Great news for new Indian student visa applicants: The US Embassy in India announced that more appointments for student visas would be available for students who need to arrive at their campuses by mid-Aug.
On June 24, it tweeted that interview slots are now open for students with an I-20 form who need to apply for visa categories F, M, and J at the Embassy and Consulates for interviews after Aug 14. The 1-20 form is crucial for students applying for an F-1 or M-1 student visa.
Student visa appointments are available on our website. If you have an I-20, don’t wait! Future F, M, and J appointment openings at the Embassy and Consulates will be for interviews taking place after Aug 14, so if you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now!
— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) June 24, 2022
Earlier in May, the Embassy opened its first batch of interview slots for dates in June and the first half of July 2022, as the Times of India reported.
Visa problems for Indian students
For many Indians, the delays in processing their student visa have disrupted their plans to return to their foreign campuses to join their offline classes as borders around the globe reopen. A lack of open communication with the Embassy has left students frustrated.
“We have been trying to book an appointment for J1 visa from last 2 months for Sept 2022 with no sucesss. There have been absolutely no consular interview dates available! Have emailed Embassy several times with no replies. Please clarify,” writes Twitter user Rafeh Naqash, MD, who has been trying to book his J1 visa appointment for two months.
@USAndIndia We have been trying to book an appointment for J1 visa from last 2 months for Sept 2022 with no sucesss. There have been absolutely no consular interview dates available! Have emailed embassy several times with no replies. Please clarify!
— Rafeh Naqash, MD (@thenasheffect) June 24, 2022
The exasperation is echoed by Koushik Prime, an applicant applying for his F-1 student visa, which was previously refused: “Can you provide us an update on the F1 slots for previously refused? It was mentioned that the slots would be released for August end appointments. However, colleges begin August mid. What are the guidelines regarding this? Is it possible to release slots for earlier dates,” he tweeted.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student visa interview slots were limited. When slots opened last June, many students already received their I-20 documents and were anticipating their interviews.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, tweeted that India has raised with the US, UK, Australia and several European countries the need to expedite and “streamline” student visa appointments following complaints about the delays in processing student visas.
Senior MEA officials dealing with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, UK & USA had constructive discussions with corresponding Heads of Missions/senior diplomats of these countries about streamlining student visas to Indian nationals.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) June 24, 2022
Bagchi adds that these countries agree to remain engaged in further easing and fast-tracking the visa application process since the flow of students has been mutually beneficial.