U.S. Increases Indian Student Visa Interview Appointments by 30% for Fall Semester
As the Visa Waiver Scheme is extended, the first batch of visa appointments will be available in mid-May.
Surat : The United States government has said that they would begin accepting student visa applications for the following autumn semester somewhere around the middle of May.
The news follows a statement by US Consul General in Mumbai Mike Hankey that the number of visa interview slots made available to Indian students will rise by 30% this summer. The US embassy in India handled over 125,000 applications for student visas in 2022.
In-Person Interviews now eligible for Visa Waiver Programme
The US government has also granted a select number of students, professors, research associates, experts, and others an extension to the visa waiver programme for in-person interviews through December 31, 2023.
First-time and renewal F, M, and academic J visa applicants who have never been denied a visa (unless the denial was overturned or waived) and show no evidence of ineligibility or prospective ineligibility may be exempt from having to attend a visa interview under the waiver programme.
In addition, first-time F, M, and academic J applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and have visited the United States with a permit obtained through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) may be exempt from in-person interviews if they have no obvious or potential ineligibility.
The US Department of State stressed that consular personnel may, on occasion, nonetheless need an in-person interview. To learn more about this change and the current operational status and services, applicants may check out the embassy and consulate websites.
Potential Repercussions for Indian Students and Schools
This new trend was applauded by M Square Media (MSM) Founder and Advisor Sanjay Laul. “The decision to increase visa interview appointments for Indian students demonstrates the US’s commitment to address roadblocks and figures as an important step in promoting international education and fostering strong ties between the two countries,” Laul said.
For instance, many students, teachers, and researchers would benefit from a streamlined application procedure if the visa waiver system were extended to include in-person interviews. This will improve academic connections between institutions in the United States and India, which will in turn draw more Indian students to the United States.
It is hoped that the increased availability of visa interview appointments and the extension of the visa waiver scheme for in-person interviews will benefit Indian students who wish to study in the United States.
There will be a rise in academic partnerships that will benefit both nations’ educational systems via the sharing of expertise, information, and resources.