04 June 2009

American visa application process for researchers to be streamlined

After lobbying from key educational and scientific organisations, the American visa application process for foreign graduates and post-doctoral researchers will be made more efficient, says the U.S. State Department.

An official from the Department David Donahue said that the backlog of American visa application in the consular services will be a priority, after having months of complaints to speed up the American visa application process.

"I am not sure when we will get all of them cleared up," he said, but added that extra staff were to be on-hand and procedures would be streamlined to get the applications moving through faster.

According to the New York Times, because the American visa applications were taking too long to be processed many researchers were being deterred from applying to the United States, leaving important research opportunities unable to be met. 

Delays in the American visa application process have also caused issues for American universities that have relied upon foreign science and engineering graduates and doctors to fuel scientific and technical research projects.  Even scientific organisations have been deterred from holding meetings in the U.S. because of the American visa delays.

John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said it is important that America does not drive away valuable research opportunities because of red-tape issues.

"It is more important than ever that we remove unnecessary impediments to collaborative innovation and technical advancement," Dr Holdren said.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa application and immigration services.

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