US Embassy: US issues record 82,000 student visas to India

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The US Embassy said on Thursday it had issued a record 82,000 student visas to India over the past year, with more Indian students traveling to the United States to study than any other country in the world.

This comes amid reports of long wait times for short-term business and tourist (B1/B2) visas to the US, with first appointments not available until mid -2024.

This showed that the United States remained the most sought-after destination for Indian students, said Patricia A Lacina, charge d’affaires at the United States Embassy in India, on the microblogging platform Twitter.

“This year, the US Mission in India issued the highest number of student visas yet,” she said.

“We celebrate the significant contributions that Indian students make to our two countries as they build lifelong bonds with their American peers to maintain and grow international partnerships,” Lacina added.

Also last year, the United States issued a record 62,000 visas as travel opened up after the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Closures due to the virus outbreak prevented embassies and consulates from issuing student visas for most of 2020.

In recent years, China had the largest number of students in the United States, followed by India. The embassy has prioritized issuing student visas once it resumes operations to try to ensure that their schedules are not impacted and that they can arrive in the United States in time for the start of their academic year.

According to data released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) earlier this year, the number of Indian students in the United States increased by more than 12% in 2021, while those from China, who represent the largest number, fell more than 8%.

In its annual report, USCIS said the pandemic continued to impact international student enrollment in the United States in 2021.

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