Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 05021460 (posted Feb. 14, 2005)"
Office of the Spokesman
February 11, 2005
Extension of Validity for Science Related Interagency Visa Clearances
Visa applications for persons to study or work in certain sensitive scientific
and technical fields are subject to an interagency clearance in Washington, DC,
called Visas Mantis. Since 1998, the Visas Mantis clearance process has been
used to screen against the illegal transfer of technology. Once the clearance
process is complete and a visa is issued, the individual may apply for
admission at a U.S. port of entry. Visas Mantis clearance and visa validity are
different than the period of admission determined by a Department of Homeland
Security officer at the port of entry.
The U.S. Department of State, in consultation with the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, has extended the validity of Visas Mantis clearances for the
F (student), J (exchange visitors), H (temporary workers), L (intracompany
transferees) and B (tourist and business) categories of visas. This means that
if the original visa has expired and a new visa application is filed to return
to the previous study or work program in the United States, another Visas
Mantis clearance may not be required. Consular officers have the discretion, if
warranted, to request a Visas Mantis clearance during any visa adjudication.
International students (F visas) who have received a Visas Mantis clearance and
been issued a visa will benefit from having that clearance be valid for up to
the length of the approved academic program, to a maximum of four years. If a
student changes academic programs, the clearance will no longer be valid and a
Visas Mantis review would be required should the applicant reapply for a new
Temporary workers (H visas), exchange visitors (J visas) and intracompany
transferees (L visas) can receive a Visas Mantis clearance valid for the
duration of their approved activity to a maximum of two years. If the nature of
the visa holder's activity in the United States changes, the clearance will
cease to be valid and a new Visas Mantis review would be required should the
applicant reapply for a new visa.
Business visitors (B-1 visas) and visitors for pleasure (B-2 visas) can receive
a Visas Mantis clearance valid for one year, provided that the original purpose
for travel, as stated in the visa application, has not changed on subsequent
In addition to the extension of validity for Visas Mantis clearances, the
Department of State has made several other improvements in the Visas Mantis
process in the past year. By increasing staffing, improving systems and working
with our interagency partners, the Department has been able to decrease the
average time to obtain Visas Mantis clearance to less than 14 days.
Released on February 11, 2005