Press Release

2005 Visa Statement - 40 Academic Groups Urge Changes to Student Visa Policy

IIE joined with a group of 40 leading academic, science and engineering associations to urge the US government to
accelerate its effort to reform the visa process for international students, scholars and researchers.

Click here to read the Community Visa Statement Press Release.

Click here to read the Community Recommendations on U.S. Visa Policies.


Below is an article from today's Chronicle of Higher Education:

Chronicle of Higher Education

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Academic Groups Call on Federal Government to Ease the Path for Foreign Students and Scholars



A large group of academic associations is urging the federal government to take more action to welcome
international students, researchers, and scholars to the United States by overhauling the visa process and taking
other steps to remove hurdles to foreigners.

The group, led by the Association of American Universities and the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, released six recommendations on Wednesday that build on suggestions a similar group offered last year
(The Chronicle, May 21, 2004).

Some progress has been made in the past year, the associations said on Wednesday, citing in particular the
extension of Visas Mantis security clearances for foreign students and scholars studying sensitive topics; the
broader ability of visa applicants to check on the status of their applications; the establishment of a
more-efficient fee-collection system for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which tracks the
status of foreign students and scholars; and the provision of updated training to staff members at American
consulates abroad.

But more must be done, the groups said.

One key recommendation calls for making Visas Mantis clearances for foreign scholars to be valid for the duration
of an appointment in the United States. Earlier this year, the Visas Mantis clearance for students was extended
from only one year to up to four years, and access for scholars was raised to two years from one (The Chronicle,
February 14).

Two other recommendations are the same as suggestions offered last year. One recommends that visa holders be able
at least to begin the renewal process while they are in the United States, instead of having to reapply in their
home country or another country to which they have traveled.

The other encourages the federal government to establish reciprocity agreements with other countries to extend
the time that visas are valid. The groups note that such arrangements are in the works with China, but need to be
negotiated elsewhere as well.

The three new recommendations for this year are:

There should be less focus on making students prove that they will have residency and employment when they return
to their home countries and more emphasis on their ability to pay for and complete an education in the United

Scientists and engineers working on unclassified, fundamental research should not need to receive a special
license to use basic scientific equipment. This proposal is being considered by the U.S. Department of Commerce
(The Chronicle, May 20).

The government should develop a strategy to encourage the exchange of ideas across borders and to urge educators,
students, and scientists to come to the United States.

The text of this year's recommendations can be found on the Association of American Universities' Web site
(requires Adobe Reader, available free).


Media Contact

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380

Shana Childs
Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5360

IIE Experts

IIE experts on international education are available for interviews or speaking engagements.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman
President and CEO

Peggy Blumenthal 
Senior Counselor to the President