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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

U.S. Department
of State

Media Note (Revised)
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 14, 2003


Department of State Launches Visa Education Campaign

The U.S. Department of State today unveiled a new effort to better communicate changes to U.S. visa procedures. The initiative, titled "Secure Borders. Open Doors." will initially utilize a new web site (www.UnitedStatesVisas.gov) and a customizable brochure. Additional materials, to be developed in consultation with U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, will be produced and distributed as needed.

Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty asserts, "we want to ensure that the visa application process is straightforward for people who want to come to the U.S. to study, visit and conduct business."

Heightened concerns about security in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks and a subsequent U.S. government reorganization to address homeland security have led to changes in the visa policies.

In general, most visitors to the United States have to obtain a visa. While much of the process remains the same, applicants should allow extra time for the visa clearance process when planning travel to the United States.

"Secure Borders. Open Doors." will help streamline the visa process for applicants at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. The initiative’s materials, which will be translated into local languages, include step-by-step instructions on applying for a visa with special emphasis on the three main categories of visitors: business, education and tourist. The materials also include a new web portal containing background, step-by-step instructions on applying for visas, and links to Department of State web pages with updates on policy and procedural changes.

The "Secure Borders. Open Doors." web site is located at www.UnitedStatesVisas.gov.
[End]

Released on March 14, 2003



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