Record student visas to Indians last year, number likely to cross this year: US Embassy

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Posted on June 14, 2024


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New Delhi: The US consular team in India is ready to handle the anticipated increase in applications from Indian students in 2024, having issued a record 1,40,000 student visas the previous year. According to a senior official at the embassy here, the projected total number this year will be “similar or in excess” compared to last year. On Thursday, the US Mission in India conducted its ninth annual Student Visa Day nationwide, interviewing Indian applicants for student visas who were being interviewed by consular officers from New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

At the US Embassy in Delhi, a long queue of students had been seen since morning. Indian students are drawn to American institutions in great numbers. In the previous year, the US consular staff in India issued over 1,40,000 student visas, more than any other nation and setting a record for the third consecutive year.

In an interview with PTI at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Syed Mujtaba Andrabi, acting consul general, stated that “by the end of the day, we should have interviewed approximately 4,000 students.”

“Visas for students are one of our main focuses. Our mission here at the administration’s top priority is academic exchange between the two countries. A record 1,40,000 student visas were issued by us last year, setting a new record.And as the year progresses, we’ll keep our attention on this issue,” Andrabi told PTI.

“We will continue to have the same focus, and maximise the number of students,” he stated.

“It will be similar or in excess” to last year, he responded when asked about the size of the anticipated increase in student visas in 2024.

According to US envoy Eric Garcetti, who spoke with PTI in late April, the US realizes that relationships between people “last a lifetime,” which is why it accords “high priority” to student visas.

According to a statement from the US Embassy, over the previous three years, there has been a notable increase in the number of Indians choosing to study in the US.

The number of student visas granted by the US Mission to India in 2023 was “more than in 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined.”

Despite the fact that the Mission had to deal with a 400% increase in demand for all other visas between 2021 and 2023, it stated that this “unprecedented growth” demonstrated the US government’s continued commitment to prioritize students and ease their travel.

Garcetti has previously stated that ensuring that students completed their deadlines and that American colleges would accept a record number of Indian students was made possible by “a heroic effort” of many committed public officials who worked weekends and set aside days specifically for students.

The consulate offices across the nation, according to Andrabi, have made a genuinely heroic effort, one manner of which has been “starting our student summer season in advance than we have done in prior years.”

For example, the summer season for students often begins in June and lasts until the end of August. In order to maximize the number of students, we started this year in May and will run through the end of August. First-time qualified applicants will be given the opportunity to submit for interviews,” he stated.

“We have eliminated wait time in almost every category of visas, except B1/B2 tourist visitor visas for first-time applicants,” he responded when asked how the Mission planned to shorten the visa application process. And in the last year, we have cut that wait time by more than 70%.”

“Like those who came before, today’s Indian students also represent tremendous potential—the knowledge you will unlock, the new skills and opportunities you will experience, and the relationships you will build are worth the investment,” Garcia was quoted as saying in the statement. Every student represents India with pride. We are advancing the US-Indian friendship together!”

The US Embassy’s Cultural and Educational Affairs Counselor, David Moyer, spoke with PTI on the anticipated rise in the number of Indian students coming to the US for higher education.

As of right now, he said, there are over 2,70,000 Indian students enrolled in US universities, accounting for “more than a quarter” of all international students studying there.

“We are really excited about the enthusiasm and the demand we are seeing for student visas to go to the US,” Moyer stated.

He responded, “The good news is that there are over 4,500 accredited universities in the US to choose from,” when asked how many students are selecting colleges outside of the Ivy League and other elite institutions. We are here to help Indian students who wish to study in the United States find the best fit for them by offering support and guidance.”

“We would like to see more female applicants looking to US universities,” he stated.