The Catholic University of America

National Security Considerations and Databases Affecting Visa Issuance, Travel, and Entry into the U.S.

National Security is of concern to every country. The United States maintains a series of databases the contents of which can influence the ability of an individual to enter and remain in the U.S. 

Petition Information Management System (PIMS)

The Petition Information Management System is a database used by consular officers to verify electronically employment based petitions approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Once CIS approves a petition, a copy of that approval is sent to the Department of State's Kentucky Consular Center to be entered into PIMS. When a foreign national applied for an employment-related visa at a U.S. consulate, the consular officer must use PIMS to verify the approval of that petition for the individual. Types of petitions covered by PIMS include H-1B, O-1, etc. It is important to know that the visa cannot be granted until the consular officer can verify the petition through PIMS, even if the visa applicant presents an original Form I-797 approval notice issued by CIS. To help minimize delays that could be caused by PIMS verification, it is suggested that the Receipt Number for the petition be provided as early as possible. Usingthe receipt number, the consular officer can begin the verification process.

 

Technology Alert List (TAL)

The technology alert list is a list of sixteen sensitive areas of research or work whose information and technologies are of concern to U.S. national security interests. The classifications are fairly broad and cover a wide variety of non-threatening areas of academic investigation. Individuals working in such fields can expect to undergo particular scrutiny by consular officers to determine whether their work is covered by the TAL. The most recent versions of the TAL are no longer available to the public. The last publicly available versions were released in 2000 with an update in 2002 via a cable to the U.S. consular posts.

Individuals who are coming to the U.S. to work in any fields closely related to those covered or whose work could be considered "dual use" should be prepared to discuss their work with the U.S. consular officers and may need to be prepared for security clearances from Washington, D.C. before visas can be issued for them.