U.S. Embassy: U.S. Embassy Plans to Change Student Visa Application Process in Summer 2022 | India News

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Even as thousands of Indian students make plans to study at universities in the United States in the fall 2022 season, the United States Embassy in India plans to change the visa application system for those applying in the summer of 2022.
“Last year, we interviewed more students and issued more student visas to India than ever before. This year, we expect the number of student visas to be even higher than the 62,000 issued last year. However, it will also depend on the preparation of student visa applicants,” Donald L Heflin, Minister-Counsellor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in Delhi, told this reporter.
Last summer, as US campuses opened their doors to international students after being closed during the pandemic, the US embassy and consulates in India announced the opening of “tens of thousands” of interview slots for visas, since June 2021, especially for Indian students. plans to take classes at U.S. universities and colleges in the fall 2021 semester starting August-September last year.
The students had been advised to visit the US Embassy website to schedule their visa appointments.
“Last year we faced two big problems; firstly because of the large number of student visa applicants from India, our global computer system crashed. Second, a large number of student visa interview slots were purchased by people who were not genuine applicants. Also, while in the early part of the season, we had good, genuine students applying for visas; in the latter part, last summer, many of the applicants we interviewed were coming to see us for a second or third time after being denied a student visa earlier. It was taking places away from good students,” Heflin said.
The US government has now made changes to the software to ensure that students who are denied a visa once during summer-spring 2022 will not be able to request another visa interview appointment this year. In addition, student visa applicants are advised to continue to check the interview dates on the US Embassy website to schedule their visa appointments once they have received their documents from the US Embassy. American universities without any special timetable being announced to them.
“We hope to address both the issues of non-availability of interview slots for good and genuine students as well as the blocking of slots by non-student agents, who do not show up for interview, with these measures” , Heflin said. .
Meanwhile, the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which was announced by the US government last year, has benefited several Indian students. “Many Indian students who are in the United States and want to travel to India to meet their families use the visa waiver drop box program. Currently, there are slots available for this facility,” the Minister-Counsellor said.
While parents of Indian students traveling to the United States to study and who have a valid US visitor visa can accompany their children when they travel to the United States this fall for classes; those who have never had a visitor’s visa will not be able to travel.
“Parents who have B1-B2 visas that have expired in the last few years can try to schedule a visa renewal appointment,” Heflin said. He added that it is expected that by 2023, US consular facilities will be 100% back in India.
“Just as businesses have had many problems bouncing back, we have also had problems getting back to pre-pandemic visa issuance levels. Whereas at present we are issuing two-thirds of the number of visas we were issuing before the pandemic, we expect to be closer to 100% by 2023.”
The US Embassy is also planning to start issuing new B1-B2 visitor visas to India in September this year.
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