US extends validity of visas in certain categories
In a significant easing of visa rigours, the US has extended the validity of visa clearances for certain key categories including students, exchange visitors, temporary workers, intra-company transferees, and tourist and business travellers.
For visa holders in these categories, a new Visas Mantis clearance will not be needed when the original visa expires and a new application is filed to return to the previous study or work programme in the US.
The State Department announcement covers Visas Mantis clearances for the following categories: F (student), J (exchange visitors) , H (temporary workers) (L) intra-company transferees and B (tourist and business travellers).
The announcement is being viewed as a major relaxation in the present tough visa regime governing science-related studies and work in the US. It comes on the heels of criticism from academics and business leaders that the US was out to lose its position as the premier destination for top international students.
For international students with F visas, the clearance will now be valid for the entire length of the approved academic programme, subject to a maximum of four years. Students changing their academic programme will, however, need a new Visa Mantis clearance.
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