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Can Indian students enter the US in time for fall semester?

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Indian international students will soon be able to return to US as visa processing has resumed. Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

From Aug. 17, 2020, consulates of the US Embassy in India will resume processing student visas in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. This indicates that a significant number of US international students from Indian may be able to enter the US in time to start the fall semester.

The embassy website states: “We are pleased to announce that consular sections at the US Embassy in New Delhi and our consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata will begin processing of student and academic exchange visitor visa applications on a limited basis on August 17. Through consultation with our health and security professionals, we will open in a limited manner that puts the safety of our customers and staff first.”

When will Indian students be able to receive their visas?

Student visas are a high priority right now, according to official embassy messaging. The consulates, however, will not be able to accommodate all visa requests in time for the fall semester, which begins late August.

Have you been requesting an expedited appointment? Then you may be in luck. Although appointments are limited, the US Embassy in India assures, “Once your request has been reviewed, you will receive notice from the embassy or consulate at which you applied.”

This applies to all applicants for H1B, H2B, H4, L and certain J categories who qualify for travel exemption. Confirm if you qualify here, and keep an eye on the embassy’s official site for updates on your consulate’s operational status.

indian students

For young Indians, studying in the US unlocks the door to fulfilling STEM careers. Source: Manjunath Kiran/AFP

Can US international students from India enter the country?

International students who were accepted into a US institution before Mar. 9, 2020 are eligible to return on a student visa. This is according to the latest guidelines from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Were you in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, and certain European Union countries 14 days before scheduled arrival in the US? If so, you will not be allowed into the US as per current government rules.

Students who have been studying in the US before Mar. 9, 2020 will be allowed to enter the country. Bear in mind that it is still difficult for universities to hold in-person classes. So you will likely adopt a hybrid learning model that adheres to health guidelines; COVID-19 cases are still increasing at an alarming rate in the US.

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