The US Consulate is confident that the country will witness a record intake of Indian students this academic year as it is seen that between January and May of the current year, a total of 14,694 F1 visas or student visas were issued by the five US consulates situated across India and the figures for student visa approval has tripled from 2019.
The highest number of visas were issued by New Delhi followed by Mumbai and Hyderabad. The US embassy has processed over 1.2 lakh F1 student visas in 2021 and the slots were also not reduced. The US consulate has opened additional visa appointments and has extended programs to waiver visa interviews for students.
Despite the severe pandemic situation, the number of visa applications for Hyderabad is rising and the US Consulate General at Hyderabad was not closed for a day. The situation is going back to the pre-pandemic levels gradually and there is an expectancy in the increase in staff post shifting to a new building.
The possibility of a US Mission in India is expected to break last year’s record of 62,000 student visa issuance to Indian students as the embassy has booked 100,000 student visa appointments for this year. The US Mission in India is conducting visa interviews for 3,000 students every day.
Over 18% of the total international student population are made by Indian students in the country and they account for the second largest group of international students in the US. Approximately 170,000 Indian students were studying in the US in the academic session 2020-2021 and over 40% of these students were enrolled in Masters or PhD courses.
In the streams of Mathematics, CS and Engineering, over 70% of the total Indian students are enrolled. 40% of the population of total Indian International students in the US are comprised of females. There is a growing number of Indian students choosing the US as their study destination with the US embassy and consulates in India operating additional hours while other countries are hit by delays.
International students in the US contributed USD 44 billion to its economy according to the latest Open Doors Press Release on the International Education exchange and India has remained the second-largest country of origin in the US.
The US resumed their visa services earlier and made efforts to ensure the timely arrival of students for academic programs beginning in September. Many students had to defer their admissions by a year due to travel restrictions.
However, the United States Mission in Delhi has announced that it had already approved 55,000 students and exchange visitor visas and that the number was increasing every day. The US is now seeing a pent-up demand from the last few years when the Indian students felt unwelcome due to the immigration policies that were rigid.
The increase in admissions can also be attributed to the students who deferred their offers of admission for this year. Due to their clear plan for health and safety protocol, international students are likely to feel safe on US campuses.
The US is home to top-ranked universities with an excellent reputation for high-quality tertiary education as well as career opportunities after graduation, making it an attractive destination. 50% of the world’s top 50 universities are in the US because of their highly accredited professors, research proficiency, small class size and advanced technology.
The Optional Practical Training program in the US continues to allow international students to work in the US in a job related to their program of study for one to three years. The recovery of job markets is a huge advantage for international students planning to work in the US post-graduation.
Students are also exposed to some of the best minds as the US excels in research, broadening their career prospects. The US has also waived the need for exams such as GRE/GMAT/SAT/ACT which has further led to an increase in applications.