Don Heflin, the Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, hailed the US for approving more than 82,000 student visas this summer and noted that India holds the top position for sending students to American colleges and universities.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Heflin said, “Last year, we broke a record by granting 62,000 student visas and the interesting thing is that this year, because of the Covid related challenges in other nations, India is the top country for sending students to American colleges and universities.”
Heflin responded that using agents to reserve slots is not against the law, but he emphasised the need to avoid falsifying paperwork and making up statements. One word of advice, according to Heflin, is to abandon the conversation with anyone who tries to sell you a package of bogus documents or advises you to make false declarations. Doing so could result in serious problems with your student visas.
To avoid being locked out, Don recommended individuals check the website two or three times every day. Heflin continued by highlighting the grievances of numerous students travelling to Chennai and other consulates for the appointment but added that by the following summer they may have 100% staffing, so things should return back to normal.
In order to ensure that as many qualified students as possible show up at their programmes of study in time for the originally scheduled dates, the US Embassy in New Delhi and its four consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai gave priority to processing student visa applications from May to August.
After the delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in previous years, Charge d’Affaires Patricia Lacina praised the success of the US Mission in India, adding, “We are happy to see so many students were able to receive visas and reach their universities.”
According to the Open Doors report published in 2021, there were 1,67,582 Indian students in the academic year 2020–2021, making up nearly 20% of all international students enrolled in American universities.