In a significant visa policy change, the US has announced that there will be more slots for first-time Indian applicants for student visas.
According to the US Embassy in India, the Indian students who were refused a student visa in the first interview are unlikely to get a second slot this year.
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This was announced by Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in Delhi, Donald L Heflin. He said this during a Live Facebook interaction on the official page of the US consulate general in Chennai.
“What is really going on with this policy change is that we would rather give all the fresh applicants, who are turning up for the first time for a visa interview to study in a US college, a chance. The best way to do that is to block out the people refused a student visa before,” Heflin said, The Times of India reported.
Live! MCCA Don Heflin, U.S. Embassy India joins us to chat about Chennai’s visa processing! Have questions? Don’t miss the 30 minute live and post your questions in the comments section #USIndia #USVisaFAQs https://t.co/0xGHMYl2aa
— U.S. Consulate General Chennai (@USAndChennai) April 18, 2022
He said that the embassy had issued 62,000 student visas to Indian in 2021 and hoped that it would be more this year.
“We had a high issuance rate last year and a few got a chance for two interviews. This year, we will open student visa interviews earlier in mid-May and hope to issue even more student visas than the 62,000 issued last year, which was more than ever before,” he said.
The Indian students who were refused the F-1 student visa in Spring this year are not likely to get one more interview slot in Summer of 2022.
Heflin used a cricket term to tell the Indian students that the first interview was their “best chance” to get the visa.
“I am going to use cricket term. A lot of you guys are worried about getting bowled out before you even step on the crease. But a vast majority of students hit a six in the first interview which is your best chance of getting your visa. Don’t worry about whether you get a second chance or not,” Heflin said.
He also said that the US embassy in India is likely to issue 8 lakh visas this year. “8,00,000 visas are projected to be issued in the next 12 months… we opened a lot of slots for processing the visas… we think of eventually meeting the demand of H and L visas.”
In last December, the US had waived in-person interviews till December 31, 2022 for certain non-immigrant visa applicants.
“We are pleased to announce that consular officers are now temporarily authorized, through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based nonimmigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories: Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas), Intracompany Transferees (L visas), Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas).
“Additionally, the Secretary of State has extended consular officers’ current ability to waive the in-person interview, through December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of nonimmigrant visas: Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas),” it had said.