The Technology Alert List is provided as guidance for consular officers adjudicating visa cases potentially falling within the purview of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(i)(II). This section of the INA renders ineligible any alien who a consular officer knows or has reasonable ground to believe is seeking entry to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity to violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the United States of goods, technology, or sensitive information. Consular officers should be particularly alert to the possible applicability of this ground of ineligibility to aliens who are coming to engage in an activity involving one of the scientific or technical fields on the Technology Alert List. Such activity includes graduate-level studies, teaching, conducting research, participating in exchange programs, receiving training or employment, or engaging in commercial transactions.
In response to concern over the illegal transfer of controlled technology, a process evolved during the Cold War to screen suspect visa cases. Initially, the screening process was accomplished using post-check name-check procedures known as SPLEX, CHINEX and VIETEX and focused on nationalities from finite geographic areas (the former Warsaw pact, China and Vietnam). In January 1998, the VISAS MANTIS program was developed due to law enforcement/intelligence community concern that U.S.-produced goods and information are vulnerable to theft on a worldwide basis. Cases that posts formerly may have flagged for review using a SPLEX, CHINEX or VIETEX indicator, must now be flagged using the VISAS MANTIS indicator, a pre-check name-check procedure designed for worldwide application. The primary program security objectives are:
- To assist in the stemming of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery systems;
- To assist in the restraint of the development of destabilizing conventional military capabilities in certain regions of the world;
- To assist in the prevention of the transfer of arms and sensitive dual-use items to terrorist states; and
- To assist in the maintenance of U.S. advantages in certain militarily critical technologies.
Issuing posts must use the VISAS MANTIS (preceded by DONKEY or EAGLE) procedure to process all visa cases that fall under the purview of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(i)(II). Post may use the VISAS EAGLE MANTIS procedure for visa applicants participating in U.S. Government-sponsored programs, for nationals of the People's Republic of China applying for visas in China, and for nationals of Russia applying for visas in Russia. The VISAS EAGLE MANTIS procedure allows visa-issuing posts to process a case to conclusion after a ten-working-day suspense period, provided the post has not been notified by the Department to suspend the processing of the case.
Role of the Technology Alert List (TAL)
Consular officers should bear in mind that while the TAL is a valuable tool for recognizing possible illegal technology transfer, it is not an exclusive mechanism for identifying such cases. There will be occasions where the consular officer has reason to believe that an applicant may fall within the purview of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(i)(II) despite his or her having no direct connection with a scientific or technical field included on the TAL. Consular officers must submit such cases for security advisory opinions using the "VISAS DONKEY MANTIS" code indicator [see 9 FAM 40.31 N3].
Revision of Technology Alert List
The Department has recommended that the relevant U.S. Government agencies provide a revised/updated Technology Alert List. The Department will transmit an updated list as soon as one becomes available. The sixteen categories on the current TAL are stated below.
Technology Alert List (TAL)
- Advanced ceramics: Technologies related to the production of tanks, military vehicles, and weapons systems.
- Advanced computer/microelectronic technology: Technologies associated with superconductivity supercomputing, microcomputer compensated crystal oscillators.
- Aircraft and missile propulsion and vehicular systems: Technologies associated with liquid and solid-rocket propulsion systems, missile propulsion, rocket staging/separation mechanisms, aerospace thermal and high-performance structures.
- Chemical and biotechnology engineering: Technologies associated with the development or production of biological and toxin agents, pathogenics, biological weapons research.
- Conventional munitions: Technologies associated with warhead and large caliber projectiles, fusing and arming systems.
- High-performance metals and alloys: Technologies associated with military applications.
- Information security: Technologies associated with cryptographic systems to ensure secrecy of communications.
- Lasers and directed energy systems: Technologies associated with laser-guided bombs, ranging devices, countering missiles.
- Marine technology: Technology associated with submarines and deep submersible vessels, marine propulsion systems designed for undersea use and navigation, radar, acoustic/nonacoustic detection.
- Materials technology: Technologies related to the production of composite materials for structural functions in aircraft, spacecraft, undersea vehicles and missiles.
- Missile/missile technology: Technologies associated with air vehicles and unmanned missile systems.
- Navigation and guidance control: Technologies associated with the delivery and accuracy of unguided and guided weapons, such as tracking and homing devices, internal navigation systems, vehicle and flight control systems.
- Nuclear technology: Technologies associated with the production and use of nuclear material for military applications.
- Remote imaging and reconnaissance: Technologies associated with military reconnaissance efforts, such as drones, remotely piloted or unmanned vehicles, imagery systems, high resolution cameras.
- Robotics: Technologies associated with artificial intelligence, computer-controlled machine tools.
- Sensors: Technology associated with marine acoustics, missile launch calibration, night vision devices, high-speed photographic equipment.