Tens of thousands of visa appointment slots with student visa or F1 as priority will be opened on June 14, announced Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs during the Facebook Live on Thursday hosted by the United States (US) Embassy in India and Consulate.
The Free Press Journal had recently reported how students from different parts of India planning to study in universities, colleges and educational institutions in the United States of America (USA) were struggling to book visa (personal interview) and biometrics appointment because US Consulate and Embassy offices were either shut or working with limited staff catering to only emergency cases. Students were in constant fear of missing out on travelling due to visa delays as foreign universities are set to begin academic courses starting from August-September.
In a major relief to students, Heflin said, "We will open tens of thousands of visa appointment slots on Monday June 14 during the morning business hours. These bulk slots will be opened at the same time across all five US visa issuing offices at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Students can book appointments to their nearest centre and avoid travel."
In order to prevent getting locked out of the system due to multiple attempts, students should avoid refreshing slots multiple times, Heflin advised. "We will open enough slots across India so that students can find a slot at the nearest centre and do not need to travel during Covid-19 times. Students should not refresh the slots multiple times but wait patiently as there will be many slots open. Also, there is no specific time but we will open slots duing the morning business hours on June 14," Helfin said.
Heflin further said, "Bulk slots will be opened on June 14, shortly before July 1 and August 1 so that students who are starting their academic courses post August 1 in universities in USA can reach on time for their programmes. We will open almost 1/3rd of all the slots for student visas. We are saving 25 per cent slots in reserve just for emergencies."
Further, parents who wish to accompany their students will not be granted visas, said Heflin. "Unfortunately, considering the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, parents who wish to accompany their kids who are going to study in US universities will not be granted visas," Heflin said.
Students whose appointments have been cancelled in the recent months can now book new slots on June 14. Many students planning to study in the USA have been trying and waiting to book visa slots for months due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
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