US Student Visas for Indians Hit Record, Expected Rise

US Student Visas

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Record Number of Student Visas Issued to Indians Last Year, Number Expected to Rise: US Embassy

American universities attract a large number of Indian students. Last year, the US consular team in India issued over 140,000 student visas, more than any other country, setting a record for the third consecutive year.

This year, the US consular team in India is preparing for an expected increase in applications from Indian students. A senior official from the US Embassy said that the number of visas issued in 2024 will likely be similar to or higher than last year.

On Thursday, the US Mission in India held its eighth annual Student Visa Day, with consular officers from New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai interviewing Indian student visa applicants. At the US Embassy in Delhi, a long line of students was seen since morning.

Syed Mujtaba Andrabi, acting Consul General at the US Embassy in New Delhi, mentioned that they expected to interview about 4,000 students by the end of the day. He emphasized that student visas are a top priority for the US administration and the mission in India. Last year, they issued a record 140,000 student visas and plan to continue focusing on this area throughout the year.

Regarding the expected increase in student visas in 2024, Andrabi stated it will be “similar or in excess” compared to last year.

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US envoy Eric Garcetti highlighted the high priority given to student visas, noting the lasting impact of people-to-people ties. The US Embassy reported a significant increase in the number of Indian students choosing to study in the US over the past three years. In 2023, more student visas were issued than in 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined. This growth reflects the US government’s commitment to prioritizing students and facilitating their travel despite a 400% rise in demand for other visas between 2021 and 2023.

Garcetti praised the dedicated public servants who worked tirelessly to ensure students met their deadlines and that American universities could welcome a historic number of Indian students. Andrabi added that the consular offices started the student visa season earlier this year to maximize the number of students applying.

Regarding efforts to reduce visa wait times, Andrabi said they have eliminated wait times for almost all visa categories except B1/B2 tourist visas for first-time applicants, which have also seen a 70% reduction in wait times over the past year.

David Moyer, Cultural and Educational Affairs Counselor at the US Embassy, shared excitement about the demand for student visas to the US. Currently, there are about 270,000 Indian students in the US, making up over a quarter of the total international students there.

Moyer noted that many students are choosing universities beyond the Ivy League, with over 4,500 accredited universities in the US to choose from. He encouraged more female applicants to consider US universities and emphasized the support and counseling available to help Indian students find the right match.