By James Hancock
A 15-year-old Melbourne boy with dual Australian and Iranian citizenship faces missing out on an upcoming school trip to the United States because of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban.
Pouya Ghadirian, from Hawthorn East, visited the US Consulate General on Monday for an interview to get a tourist visa but his application was rejected because of the “presidential proclamation”.
The Year 11 student was planning to travel to the US in late March for a 10-day school trip with about 60 others from Melbourne High School.
“I was gutted and [consular officials] knew that and I think they felt sorry for me but it was out of their hands,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
Pouya’s parents have lived in Australia for almost 20 years and he was born in Melbourne.
But having dual Australian and Iranian citizenship meant he was ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program, which allows other Australian citizens to stay in the US for 90 days without obtaining a visa.
Under the previous US administration, dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria were removed from the program due to concerns about terrorism, forcing them to apply for a visa and sit an interview.
Pouya said consular staff told him he was one of the first Australians to have their visa rejected since Mr Trump’s temporary ban affecting people from seven majority-Muslim nations.
“Two or three consular officials came and spoke to me and they said that they have terrible news,” he said.
“They had received an order a couple of hours before the interview that the executive order was put into place and any person who had a dual citizenship with any of those seven countries would be denied a visa.”
He said the rejection was devastating as he signed up for the $7,000 trip about six months ago.
Pouya remains hopeful the Australian Government can successfully intervene and he will be able to join his school friends on the trip.
“I hope that the Government does help and do what it can to I guess uphold my rights as an Australian citizen.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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