Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Security Checks for Nonimmigrant Visa Processing
There are three kinds of security checks affecting nonimmigrant visa processing:
Each of these security checks may affect your visa application, so it is important to understand each of these processes. Providing the information needed by the consular official may help avoid lengthy delays in visa issuance.
The specific criteria for Visa Condor checks are classified. However, these checks are likely based on several factors:
According to U.S. Department of State reports, approximately 80% of Visas Condor clearances are completed within 30 days. If your Visas Condor check has been pending for over 90 days, you may call the VO public inquiries line at (202) 663-1225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Visas Mantis security check is used when potentially sensitive technologies are involved in your visit, work, studies or research in the United States. This check is used when you are involved in any of the 15 categories found on the Critical Fields List (CFL) of the State Department’s Technology Alert List (TAL).
The TAL includes a greatly expanded list of technologies with potential "dual-use" applications. The list identifies certain fields and technologies that may have military applications. The TAL list is very comprehensive, including almost every technology or skill involving chemistry, biochemistry, immunology, chemical engineering and pharmacology, for example. The wide scope of this list means that nearly every research scientist, physician, academic and engineer involved in any of these fields could be required to undergo a Visa Mantis security check. According to guidance by the U.S. Department of State, a Mantis clearance is generally not warranted if the technology falls within the public domain or if it involves information that would generally be taught in an academic course. Please read our Technology Alert List page for more information.
The State Department contends that 80% of Visas Mantis checks are completed within 30 days. If your Visas Mantis check has been pending for over 90 days, you may contact the SAO Problem Resolution Unit at email@example.com. Many foreign nationals and immigration attorneys have reported a substantial increase in the number of Mantis “hits” since 2003, particularly for nationals from Russia, China and Hong Kong.
Consular officials also search the National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”) database for information on criminal convictions before issuing a visa. Many people with common names receive a “false hit.” This occurs when someone with the same or similar name appears in the NCIC database with a criminal conviction. These false hits are occurring with increased regularity, and may take between 4 and 6 weeks to process. The U.S. government recently added 7 million names to this database, of which as many as half were Latino. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of false hits and delays for persons with common Latino names.
False hits are a major cause of delays in visa processing for visa applicants. False hits can occur in both the Condor or NCIC criminal database. People with common names such as John Smith, Juan Gonzalez, Xian Lee or Ali Mohammad are extremely likely to have a “hit” in one of these databases.
If you have a common name or an arrest or conviction, you may want to consider processing your visa as a Third Country National in Mexico. Some consulates in Mexico have implemented a pilot fingerprint program. This program allows posts to process clearances on "false" hits in the same day, while clearances for positive hits are often received in two days.