This summer, the US embassy has issued over 62,000 student visas in India, more than in any previous year, informed the embassy’s minister counselor for consular affairs, Don Heflin. “This goes to show that the United States remains the destination of choice for Indian students looking to study abroad. We look forward to issuing many more visas in the year to come to help Indian students achieve their dreams of US study,” he added.
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Indian students comprised nearly 20% of the total international students in the US in the academic year 2020-21, according to the 2021 Open Doors Report. Out of over 914,000 foreign students, 167,582 were from India.
The US embassies and consulates around the globe are prioritizing student visas to increase the influx of international students, which had dipped due to COVID-19 last year. Several measures are being taken to make up for this fall. Some of them are:
- Exemption from the US President Proclamation that restricted entry of people who were in India 14 days before visiting the country.
- Increased engagement in admission fairs, information sessions, and virtual meet-ups.
- Elimination of standardized tests such as GMAT, GRE, and others for admission.
- Extension of deadlines for submission of transcripts and other documents.
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Speaking about what also attracts international students to the US higher education, USIEF Educational Advisor Bhavna Jolly said that the employment opportunities in the US help students gain valuable work experience in their area of study. “Students have the option to pursue internships during the degree program called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for up to one year. Students can also gain work experience for up to one year after graduating through Optional Practical Training (OPT),” she added.
Jolly also talked about the contribution of Indian students to the US economy and culture and stated that American students, researchers, educators, and scholars benefit from their collaboration with their peers from around the world. “The US values the intellectual and cultural capital the Indian students bring to the country,” she said.