The US embassy in India is planning to change the Visa application system for those applying in the summer of 2022. The change was necessary as the current system will not be sustainable anymore due to the growing demand from students.
"Last year, we interviewed more students and issued more student Visas in India than ever before. This year, we hope the number of student Visas will be even higher than the 62,000 issued last year. However, that also depends on how well-prepared the student Visa applicants are", said Donald L Heflin, minister counselor for consular affairs at the US Embassy in Delhi.
Although the US universities have reported a definite preference for Indian students, opening interview slots would help cut down the waiting time for Visa interviews significantly as the demands grow and help prevent travel delays. Students are also encouraged to visit the US Embassy website to schedule their Visa appointments.
The worldwide computer system crashed because of the massive volume of student Visa applications from India. Additionally, many student Visa interview slots were bought by people who were not genuine applicants.
The US government has made significant software changes to ensure that students who were refused Visas once during summer-spring in 2022 will not be able to seek another appointment again this year. Applicants are also advised to keep an eye out for interview dates on the US embassy website to schedule their Visa appointments once they receive their documents from U.S. universities without any unique timeline.
The ministry counselor added saying that the Visa interview waiver scheme, introduced by the US government last year, has benefitted numerous Indian students. Many students in the US wanting to travel back home are using the Visa waiver dropbox scheme.
- Indian parents who have valid US Visas can accompany their children when they move to the US during the fall season, but those who have never had a visitor Visa will not be able to travel.
- Parents who have a B1 or B2 expired Visa in the last few years can try for a dropbox appointment to renew their Visa.
By 2023, it is expected that the US consular facilities will be back at a 100% capacity in India. Since businesses had a hard time bouncing back, there have been issues going back to the pre-pandemic form. Heflin mentioned that two-thirds of the number of Visas are being issued right now, compared to what was being done before the pandemic.
To continue the good news streak, the US embassy also expects to start issuing the B1, B2 visitor Visa in India in September 2022.