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Board on International Scientific Organizations
Policy and Global Affairs
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street
Washington, DC 20001 USA
Tel: +1 202-334-2807
Fax: +1 202-334-2231

International Visitors Office
For visa-related issues, visit International Visitors Office

Contact the IVO

Tel:+1 202-334-2807
Fax:+1 202-334-2231

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The International Visitors Office (IVO)
 is a program operated by the Board on International Scientific Organizations. The IVO serves as a resource on visa-related issues for The National Academies, Academy members, as well as scientists and students traveling to the United States for professional activities.


Important: Department of State Technological Systems Issue
According to a release on the U.S. Department of State website on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, a technological issue caused significant delays in visa and passport processing for about two weeks in June.

Update: Monday, June 29, 2015: The biometric clearance system has been "rebuilt and is being tested," and all visa-issuing consulates and embassies are now functioning. Though the visa processing backlog is substantial, progress is being made and the Department of State expects the remaining backlog will be cleared by early next week. All embassies and consulates are also now conducting visa interviews. A complete list of the active posts can be found at the bottom of the updated page.
The International Visitors Office has now resumed reporting pending cases to the Department of State. If you have recently submitted a survey through the IVO website or intend to in the near future, please be aware of residual delays. We will update each applicant once your case has been reported.

U.S. and China Visa Reciprocity 
As of November 12, 2014, the United States and the People’s Republic of China will reciprocally increase the validity of short-term business and tourist visas and student and exchange visas issued to each other’s citizens. Chinese applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program. While Chinese visa applicants may apply for these extended validity lengths and multi-entry visas, the validity length and number of entries will be determined by the U.S. consulate. For more information, please consult the U.S. Department of State’s website

U.S. Visa Processing in Canada for Non-Canadian Residents
Non-Canadian residents, who are considering going to Canada to obtain a U.S. visa, should note the following message from the U.S. consulates in Canada: "With rare exceptions, visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Consular Section in their country of residence. If the applicant is not a resident of Canada, interviewing officers at the U.S. Consular Sections in Canada may not have experience in evaluating the circumstances in the applicant's country of residence. The applicant will, therefore, have greater difficulty establishing eligibility for a U.S. visa in Canada than would be experienced in the applicant's home country. A substantial percentage of visitors to Canada are denied visas under these circumstances. Consequently, visitors to Canada are strongly urged to apply for U.S. visas in their country of residence." For more details, please consult the website of the U.S. consulates in Canada.

2015 H1-B Caps Reached
On April 7, 2014, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory caps for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period. A computer-generated random selection process was completed to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 advanced-degree exemption cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

For more details on the H1-B program, please consult the USCIS’s website.

Chile Joins Visa Waiver Program
As of March 31, 2014, Chileans meeting the criteria of the Visa Waiver Program are now eligible to travel to the United States for business or tourism, for up to 90 days, without a visa. The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 38 participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet all program requirements. Travelers must be eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. For more details, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program website.


The IVO Questionnaire collects information on visa-related issues from the scientific community. The data collected through the questionnaire will be used to track trends and report urgent visa cases to the U.S. Department of State.

You are eligible to complete the questionnaire if:

  • You are a student, scholar, or professional in the sciences.

  • You have applied for a non-B1 visa to come to the United States for science-related activities and your application has been undergoing administrative processing for 60 days or longer. OR You have applied for a B1 visa to come to the United States for science-related activities and your application is has been pending for 30 days or longer and 14 days prior to the U.S. event’s start date.

Please note that individuals who have applied for dependent visas (such as F2 and J2) should not complete the questionnaire.

*Note: Based on our experience, the IVO strongly recommends that applicants contact their consulate or embassy to begin the visa process as early as possible: at least four months prior to the event start date.


Are you organizing a meeting in the
United States?

Statement on Visa Delays

The presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine joined other scientific and educational organizations in issuing a statement urging federal agencies to streamline visa processing for scholars and scientists visiting the United States. Read the statement issued June 10, 2009.

The 2009 statement built upon earlier statements in 2004 and 2005. The 2009 document continues to be the principle statement of the higher education and scientific community on visa policy.




  Visa Information   

Questionnaire and Statistics

Meeting Organizer Resources
Travel to the United States
U.S. Visa Policy Resources

Contact the International Visitors Office
Tel:+1 202-334-2807
Fax:+1 202-334-2231


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