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US to Ease Rules for Visa Applications

U.S. authorities are easing requirements for background checks for some immigrants hoping to become permanent U.S. residents.

The change is expected to help ease a huge backlog of green card (residence visa) applications.

Under the new policy, officials will be able to approve otherwise qualified applicants if they have been waiting for a name check by the FBI for more than six months.

If they fail the name check after they have been given permanent status, the visa can be revoked.

Most name checks are completed electronically within three months, however, tens of thousands of individuals have been waiting for years for the FBI to search paper records stored in hundreds of locations nationwide.

Investigators will still conduct fingerprint checks and an internet criminal background search on all applicants.