US Embassy to simplify visa application process for Indian students
The United States (US) Embassy is taking various steps to simplify the visa application process for Indian students. One of these steps is waiving the interview round for those who have previously held a US visa, said Patricia Lacina, Charge D’Affaires at the US Embassy. This announcement was made on the occasion of Student Visa Day.
“The United States places an immense value on international students and their rich contributions to our academic institutions, campuses and communities. This is particularly true in India; in fact Indians are the second largest group of international students in the US. Student mobility and the people-to-people connections it forges has been a cornerstone of the US-India relationship for the past 75 years, and remains so today. The best evidence of the importance of academic exchange is how the US mission to India continues to prioritise students for visa interviews. Our consulate professionals are hard at work interviewing student visa applicants across India. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mission India issued more student visas in 2021 than ever before,” said Lacina.
“This summer we are expecting another record breaking student season. We have opened tens of thousands of visa appointments and expanded our interview waiver options for students. Under new visa guidelines, students who have previously held any US visa can apply using the drop box service to bypass the in-person interview. This is just one of the many steps we are taking,” she added.
Don Heflin, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in India also addressed the media regarding the positive response in the number of student applications this summer.
“We will interview more applicants for student visas this summer than we ever have before. We hope very much to exceed last year’s record of 62,000 visa issuances to Indian students. We will interview over 3000 students today across consulates in India. In New Delhi, we will interview 1300 students, 1300 in Mumbai, and the other three consulates — Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata — will push us over to 3,000 in total,” Heflin said.
When asked about the impact of the pandemic on this summer’s visa application process, Heflin said, “Last year we had about the right amount of applicants compared to pre-covid years. But we are seeing a surge of interest this year,” adding that the increase in the number of student visa applications is a combination of factors which includes the status of the Indian economy, as well as the pent-up demand of 2020-2021.