Record 1.4 Lakh Students Got US Visa In Last 12 Months: India Becomes #1 Nation To Send Foreign Students In US!

Sheetal Bhalerao

Sheetal Bhalerao

Nov 30, 2023

The US appears to be working on taking several steps to reduce the visa appointment wait time in India, which is still a bit high for now, said an official.

Record 1.4 Lakh Students Got US Visa In Last 12 Months: India Becomes #1 Nation To Send Foreign Students In US!

US Issued Record Breaking Visas To Indian Students  

Last year, the US issued more than 1,40,000 visas to Indian students and is taking several steps to reduce visa appointment wait periods, as part of the Biden administration’s endeavor to promote people-to-people ties with India.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, Julie Stufft said US missions in India worked six, seven days a week to make sure that students could be interviewed before their classes started, during an interview to PTI.

Further adding that this year, the US made a huge effort to concentrate on the demand coming out of India.

“We are really proud of what we have done in India this year. I think for the first time in history, we set a goal to issue one million visas in India and not only did we accomplish that, but it was done several months in advance. So, the number will go way beyond that. There are record-setting numbers this year for workers, crew members and students applying in India to come to the United States,” she said. 

Placing Efforts & Importance To Indian Students

Adding,”We specifically made sure that we saw the students who were applying coming out of India. India is now the largest source country for foreign students in the United States, as well as many other visa categories. That’s a very important one for us. We have also had a lot of cases where the interview was waived, so no interview for Indian travelers who have previously traveled and are now going back to the US.”

She said, “For students who are applying in India, I would say the biggest thing is that the missions there have worked six, seven days a week to interview students to make sure that everyone can be interviewed before their classes start. The amount of effort and importance that we place on Indian students coming to the US is born out in the visa process. We want to make sure everyone has that chance.” 

Reducing Wait Time

While talking about the wait time, she said, “I hope it will be (coming down) this year, meaning this fiscal year for us. But we are sending huge numbers of officers to India to manage the wait time and move them around the country as needed. I mean, it has gotten much better but it still needs to come down quite a bit.” 

Further Stufft told PTI, “We had a state visit recently. Everyone from the president of course, to Ambassador (Eric) Garcetti and the secretary of state is so committed to making sure that the people-to-people ties between our two countries expand. We are carrying that out in the visa process. So, we really expect more innovations and a much quicker process in the future.” 

Encouraging the Indian travelers, the State Department official said that anyone who is interested in traveling to the US for any reason should apply as soon as possible.

For work related travels, Stufft said, “If you are traveling for work-related reasons, there’s another special avenue to use. There is a special channel to use so that business-related visas are also prioritized. Bear with us, I would say as we get through this. India is unique because it represents the highest number of visas in several categories. Not just visitors, not just students, not just maritime crew members but highly skilled work. I mean, it is a tremendous demand across the board for us. So our priority is to get all of those wait times down.” 

So far in 2023, the US has issued more than 10.5 million,  which is 2 million more than what it had anticipated and is almost hitting the highest-ever level at its overseas missions, Stufft said during a media round table with a group of foreign journalists organized by the Foreign Press Centre.

Julie Stufft said, “All other categories have low wait times globally, but we are very focused on the first-time visitor interview wait times and what’s very interesting to us is that many of the places where we have set records for visa production this year are the same places where we still have really high wait times. This just indicates a very high level of demand and we are going to use this year to really get control of that in these five or six places with very high wait times.” 

Sheetal Bhalerao
Sheetal Bhalerao
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