FIGURE 2-5 Visas Mantis Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) Workload, FY 2004

SOURCE: Data presented to committee on October 12, 2004, by Janice Jacobs, deputy assistant secretary of visa affairs, US Department of State.

addition initially overloaded the SAO interagency process and slowed Mantis clearances, drawing criticism and calls for improvement.22 The problem of extended waiting times for clearance of nonimmigrant visas flagged by Mantis has for the most part been addressed successfully. 23 In the last year, the proportion of Visas Mantis visitors cleared within 30 days has risen substantially (see Figure 2-5). In October 2003, over 40 percent took 45 days or more to clear; today, virtually none take that long, and fewer than 15 percent take more than 30 days.


Changes in visa policies are only one factor that can affect the mobility of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Other immigration policies and conditions related to S&E flows are reciprocity agreements and deemed-exports agreements.


Government Accountability Office. 2004. Border Security: Improvements Needed to Reduce Time Taken to Adjudicate Visas for Science Students and Scholars (GAO-04-371). Washington, DC: GAO. GAO showed that in April-June 2003, applicants waited an average of 67 days for completion of security checks associated with visa applications.


Testimony provided to committee by Janice Jacobs, deputy assistant secretary of visa affairs, US Department of State, October 12, 2004; Government Accountability Office. 2005. Border Security: Streamlined Visas Mantis Program has lowered burden on science students and scholars, but further refinements needed (GAO-05-198). Washington, DC: GAO.

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