US visas: Minister-counselor for consular affairs at the US embassy in Delhi, Donald L Heflin, made a few important declarations regarding various categories of non-immigrant visas during a live talk on Facebook.
During the 30-minute live talk on the page of the US consulate general in Chennai, Heflin reiterated that for candidates for F-1 students visas from India, the best opportunity to get their visa approved for the current year is the first interview with chances of being rejected a second or third slot extremely high.
Times of India initially reported about this significant policy change regarding US student visas on 6th April 2022.
“I had worked up a little debate in the Times of India a couple of weeks ago on this. What is going on with this policy change is that we would rather give all the fresh candidates. Who is turning up for the first time for a visa interview to study in a US college, an opportunity. The best way to do that is to block out the individuals who refused a student visa before,” he explained.
Students refused US visas the first time are unable to get a second interview slot
Last summer, the US embassy and consulates in India began student visa interviews very late (June 14). Because of the Covid-Delta wave, with numerous students ready to travel having already received their I-20 documents from US universities and waiting for the interviews.
“We had a high issuance rate last year and a few got an opportunity for two interviews. This year, we will open student visa interviews earlier in mid-May and hope to issue even more student visas. Then the 62,000 given last year, which was more than ever before,” Heflin explained.
The group of students who have been refused visas two, three, or more times – – or were turned down in Spring this year. And we’re planning to apply again in Summer – – are probably not going to get interview slots again this year.
“I will utilize cricket term. A lot of you folks 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 opportunity of getting your visa. Don’t worry about whether you get a second chance or not,” Heflin said.
He also declared the opening up of visa interviews and dropbox (categories that are excluded from interviews). Slots across India for H and L visa categories. B-1 and B-2 visitor visa interview slots, for first-time candidates, are going to be opened on 1st September this year, he said. The US embassy expects to give 80,000 visas to India over the next year. Across categories and by the middle of 2023 the volume of visas issued is likely to bounce back 100 percent to pre-Covid times, Heflin added.