Visa Crunch

Amid the ongoing pandemic, US visa approvals for India hit a record high

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has sanctioned a record number of student visa applications in 2021. “More than 55,000 international students and exchange visitors have boarded planes to study in the United States as a result of these efforts, and more students are being accepted every day. The US mission anticipates another successful student season as it prepares to assist spring semester students with their studies in the coming months, according to a statement issued by the US mission in India.

“Studying in the United States is a remarkable and often life-changing journey for Indian students, providing fresh, international perspective and frequently leading to incredibly valuable career opportunities,” said Ambassador Atul Keshap, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in New Delhi. Indian students also contribute to the enrichment of American society, attain remarkable academic success, and strengthen friendships between the two countries. Many dedicated women and men of the US mission in India are delighted to assist them in their journeys and studies.” According to the Mission, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed significant logistical difficulties for its diplomat teams.

The embassy and consulates began interviewing fall semester students in May, but the second wave of the pandemic compelled the mission to postpone its student visa season by almost two months. After the situation improved in July, the consular teams worked to match, if not exceed, their pre-Covid caseload. However, in the fall of 2020, new international student enrolment in the United States fell by 43% from the previous year, months after Covid put the world on lockdown. As per an admissions survey conducted by the Institute of International Education, the number of new international students who actually made it onto campus in person has decreased by 72 percent (IIE).

Experts attribute the prevailing pandemic year’s high student visa success rate to efforts to resurrect the economy of US universities, which was thrown off by Covid-19 in 2020. International students make a $45 billion contribution to the US economy. Students from India and China make up the biggest contingent and are thus crucial.

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