On January 17, 2006, Secretaries Rice and Chertoff of the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security gave a public presentation of their joint strategy to achieve "Secure Borders and Open Doors."

The strategy has three main pillars:

  • Use new information technology to make it as easy as possible for foreign visitors to travel to the United States and to do so securely and safely.
  • Create travel documents that can protect personal identity and expedite secure travel.
  • Conduct smarter screening of travelers, both at consulates abroad and at ports of entry into the United States.

Speaking of international students, Secretary Rice stated:

“We are also renewing America's welcome to students and professors and researchers. At all of our 210 visa processing posts, getting visas into the hands of foreign students is becoming a top priority. In addition, we are actively encouraging students, researchers and scientists to pursue their studies in the United States. In the coming months, our two departments will work together to expand the length of time that foreign students can arrive and live and learn in America. We will now issue student visas up to 120 days before classes begin, as compared to 90 days under current regulations. And we will allow students to enter the country 45 days in advance of their studies, as compared to 30 days at present.”

The library resource includes a transcript of Rice and Chertoff's statements from the event, along with a copy of their "joint vision" statement.


  • Extending the visa issuance window from 90 days to 120 days did not require the regulations to be amended, and was implemented by DOS in a February 9, 2006 cable.
  • Changing the pre-program entry window from 30 days to 45 days, however, requires a regulatory change, and is not yet effective. The pre-program entry period is still 30 days, until USCIS amends its regulations. AMDOC #: 200601006