Important March Meeting Session!

Visa and Immigration Policies for 21st Century Science

Amy Flatten and Al Teich

We want to highlight this very important session to the members of FIP, and ask that they not only attend, but also help us advertise the session, as it will provide an unprecedented opportunity to hear first-hand from policy-makers of changes and/or improvements in visa processing for STEM fields. The speakers include a representative from the State Department’s Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, as well as the National Academy of Sciences and George Washington University.

These representatives will discuss the federal policies that govern visits to the United States by international scientists, the changes that have been implemented in recent years, and what can be done to make these policies consistent with the changing needs of U.S. science while preserving American security. Included in the discussions will be a series of innovative proposals stemming from a current study of the visa issue, some practical guidance from the National Academy’s International Visitors Office, and a presentation of visa policy changes that the federal government has implemented and plans to implement in the future.

FIP members recognize that physics, to an even greater degree than most other fields of science, is increasingly a global endeavor. Unfortunately, for colleagues from many countries wishing to come to the U.S. to study, attend meetings, or collaborate on research, immigration and visa policies often create hurdles that complicate lives and research plans and ultimately damage the reputation and the progress of U.S. science. How to address these problems will be the focus of this session.

Moderator: Amy Flatten, APS Director of International Affairs


George Washington University Visa Project – Streamlining Our Visa and Immigration Systems for Scientists and Engineers
Albert H. Teich, Research Professor of Science, Technology and International Affairs, George Washington University

Abstract: Many scientists believe that current U.S. visa and immigration systems are out of sync with today’s increasingly globalized science and technology. This talk will highlight specific proposals that would facilitate the recruitment of promising STEM students by U.S. universities and better enable international scientists and engineers to visit the United States for scientific conferences and research collaboration. Most of these proposals could be implemented without additional resources and without compromising U.S. security. The talk is based on the results of an 18 month study conducted at the George Washington University’s Center for International Science & Technology Policy.

National Academy of Sciences: Helping Scientists Navigate & Troubleshoot Visa Issues
Kathie Bailey, Director, Board on International Scientific Organizations, National Academy of Sciences

Abstract: The International Visitors Office (IVO) is a program operated by the Board on International Scientific Organizations of the National Academy of Sciences. The IVO serves as a resource on visa-related issues for scientists and students traveling to the United States for professional activities. The speaker will address visa issues for international scientists wishing to visit the United States, tips for trouble-shooting visa issues, and statistics on the current visa system.

Improvements to the Visa Application System: Serving the S&T Community, Promoting The American Economy and Keeping Us Safe
Mathew Gillen, Visa Office, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Abstract: The speaker will address policy changes and improvements in visa processing that help scientists and students to visit and study in the United States. The speaker will also discuss challenges involved with balancing the needs of U.S. science with national security interests.

NOTE: A panel discussion and Q&A with the audience will follow the speakers' presentations.

Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on International Physics Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.