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D.O.S. Presentation

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United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Attracting International Students
and the Changing U.S. Visa Process
International Student and Exchange
Visitors and Advisors
Boston University, March 2005
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
TWO MISSIONS:
SECURE BORDERS / OPEN DOORS
Enhance national security while fostering legitimate travel to
the United States
PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL STUDY AND
SCHOLARSHIP IN AMERICA
Attract the international students/scholars essential for a
vibrant U.S. academic, scientific community
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
CHANGES SINCE 9/11/2001 IN VISA
POLICY AND PROCESSING
• Improved U.S. national security, but -
• Without increased resources, led to delays in student
visa processing
• Criticized for discouraging international students and
exchange visitors from studying in America
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
OTHER FACTORS THAN VISA POLICIES AT
WORK:
• International Education market more competitive
globally, competitor nations more aggressive
• U.S. universities reduce financial support to foreign
students
• Some parts of world see the U.S. as less welcoming
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
PROGRESS
•State Department has made significant progress in
processing student visas more rapidly
• Now, 97% of visa applications processed in one or
two days
• Recent Government Accounting Office report
recognizes improvements in processing Mantis SAOs
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
PROGRESS ON SENSITIVE
TECHNOLOGY CASES
• Only 2% of all applications need further review
• Many “VISA MANTIS” cases used to take weeks or
months
• Department improves MANTIS process
• One year ago: average MANTIS took 75 days
• Today: average MANTIS takes less than 14 days
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Avg. Time to Clear Mantis SAOs Falls Under 14 days
90.00
80.00
Average Time to Clear in Days
70.00
76.23
71.66
60.00
58.08
56.74
50.00
45.45
47.57
46.42
40.00
39.81
30.78
30.00
21.58
20.00
21.62
22.15
22.47
15.16 14.96
10.00
0.00
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13.12
days
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
EXTENSION OF VISAS MANTIS VALIDITY
• If applying to return to a previous study or work
program, another Visas Mantis may not be required
• Students (F visas) – Mantis valid up to length of
approved academic program, to maximum of 4 years
• Exchange Visitors (J visas) – Mantis valid up to
duration of approved activity, to maximum of 2 years
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
INVESTMENTS
• $1 million to automate interagency clearance process
• Every visa post converted to electronic system
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
INCREASED DATA SHARING
• Terrorist Screening Center provides systematic method
for maintaining terrorist watchlists
• Visa information moves automatically from consular
post to immigration inspectors, facilitates entry of
legitimate travelers by quickly resolving fraud concerns
• New systems like SEVIS help facilitate legitimate travel
– consular officers can put more faith in the I-20
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
CONSULAR TRAINING EXPANDED
Longer, more intensive training for consular
officers, with enhanced emphasis:
• Interviewing techniques
• Counter-terrorism
• Importance of international education
exchanges
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
BIOMETRICS
• Congressional mandate
• Fingerprint scans, digitized photos for visas
• Confirms visa holder’s identity – fewer difficulties
at immigration inspection in U.S.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
IMPROVEMENTS IN INFORMATION
www.travel.state.gov - More visa information,
continuously-updated visa appointment, wait times
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
PROMPT SCHEDULING OF VISA
INTERVIEWS
• Priority treatment for student, exchange visitor
applicants
• Most student applicants get appointments in days
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
INCREASED STAFFING
• State Department adds over 2,000 employees above
attrition in last three years
• More than 350 consular positions added since 9/2001
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
ENCOURAGING RESULTS
• Arrivals Jan-Nov 2004 up 11% over same period in 2003
• 14 successive months of growth in international visitors
• Thanks in part to SEVIS, student issuances are up
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
SECTION 214(b) INA
• Applies to all visitor visa applicants, including students
• Applicant must show he has an established residence
abroad to which he intends to return after a temporary stay
in the U.S.
• Great majority of student applicants are approved
• Student issuance rate slightly higher than pre-9/11
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
SECURE BORDERS/OPEN DOORS
• Protect the borders AND encourage legitimate visitors
• Build visitors’ confidence: America still a welcoming
nation – and still a safe destination
• Seek a solid partnership with business and academia
• Attract international students and scholars
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD:
America welcomes international
students and scholars!
QUESTIONS?
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