US missions in India open student visa processing

Step to facilitate travel of students from India in time for fall semester.

US embassy and consulates across India Monday opened limited student visa processing for July and August to facilitate travel of students from India in time for the fall semester.

“Student visas remain a top priority for the US Mission to India,” the US embassy in New Delhi announced advising students to visit their website, https://ustraveldocs.com/in, to view availability and schedule an appointment.

Prior to their visa interview, students were asked to review their I-20 program start date.  Students beginning a new program with a program start date on or after August 1 may travel to the US up to 30 days prior to the program start date and do not need to submit a request for a national interest exception.

Continuing students may also resume their programs on or after August 1, and travel 30 days before their program resumption date.

However, the embassy said it was unable to approve expedite requests for Fall 2021 students with scheduled appointments in July or August.

Students whose appointment date may result in a potentially late start, have been advised to reach out to their school to discuss options.

Read: H-1B visa approvals should be for six years: US expert (May 24, 2021)

On April 30, President Joe Biden signed Presidential Proclamation 10199 suspending most nonimmigrant travel from India.  This bars entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in India 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the US.

Exceptions to the suspension of entry include US citizens, US lawful permanent residents and certain family members of US citizens and lawful permanent resident.

In light of the travel suspension and due to the current pandemic situation in India, most other routine non-immigrant visa and VAC appointments at US Embassy New Delhi and the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai remain extremely limited, the embassy said.

The US mission in India said it continues to make every effort to accommodate emergency visa appointments and will honor upcoming scheduled regular appointments in limited visa categories.  Reduced routine services for US citizens are currently offered throughout India.

Applicants requesting an expedited appointment must also submit evidence that they are not subject to the April 30 Presidential Proclamation or may otherwise qualify for a national interest exception from these travel restrictions.

There is no fee to change an appointment and visa application fees are valid for one year in the country where the fee was paid.

The US mission also assured visa applicants who have paid the visa application processing fee that it will extend the validity of  their payment (known as the MRV fee) until Sept, 30, 2022.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV- 2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority), taken within 72 hours of departure.

Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, the embassy said.

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