‘Know where you want to study and why’ – US Embassy tips on how to seal your visa interview

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New Delhi: “Take a deep breath and think, ‘Why do I want to go to this school?'” According to Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, the response to this question is essential to get this stamp of approval on your student visa application.

“Think ‘why do I want to study this discipline’, ‘why this part of the country’ and ‘what do I plan to do with this degree’. And be ready to spit out the answer in a minute,” he added.

Speaking to ThePrint on Tuesday, Heflin said students preparing for their visa interviews should keep an elevator pitch – or brief summary of themselves – ready before heading to their appointment, and be ready to explain why they want to study at the university of their choice quickly and succinctly.

“Maybe one night there was a conversation around the kitchen table where you and your parents decided where you want to go and why. Tell us that,” Heflin said. just that. That’s what we want to hear.

A record 62,000 US student visas have been issued to Indians in 2021 – this year, the country plans to open at least 20-25% more places for aspiring students.

Most visa slots in June and July are reserved for student visa applications, and students whose visa may be refused will get a second chance in the second half of August. However, Heflin said the rejection rate is low for new applicants.

“No 100% right or wrong answers”

Talking about some of the common reasons students choose a particular university – maybe they have a relative who lives nearby and can support them, or they know someone who studied something similar and had a good experience – Heflin said there aren’t 100% right or wrong answers, and the more they understand the decision-making process, the better.

In 2021, due to the Covid pandemic, the US Embassy and Consulates had opened slots for student visa appointments relatively later in the year on June 14.

Adding that the embassy has learned lessons from how it handled student visas in 2021, Heflin said appointment slots were opened earlier this year in two large groups.

“Tens of thousands” of slots for student visa applicants have been opened for the period from June 1 to July 15. And as many slots will likely be open from July 15 to August 15. In addition, the embassy will open a few slots each week.

“My advice to people is to check appointments twice a day. Don’t obsessively check and refresh your screen because it might block you,” Heflin said on how to book a student visa appointment online.

The embassy and the four consulates – in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata – also celebrate Student Visa Day on June 7. Consulates will only process student visas on the same day, and senior officials will be available to speak to students about the visa application process at consulates.

(Editing by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)


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