US Embassy To Make Changes In Student Visa Application Process In 2022 Summer

Amidst thousands of Indian students planning for higher studies in the United States, the US embassy in India is planning 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 in India than ever before. This year we hope the number of student visas will be even higher than the 62,000 issued last year. However, that will also depend on how well prepared the student visa applicants are,” Donald L Heflin, minister-counsellor for consular affairs at the US Embassy in Delhi, told the Times of India.   

Last summer, when the US campuses opened their doors to international students after being shut down during the pandemic, tens of thousands of Indian students were lining up for the process.  

According to Heflin, they faced two big problems. Because of the huge number of applicants from India, their computer system had crashed. The other issue was that many student visa interview slots were bought up by people who were not genuine applicants.  

However, the US government made all software changes to ensure that students who are refused a visa once in the summer-spring of 2022 will not be able to seek another visa interview appointment again this year. 

The students and visa applicants are also advised to keep checking for interview dates on the US embassy website to schedule their visa appointments after receiving their documents from US universities.   

Meanwhile, the visa interview waiver scheme announced by the US government last year has benefitted several Indian students. “Many Indian students who are in the US and want to travel to India to meet their families are using the visa waiver dropbox scheme. Currently, there are slots available for this facility,” the minister-counselor said.  

 While, parents of Indian students who have valid US visitor visas can accompany their children when they go to the US this fall season to join classes.  

 “Those parents who have B1-B2 visas that have expired in the last few years can try to grab a dropbox appointment to renew their visas,” Heflin said. He added that it is expected that by 2023, the US consular facilities will be back at 100% in India.  

 “Like businesses have had many issues in bouncing back, we too have had problems in going back to the pre-pandemic level of visa issuances. While at present we are issuing two-thirds the number of visas that we did before the pandemic, we expect to be closer to 100% by 2023.”  

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