US student visa application to get easier in 2023: Embassy explains how

Noting that India is the number one country to send students to United States colleges and universities, Don Heflin, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs US Embassy notified that the country issued a record-breaking 82,000 student visas between May and June 2022. He further revealed a few crucial information regarding student visa applications. 

“We issued 82,000 student visas this summer which is a record for us. Last year we set a record of issuing 62000 and the interesting thing is that this year because of the Covid related problems in other countries, India is the number one country for sending students to US colleges and Universities,” Heflin told news agency ANI.

Regarding agents for booking slots, he said, “There is nothing illegal about it. I don’t think you need an agent just to book a slot with us. Hopefully, they are providing some other advising services. One caution that we would give people when you talk to anyone who tries to sell you a package of fake documents or tells you to make false statements, just walk out immediately because that can get you in real trouble in your student visas”, Heflin added.

Responding to the question of complaints about the system locking the applicants if they keep checking the website, he said, “We advise people to check our site two or three times a day. That won’t get you locked out and appointments go so fast that if you are checking two or three times a day, you miss them. If you check them over and over and over and watch out for 72 hours then it’s really a bummer and we don’t like that happen to people.”

He also notified that next summer they may have 100% staffing in a bid to avoid issues like students travelling between cities to visit consulates.

“This is a result of when Covid froze everything up. We have different global advice consuls in different places. So, people rushing for appointments and people flew across the country. Now, we don’t mind that when it’s a Business person or maybe a Graduate student, maybe an H1 worker. By the next summer, we’re going to be much closer to 100% staffing. So, things should even out. We think that they will get the appointment at the consul, nearest to their home”.

Responding to the question if students need visa stamping who are in the US on an OPT (Optional Practical Training), Heflin said that this summer we started with dropbox appointments, for students which they have never been able to do before.

“This gets really confusing our graduates. If you’re in the US on OPT and you’re in status with your school and with the immigration service, you don’t have to get a new visa unless you want to leave the country. If you’re not leaving the country, you’re perfectly legal to keep know what you’re doing. But if You’re gonna leave the country, you need to come back here and get a visa. Now, the good news is that this summer, we started with Dropbox appointments for students, which we’ve never been able to do before, and that means somebody in that situation, could grab a Dropbox appointment. They don’t go as fast as the first times, but you can grab a dropbox appointment, and then build their trip to India around that”, added Heflin.

Indian students comprise nearly 20 per cent of all international students studying in the United States, with the Open Doors report in 2021 showing there were 167,582 students from India in the 2020-2021 academic year.


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