TABLE 2-1 Legislation Affecting Visas and Study Plans


Executive Orders, Advisories, and Directives


1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)

Primary body of law governing immigration and visa operations

1954 International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

Technology Alert List (TAL)

  • Stems proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery systems

Deemed Export Controls

  • Controls transfer of sensitive information to foreign nationals studying at US institutions

1979 Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

Controls export of commodities of commercial interest

1992 Chinese Student Protection Act

Provided eligibility for US permanent residency to Chinese students and scholars studying in the United States in 1989, at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

1994 Foreign Relations Security Act

Holds consular officials liable if terrorists obtain a visa

1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

Defines criminal penalties for consular misconduct; created Coordinated Interagency Partnerships Regulating International Students (CIPRIS), the predecessor to SEVIS

VISAS Mantis Implemented in 1998 under authority of INA§212(a)(3)(A)(i)(II) governing illegal technology transfer

Consolidation of several Cold War-era nationality-based screening programs, including CHINEX for PRC nationals and SPLEX for USSR and Eastern Europe nationals; uses TAL to screen visa applicants to guard against the export of sensitive goods, technology, and information.

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