Synopsis: The United States will be opening up the first batch of stuudent visa appointments by mid-May. It has extended, until December 31, 2023, the visa waiver program for in-person interviews for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.
The Fall session is just round the corner, and students heading to universities in the United States are putting the final touches to their student visa applications.
US Consulates in India will be opening up the first batch of student visa appointments by mid-May.
Talking to the Times of India, Ben Arterburn, a former US diplomat and director of consular affairs at US-based firm Argo Visa, shares some tips for acing the student visa interview.The first attempt at a student visa interview is the best opportunity for the candidate, explains Arterburn, adding that a second attempt gives off a negative impression because of the earlier refusal.“The worst thing a first time student visa applicant can do is say as little as possible at the visa interview. At the interview, everyone is presumed to have immigrant intent to start with and so they must prove that they qualify. Being quiet at the interview is a very bad idea; students should introduce themselves and take control of the interview and highlight their strong points which could be their financial status or their academic qualifications etc,” he said.Students should show that they are an expert in the subject that they are planning to study; but the most important point that they need to make in the visa interview is why they are planning to go to the US to study the specific course that they have chosen, Arterburn said.
Are you eligible for a visa interview waiver?
The United States has extended, until December 31, 2023, the visa waiver program for in-person interviews for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.
Under this program, consular officers can waive the visa interview requirement for certain first-time and renewing F, M, and academic J applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.
In-person interviews can also be waived for certain first-time F, M, and academic J applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) .
Applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration are also eligible for interview waiver.
Consular officers may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis, taking into account local conditions.