|VISA NEWS |
U.S.-Based Visa Renewals in Canada
The seven U.S. visa processing posts in Canada are extremely limited in their ability to accept U.S.-based visa renewal cases during the peak demand period of June, July, and August. This is due to increasingly heavy demand by Canada-based visa applicants. Consequently, individuals in this situation are being advised to seek appointment availability at other processing posts contingent to the U.S., or elsewhere in the world, such as in the applicant’s home country. For more details, please visit the website of the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.
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’ H-1B Specialty Occupations 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.
Visa Session at APS March Meeting
At the 2014 American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting, the Society’s Forum on International Physics hosted a session entitled, “Visa Policies for the 21st Century.” Session speakers included Matthew Gillen, from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs; Kathie Bailey, from The National Academies’ Board on International Scientific Organizations; and Al Teich, from George Washington University. Amy Flatten, Director of International Affairs at APS, said she was pleased with the State Department Visa Office’s presence at the session, noting that “not only did they speak to our scientists, I think more importantly they heard from our scientists.” For more information on this event, please consult the APS website.
ICSU Expresses Visa Concerns
In February 2014, the International Council for Science (ICSU) again expressed its concern that visa measures taken by some national authorities are becoming a significant obstacle to attendance at international scientific meetings. ICSU’s long-term commitment to scientific mobility is reflected in its Statue 5, which notes that science requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. The complete statement of concern can be found on the ICSU website.
|VISA QUESTIONNAIRE |
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 pending 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.
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|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.