International Students are Struggling to Get U.S. Visas
As many U.S. universities are starting back, students will be without many of their international classmates. The pandemic has caused many U.S. embassies and consulates to operate at a reduced capacity, making it more difficult for students to get their visas in time for the start of the semester.
Since the pandemic began, international student enrollment has dropped significantly. This leads many international students to choose other countries for their studies, such as the U.K. or Canada, taking their money with them. International students pump about $40 billion per year into their local economies and universities.
The Student Visa Process
The process of obtaining a U.S. student visa has always been difficult for international students, but the pandemic has made it even more challenging since it is required to have an in-person meeting to receive an F or M visa. Some groups are challenging this rule and are pushing for virtual interviews and interview waivers.
Interview waivers are available to international students renewing their visas through December 2021. This is only available if the student renews his or her visa within a year of the expiration of the previous visa. American universities are worried about losing top students from abroad to other countries with far easier visa processes. The loss of international students to competing universities in other countries isn’t just a financial loss, but a cultural and intellectual loss, as well.
Applying For a Student Visa
To apply for a U.S. student visa, first, find your closest U.S. embassy or consulate by clicking here, and following its instructions.
For new students, F and M visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance, but it is highly recommended that you apply much earlier in preparation for long waits and prolonged appointment dates.
The visa application fee is $160. The online visa application, Form DS-160 is also required for your visa interview.
Read more about the student visa process here.