The US State Department promises to accelerate the visa process for foreign graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, a promise welcomed by Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in its July Editorial (16, 677; 2009). The Editorial decries the occasions when researchers have been severely delayed in trying to obtain or renew visas, leaving some stranded and others unable to travel to the United States for work or to attend scientific meetings.
The US State Department is now streamlining its procedures, aiming (eventually) to deal with routine requests within 2 weeks, an improvement on the current reported 4 months’ average delay for applicants from China, for example. The Editorial concludes: “We must continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest from all over the world if we are going to retain America’s global competitiveness, and reducing visa-processing delays is definitely a step in the right direction. If we don’t, America’s loss will be the rest of the world’s gain.”