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US-Bound Students Can Book Visa Interview Slots from Today | College Admission
[Published on: 14.06.2021]

US-Bound Students Can Book Visa Interview Slots from Today

  • A senior US diplomat on Sunday assured students who have secured admission in American universities that the US mission in India will accommodate as many visa applicants as possible in July and August to facilitate their travel to the country. The embassy will start giving visa interview slots to Indian students from Monday. Student visa applicants with a cancelled appointment will need to make a new one.
  • The visa service, other than for emergency travel, has been shut since April 28. We intend to start an intensive two months of interviewing student visa applicants on July 1. We will plan to open as many appointments as we can safely accommodate, based on local pandemic conditions across India. Student visa applicants do not need an expedited appointment to schedule their interview. On June 14, we will open July and August appointments for students, US embassy minister counsellor for consular affairs Don Heflin said on Sunday.
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  • While assuring students that the US embassy and regional consulates will do everything possible to ensure students with valid travel requirements were not deprived of the opportunity, he clarified that US-bound students will not require any proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country. They will only need a negative report of their Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to their departure, he said.
  • That will come as a huge relief to nearly 2 lakh students who travel to the US for undergraduate and post-graduate programmes annually, including a few thousand from Kolkata. Even last year, when the US recorded a 43% decline in new foreign students, over half the new ones were from India and China. In the Facebook Live interaction that Heflin had conducted on Thursday to address questions from US-bound Indian students, more than 16,000 people had participated, including many from Kolkata. Among the most frequently asked questions was when slots for visa applications would open and whether students will have to be fully vaccinated at the time of departure.
  • However, Helfin pointed out that individual institutions may set their own requirement for vaccination and advised students to consult with the host institution to ensure compliance. The US education system operates independently from the federal government. There are more than 4,500 accredited universities in the US that operate autonomously, and the policy adopted by one school for its students and teaching community may not be the same as that for another one, he said.
  • Bengal has relaxed the minimum time gap between two shots and named foreign-bound students on the prior-ity list.
  • Apart from new students, Heflin clarified that students returning to academic programmes that resume on or after August 1 will be allowed to travel to the US up to 30 days before the programmes restart.
  • We recommend continuing students discuss specific resumption plans with their respective universities to develop a travel timeline, Heflin said.
  • Visa will, however, not be issued to parents or guardians at present as tourist visa remains prohibited following a Presidential Proclamation.

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