U.S. Speeds Visas for Foreign Students, Researchers

U.S. government officials say they have implemented changes to the visa process that will greatly shorten delays faced by foreign students and researchers traveling to the United States. Officials won't specify exactly what these changes are but they promise that the time needed for a visas mantis check—a security review aimed at preventing weapons proliferation, and the main bottleneck in the visa approval process—will go down from a current average of several months to 2 weeks. The changes, which went into effect last week, are a response to complaints from academic and scientific organizations over the past year.

"We are confident that the new streamlined process both dramatically reduces wait times and maintains the same level of security," Stephen Heifetz, deputy assistant secretary for policy development at the Department of Homeland Security, told ScienceInsider.