U.S. Embassy hopes to clear student visa backlog before fall

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–BSS photo.

The US Embassy in Dhaka said it hoped to clear the huge backlog of student visas before the fall session, as its consular section was busy processing them even on Friday weekends.

“We are doing everything we can to clear the backlog, the embassy is really prioritizing that,” said a consular officer at the US Embassy in Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.

She said the consular section hoped to clear the backlog by the fall, as a group of officials were only handling visa processing for students intending to attend the fall semester at universities. Americans.

The Consular Section of the US Embassy is dealing with the backlog of immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications due to the Covid pandemic, while many Bangladeshi students are particularly waiting for an appointment to a visa interview to attend their classes in person at US universities.

Section officials said they are making special efforts working Friday to ensure that as many students as possible receive interviews before the start of the fall semester.

“We know how frustrating it is for a student to have this backlog. . . so we are working very hard to clear the backlog, that is why we are working on Fridays (because) it is a priority for us,” the consular officer said last Friday.

Last Friday alone, she said, they interviewed more than 600 students who applied for visas.

The US Embassy in Dhaka has decided to hold another “Super Friday” on Friday, July 29 as part of a campaign to enable the mission to meet the high demand for such visas.

“We really want to make sure we can process as many visas as possible, so students can get to the United States,” the officer said.

The U.S. Embassy provides emergency appointment dates for students who are unable to secure a visa interview appointment before the start of their scheduled course at U.S. universities.

“We recognize the unique opportunity of studying in the United States and we prioritize student visa interviews,” said U.S. Embassy Consul General William Dowers at the occasion. of the “Super Friday” initiative.

An undergraduate student, Zerin Ali, who plans to join the University of Chicago next fall semester, said she first got a visa interview appointment on 15 March 2023, “but my class should start at the end of September this year”.

Ali said that after failing to get the appointment date before her course started, she asked for the emergency appointment dates and after 10 days she received an email confirming her new interview date Friday, July 22.

“I thought the visa process would be very complicated, but I was wrong. . . everything went well,” she told the consular section after getting the visa on Friday.

A doctoral student named Shita Biswash also expressed her joy after getting the emergency appointment date for the interview on Super Friday.

“I am delighted to get the emergency appointment date for the interview, otherwise it would have been difficult for me to join my doctoral program,” she said, who applied for the visa. student, including his wife Anik Kumar as a dependent.

US Embassy officials said the number of Bangladeshi students in the United States had almost dropped over the past decade, saying the figure was currently over 8,500 per year.

According to the Institute of International Education Open Doors 2021 report, Bangladesh currently ranks 14th among the top countries sending students to the United States from around the world, while the country’s ranking in the index was of 17 in the 2019-2020 academic year.

The U.S. Embassy, ​​in a statement, said the United States remained a popular destination for higher education as in the 2020-2021 academic year it welcomed more than 914,000 students. from more than 200 countries of origin.

He said anyone interested in educational opportunities in the United States can learn more about EducationUSA, a global network of more than 430 educational counseling centers operating in more than 175 countries and territories around the world.

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