghe An Province were approved. If Anh can`t attend the fair then their project may be disqualified. It was registered with two inventors and the rules state that all the contributors must be present.

Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the Secondary Education Department, said after selecting eight projects to participate in the fair, the Ministry of Education and Training had sent an official letter to the US Embassy, asking to help with the visa process.

"Currently, Mai Nhat Anh is the only rejected contestant, the other rejected members are teachers," Thanh said.

Thanh speculated that the US were implying that the contestants might try to illegally stay in the US. Thanh said he would ask the fair`s organisers to help with the case.

The US embassy have not commented.

Mai Nhat Anh said, "I was asked simple questions like, why are you wanting to go to the US, what your schedule is and who will pay for the trip. The interviews lasted for about a minute. I`m confused and hope that my visa will be approved to attend the fair."

The team is supposed to fly to the US on May 11 to attend the fair on May 13.

Last year, another high school pupil, Pham Huy from Quang Tri Province, was also rejected after being chosen as the Vietnam representative to an international science fair in the US. After getting help from the authorities, he was able to attend the fair and won third prize.

Source: VietNamNet

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