Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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New security measures may hassle, delay foreign students

The University of Wisconsin’s more than 4,300 international students and staff could be held up from attending the first weeks of class due to new federal regulations.

The new guidelines state that every international student or staff member applying for a visa must participate in a face-to-face interview with a consular.

Although the interviews may only last a few minutes, the consulates have not hired any new staff to deal with more than 500,000 incoming students that must now have interviews with U.S. officials.

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These new rules, made in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, were implemented to strengthen security and help identify terrorists. According to a government report, at least 13 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers did not have face-to-face interviews with consulates.

Authorities interviewing students can question international students on their field of study.

“There are dozens of fields that would tip off a greater security check,” said Judy Brodd, UW’s director of International Student Services.

Brodd named physics, chemistry and engineering as majors potentially sensitive to national security.

“The more intensive security check could take anywhere between six weeks and seven months,” said Brodd.

Approximately 30 students have contacted her at International Student Services as of Aug. 22, and there may be more who are having difficulties, either in scheduling an appointment or at the port of entry.

“The biggest thing right now is getting the word out on campus,” Brodd said. She wants all international students to contact International Student Services if they are experiencing any problems. The federal government will not report to a university if a student is having problems obtaining a visa or is being denied.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities International Student and Scholar Services assistant director Alisa Eland said international students there are facing problems as well.

“I know …there are a lot of students having difficulties,” Eland said. “Before, it took a student a couple of days to get a visa; now it’s two weeks or a month.”

“We haven’t had many delays,” said Garrison Courtney, spokesman for Immigration Custom Enforcement. “Students should have scheduled appointments (with their consulates) as late as early summer.”

However, this would have been difficult for some because the rules did not take effect until Aug. 1. Universities were also not notified until this summer. UW tried to notify all international students affected (some countries, such as Canada, do not require visas), and setup a section students can access on the UW website.

In addition, the interviews must be within 60 days of the date of departure, and visas for students must be granted within 30 days of the departure date.

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