Students Who Fail in the US Visa Interview Unlikely to Get a Second Chance in 2022

    Updated on: 11 Aug 2022

     


    Amid the race to grab the Indian talent pool, the US is all set to reform the student visa application process. The new set of changes will be aimed toward roping in the Indian students seeking admission at the universities in the US. There has been a constant endeavor from the universities, tech companies, and other stakeholders to attract more Indian students planning to move abroad. Every year, lakhs of Indian students go abroad for higher education, which helps them with better study options, job opportunities, a higher standard of living, and many other facilities.

    Earlier, there were limited options for Indian students owing to the high cost of education, not a robust credit culture, dearth of scholarships, etc. However, things started to change, and a few Indian lenders became more proactive in giving students abroad education loans for higher studies. This opened up the avenue for Indian students who wanted to get a quality education abroad.

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    What's the current state of affairs regarding student visa applications?

    The US has always been the most preferred location for Indian students planning to do their master's, doctorate, or post-doctoral studies abroad. The present scenario also somewhat makes the US a leader in attracting the Indian talent pool. When it comes to some vital statistics, it is noteworthy that around 62,000 student visas were issued to Indian students last year alone. The latest figures from the US embassy suffice to prove that the Indian students are still preferring the US over other countries for higher education. Keeping all this in mind, the US immigration authorities are pretty optimistic that this year the numbers can go even higher despite the fact that last year the number of student visas was already the highest that the US has ever issued.

    The US officials are all set to change the student visa application process in the 2022 fall season. However, Donald L Heflin (minister-counselor for consular affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi) said this would depend solely on how well the applicants are prepared. In a nutshell, the US is all set to increase the number of student visas if there are more deserving applicants.

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    What are the new changes in the student visa application process?

    The main aim of the student visa process is to attract more Indians to the universities in the US, which in turn will enrich the highly-skilled workforce. And for that to happen, it is of paramount importance to keep the flow of talented students in a more fluidic way so that the students and the universities can mutually benefit. As the campus opened post the easing of COVID-19 regulations in the US and eased travel norms for international students, there was a massive surge in the number of student visa applicants. To cater to students' needs and give students equal opportunities, the embassy came up with tens of thousands of visa interview slots. Since June 2021, the US embassy has ramped up the process by having multiple slots so that students planning to take admission at US universities don't miss out because of a lack of interview slots. Having more interview slots will also help the assessing authorities give each visa applicant more time. The students can choose the desired time slot as per their convenience and availability by visiting the official website of the US embassy.

    With new software programs in place, the system will automatically deny admission to students who are refused a visFa once in the summer-spring of 2022. Once a student gets the letter of acceptance or any documents pertaining to admission, they should start checking for the visa interview dates. After selecting the interview date among the available slots, the students can go on that date for the interview. While applying for a student visa, one should always be prompt as dates get filled pretty fast. However, this has been significantly reduced by introducing more slots, but it's still advised to complete the process as soon as possible. Both the steps taken by the US embassy have now ensured that the deserving students would get the appointments with more time to explain their eligibility for getting a student visa, and non-interested parties or the agents will not be able to book the interview slots.

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    Another change is that those parents who have a US visitor visa can accompany their ward. On the other hand, those who never had this visa will not be able to go with their wards. Indian parents whose B1-B2 visa has expired in the last couple of years can make use of the new provision and make the dropbox appointment for the renewal of their visas. Similarly, the Indian students already studying in the US and want to visit India to meet their family can avail of the visa waiver dropbox scheme till the slots are available. These are some measures taken by the US authorities to ease travel. Also, the US is very soon expected to start its full consular service in India, which has been stalled post the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As far as the total number of visas is concerned, the US is only issuing 2/3rd more visas than the pre-COVID times. The authorities are expecting to take it to the pre-COVID level by 2023.

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    What warranted these changes in the student visa application process?

    Last year the number of applicants exceeded far more than the student visa cap, which ultimately crashed the website. So, the new system is set to take more load if the number of applicants shoots up exponentially. Also, the frivolous student visa applications deprived genuine applicants. The new system will help authorities ward off all these anomalies and give a better experience to the visa applicants. It will also help streamline the entire process for students as they don't have to approach agents for getting interview slots or any other work.

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