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United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs International Student and Exchange Visitors and Advisors Boston University, March 2005 Attracting.

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Presentation on theme: "United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs International Student and Exchange Visitors and Advisors Boston University, March 2005 Attracting."— Presentation transcript:

1 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs International Student and Exchange Visitors and Advisors Boston University, March 2005 Attracting International Students and the Changing U.S. Visa Process

2 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs SECURE BORDERS / OPEN DOORS SECURE BORDERS / OPEN DOORS Enhance national security while fostering legitimate travel to the United States PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL STUDY AND SCHOLARSHIP IN AMERICA PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL STUDY AND SCHOLARSHIP IN AMERICA Attract the international students/scholars essential for a vibrant U.S. academic, scientific community TWO MISSIONS:

3 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 - Improved U.S. national security, but - Without increased resources, led to delays in student visa processing Without increased resources, led to delays in student visa processing Criticized for discouraging international students and exchange visitors from studying in America Criticized for discouraging international students and exchange visitors from studying in America

4 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 International Education market more competitive globally, competitor nations more aggressive U.S. universities reduce financial support to foreign students U.S. universities reduce financial support to foreign students Some parts of world see the U.S. as less welcoming Some parts of world see the U.S. as less welcoming

5 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs PROGRESS State Department has made significant progress in processing student visas more rapidlyState Department has made significant progress in processing student visas more rapidly Now, 97% of visa applications processed in one or two days Now, 97% of visa applications processed in one or two days Recent Government Accounting Office report recognizes improvements in processing Mantis SAOs Recent Government Accounting Office report recognizes improvements in processing Mantis SAOs

6 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs PROGRESS ON SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGY CASES Only 2% of all applications need further review Only 2% of all applications need further review Many “VISA MANTIS” cases used to take weeks or months Many “VISA MANTIS” cases used to take weeks or months Department improves MANTIS process Department improves MANTIS process One year ago: average MANTIS took 75 days One year ago: average MANTIS took 75 days Today: average MANTIS takes less than 14 days Today: average MANTIS takes less than 14 days

7 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Avg. Time to Clear Mantis SAOs Falls Under 14 days days

8 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 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 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 Exchange Visitors (J visas) – Mantis valid up to duration of approved activity, to maximum of 2 years

9 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs INVESTMENTS $1 million to automate interagency clearance process $1 million to automate interagency clearance process Every visa post converted to electronic system Every visa post converted to electronic system

10 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs INCREASED DATA SHARING Terrorist Screening Center provides systematic method for maintaining terrorist watchlists 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 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 New systems like SEVIS help facilitate legitimate travel – consular officers can put more faith in the I-20

11 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs CONSULAR TRAINING EXPANDED Longer, more intensive training for consular officers, with enhanced emphasis: Interviewing techniques Interviewing techniques Counter-terrorism Counter-terrorism Importance of international education exchanges Importance of international education exchanges

12 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs BIOMETRICS Congressional mandate Congressional mandate Fingerprint scans, digitized photos for visas Fingerprint scans, digitized photos for visas Confirms visa holder’s identity – fewer difficulties at immigration inspection in U.S. Confirms visa holder’s identity – fewer difficulties at immigration inspection in U.S.

13 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs IMPROVEMENTS IN INFORMATION - More visa information, continuously-updated visa appointment, wait times

14 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs PROMPT SCHEDULING OF VISA INTERVIEWS Priority treatment for student, exchange visitor applicants Priority treatment for student, exchange visitor applicants Most student applicants get appointments in days Most student applicants get appointments in days

15 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs INCREASED STAFFING State Department adds over 2,000 employees above attrition in last three years State Department adds over 2,000 employees above attrition in last three years More than 350 consular positions added since 9/2001 More than 350 consular positions added since 9/2001

16 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs ENCOURAGING RESULTS Arrivals Jan-Nov 2004 up 11% over same period in 2003 Arrivals Jan-Nov 2004 up 11% over same period in successive months of growth in international visitors 14 successive months of growth in international visitors Thanks in part to SEVIS, student issuances are up Thanks in part to SEVIS, student issuances are up

17 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs SECTION 214(b) INA Applies to all visitor visa applicants, including students 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. 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 Great majority of student applicants are approved Student issuance rate slightly higher than pre-9/11 Student issuance rate slightly higher than pre-9/11

18 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs SECURE BORDERS/OPEN DOORS Protect the borders AND encourage legitimate visitors Protect the borders AND encourage legitimate visitors Build visitors’ confidence: America still a welcoming nation – and still a safe destination Build visitors’ confidence: America still a welcoming nation – and still a safe destination Seek a solid partnership with business and academia Seek a solid partnership with business and academia Attract international students and scholars Attract international students and scholars

19 United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs QUESTIONS? PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD: America welcomes international students and scholars!


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