Record student visas to Indians last year, number likely to cross this year: US Embassy

Indian students who have received their visas for studying at their respective universities in various American states, at a lobby of the consular office of the US Embassy on the Student Visa Day, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024.
Indian students who have received their visas for studying at their respective universities in various American states, at a lobby of the consular office of the US Embassy on the Student Visa Day, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024.

New Delhi | After issuing a record 1,40,000 student visas last year, the US consular team in India is all geared up to meet the expected rise in number of applications from Indian students in 2024, with a senior official at the embassy here saying that the projected total number this year will be "similar or in excess" in comparison to last year.

The US Mission in India on Thursday held its eighth annual Student Visa Day countrywide with consular officers from New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai interviewing Indian student visa applicants.

At the US Embassy in Delhi, a long queue of students was seen since morning.

American universities attract a large number of Indian students, and last year, the US consular team in India issued over 1,40,000 student visas -- higher than for any other country setting a record for the third year in a row.

Syed Mujtaba Andrabi, acting Consul General at US Embassy in New Delhi, in an interaction with PTI at the embassy, said, "by the end of the day, we should have interviewed approximately 4,000 students."

"It (student visas) is one of our top priorities. Academic exchange between the two countries is one of the top priorities of this administration, and our Mission here. Last year, we issued a record number of student visas, numbering 1,40,000, which has been a record...And, we will continue to focus on this area, as we go forward during this year," Andrabi told PTI.

"We will continue to have the same focus, and maximise the number of students," he added.

Asked about the extent of the expected rise in student visas in 2024, he said, "It will be similar or in excess" to last year.

America gives "high priority" to student visas because it knows people-to-people ties "last a lifetime," US envoy Eric Garcetti had told PTI in an interview here late April.

In 2023, the US Mission in India had processed a record 1.4 million visas overall.

"Even in a record-breaking year, and India became the number one source of students in higher education in the US last year, almost twice the amount of the second highest country of origin, we were able to accommodate all the students that needed to come get visas to US with appointments," the US envoy had then said.

The US Embassy in statement said the number of Indians who choose to study in the US has increased significantly in the past three years.

In 2023, the US Mission to India issued "more student visas than in 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined."

This "unprecedented growth" reflects the ongoing commitment by the US government to prioritise students and to facilitate their travel, even as the Mission met a 400 per cent rise in demand for all other visas between 2021 and 2023, it said.

Garcetti had earlier also said that "a heroic effort" of a lot of dedicated public servants who worked weekends, arranged days just for students was instrumental in making sure that students met their deadlines and American universities could welcome a historic number of Indian students.

Andrabi said it truly has been a heroic effort on part of the consular offices throughout the country, and one of the ways it has done is by "starting our student summer season in advance than we have done in prior years."

"For instance, we normally start student summer season in June and it goes on till end of August. This year we started in May, and it will continue to go through till end of August, just to maximise the number of students.. give that opportunity, to first-time qualified applicants to apply interviews," he said

Asked how the Mission was planning to reduce waiting time for visas, he said, "We have eliminated wait time in almost every category of visas, except B1/B2 tourist visitor visas for first-time applicants. And even that wait time we have reduced by over 70 per cent during the past year."

Garcia in the statement was quoted as saying, "Like those who went before, today's Indian students also represent tremendous potential -- the knowledge you will unlock, the new skills and opportunities you will experience, and the relationships you will build are worth the investment. Each student is an ambassador for India. Together we are taking the US-India relationship forward!" David Moyer, Cultural and Educational Affairs Counselor, at the US Embassy here interacted with PTI on the projected increase in the flow of Indian students seeking higher eduction in America.

Presently, the latest is that there are about 2,70,000 Indian students in the US, and that makes up "more than a quarter" of the total international students there, he said.

"We are really excited about the enthusiasm and the demand we are seeing for student visas to go to US," Moyer added.

Asked if many students are also choosing universities beyond the Ivy League and other universities, he said, "The good news is that there are over 4,500 accredited universities in the US to choose from. We are here to provide support and counselling so that each Indian students who wants to go to US can find the right match for them."

"We would like to see more female applicants looking to US universities," he added.

Latest News

No stories found.

Related Stories

No stories found.