Even though the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic forced people around the globe to stay indoors since March last year, the United States issued the highest number of visas to Indian students this year. The US issued over 55,000 visas to Indian students.
The US Embassy said that the mission in India “approved more student visa applicants in 2021 than ever before, despite the global Covid-19 pandemic. Through these efforts, more than 55,000 students and exchange visitors are boarding planes to study in the US, and more students are being approved every day.”
After the Chinese, Indians are the second-largest community of international students in the United States. While the Chinese make up 35 per cent of all international students in the US, Indians account for 18 per cent.
There was a four per cent drop in the total number of Indian students enrolled in the US in 2019-2020, at 13,511, the annual Open Doors Report on International Student Exchange had revealed. During that period, as many as 1,93,124 students attended colleges and universities in the US from India.
Among the universities most preferred by Indians in the US are Carnegie Mellon University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of San Diego, University of Toronto and more.
The Embassy said that the effort would soon be turned to other visa categories.
“Studying in the US is a unique and often life-changing experience for Indian students, granting fresh, global perspectives and frequently leading to invaluable career opportunities. Indian students also enrich US society, achieve high levels of academic success, and deepen the bonds of friendship between our countries. The many hard-working women and men of the US Mission to India are proud to facilitate their travel and study,” Ambassador Atul Keshap, Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in New Delhi, said.
The US mission had to delay the commencement of its student visa season for two months owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Generally, consulates start interviewing fall semester students in May.
“In July, as soon as conditions allowed for the resumption of visa services without endangering applicants’ health and safety, consular teams worked not only to match but surpass their pre-Covid workload. The US Embassy and Consulates opened additional hours for visa appointments and made every possible effort to ensure timely arrival for academic programs for as many students as possible. Ultimately, these efforts paid off, as more students than ever before received visas to study in the US,” the statement said.
“The US mission looks forward to another great student season as it facilitates study for spring semester students over the coming few months,” it added.
Meanwhile, a number of US-bound students are stuck in India as the flights have been recently cancelled or rescheduled. Though Indian students who have a valid visa can fly to the US and join their universities in August, the cancellation or rescheduling of flights has put many into obscurity.