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Scientists from abroad working for the US government or supported by federal grants can now travel overseas knowing they can get back to work without facing a long delay.

The US Department of State announced last month that federal workers and grantees would no longer have to undergo lengthy security reviews before they obtain a reentry visa – a requirement ever since the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001.

It says it made the change following complaints by a number of national laboratories over the delays plaguing their foreign employees. For the country’s foreign scientific community, the exemption is a relief, particularly after a series of visa restrictions that have tightened US borders. But university and research associations say that the exemption needs to cover scholars funded by nonfederal sources.

Link to news story in Science

Reference: Science 301, 5929 (2003)