New Delhi: As the season starts for Indian students to apply for seats in US higher educational institutions, a senior official at the US Embassy here on Thursday advised applicants not to come with prepared answers for visa interviews.
“A lot of applicants, including some students, come with a prepared speech,” George Hogeman, Consul General at the US Embassy, said during a media interaction.
“The best advice for anyone applying for one of our visas – and we base our visa decisions on the interview – is to listen carefully to what the officer asks (at the visa interview) and answer that question.
“We know students are nervous. That is okay. Many nervous applicants are issued visas,” he said.
Hogeman said this year the US missions in India will be observing June 6 as Student Visa Day.
“Student Visa Day is a day where the only applicants who apply are applying for student visas,” he said.
Noting that higher education plays an important role in India-US relations, he said that one in six foreign students in the US is from India.
Hogeman also said that the US Embassy had a meeting with the External Affairs Ministry to discuss the plight of Indian students duped by unscrupulous education counsellors.
According to a statement issued by the Embassy, the visa interview itself takes less than five minutes and on average applicants spend less than 45 minutes in the US missions in India.
Stating that there are 4,600 accredited universities in the US, Elizabeth Lawrence, Fraud Prevention Manager at the US Embassy, cautioned that using counterfeit documents might make one permanently ineligible for visa applications.
“However, fraud cases are very negligible,” she added.
Aastha Virk Singh, Advisor at EducationUSA, said that if a student thinks of applying for an F Visa (the US visa for students), the process should start at least a year before the session starts.
But at the same time, she said that a student can apply for a visa 120 days ahead of the start of the session.
“At EducationUSA, we provide free information to students,” Singh said. “If you start correctly with us, the visa will not be a problem.”
The total number of Indian students in the US has more than doubled over the last decade, from 81,000 in 2008 to 186,000 in 2017.