U.S. Embassy India Live Session: Key Takeaways
Posted on June 15, 2021
On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Mission to India invited all U.S. student visa applicants to join for a Facebook Live session that was hosted by Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs Don Heflin.
In the Live FB session held subsequently, Minister Counselor Heflin discussed “the current operating status and visa processing at consular sections across India”.
Questions were also taken from the audience regarding the U.S. visa processing policies.
While admitting that services across the consular sections throughout India had been significantly reduced in the recent past owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Heflin categorically stated that “facilitating legitimate student travel to U.S. remains a top priority for the U.S. Mission to India.”
Towards this end, U.S. consular sections across India will be “making every attempt” for opening visa appointments in the coming months.
An intensive 2-months of interviews for U.S. Student Visa applicants will be held from July 2021 onwards.
As per Mr Heflin, the aim is to be “interviewing as many students” as were there for Summer 2019 intake, that is, the last normal year for study overseas in the U.S.
Key Takeaways of the U.S. Embassy FB live session
[The Live session was held on Thursday, June 10 at 2:00pm IST on U.S. Embassy India’s Facebook page.]
- Interview slots opening from Monday, June 14 onwards. Only for U.S. Student visas.
- Parents holding B1/B2 visas cannot accompany the students for travel.
- Parents cannot apply for B1/B2 visa with the reason of accompanying the student to the U.S. for their initial relocation.
- Appointments can be booked at any location in India. Preferably, the locations should be as per the jurisdiction of the student residence.
- Don’t apply for emergency visas if you will be going to the U.S. for Fall intake, as regular appointments are to be opened for the same.
- Printed copy of electronic Form I-20 is fine when attending the interview.
- Students will be getting their U.S. student visas in time, that is, before the intake start date.
- Students can only travel within the 30 days before their course start date in the U.S.
- No proof of personal funds required in case of a fully-funded student. The fact of the student being fully-funded must be duly mentioned in Form I-20.
- COVID-19 RTPCR test not required for attending the interview. [Note. The student will have to check the U.S. University requirements regarding the COVID-19 test before travelling to the U.S.]
- Repeatedly refreshing the appointment page or logging into the account frequently looking for available dates can lead to being locked out.
- If the U.S. F-1 visa is already approved and the student changed their University before travelling to the U.S., the student will be required to explain the reason for the change to the Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry. They will be allowed to enter the U.S. if the Immigration Officer is convinced of their reason for change.
- The financial documents of the student might be reviewed for checking the source of income and financial status.
- The visa officer might also decide to grant/deny the visa based on the interview itself, that is, without checking any documentation.
- Appointments will only be considered and available for F-1, M-1, and J-1.
- You will not be able to transit through Europe due to quarantine rules in place. [Note. Do research Middle Eastern countries for rules for flying into the U.S.]
- The candidate will be refused [under 221g] if the SEVIS fee is not paid before attending the interview.
- Appointments to be available from early morning, June 14, 2021.
- S. visitor visas not to be granted until the presidential proclamation changes accordingly.
- If an applicant has an approved visitor visa, they can apply for a travel exception. Such individuals can only travel to the U.S. if their travel exemption is approved.
- H-1B and L-1 visa appointments might be booked, based on the availability of appointments, if any.
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