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During a 30-minute live chat on the Facebook page of US consulate general in Chennai, Donald L. Heflin made some important announcements on different kinds of non-immigrant visas. He is the minister-counselor for consular affairs at the US embassy in Delhi.

As per the US embassy’s latest decision, Indian students who were refused a student visa in the first interview are unlikely to get a second interview slot this year. Donald Heflin reiterated that for F-1 student visa applicants from India, the best chance to get their visa approved is in the first slot as there is a high chance the students won’t get a second or a third interview slot.

What is the new policy change?

Announcing the embassy’s policy change, Heflin stated, “What is really going on with this policy change is that we would rather give all the fresh applicants, who are turning up for the first time for a visa interview to study in a US college, a chance. The best way to do that is to block out the people refused a student visa before.

The students unlikely to get interview slots this year are those who were refused visas two or more times or were turned down in the Spring intake and were planning to apply again in the Summer intake.

He further stated, “We had a high issuance rate last year and a few got a chance for two interviews. This year, we will open student visa interviews earlier in mid-May and hope to issue even more student visas than the 62,000 issued last year, which was more than ever before.”

Due to the Covid-Delta wave last summer, the US embassy and consulates in India started the student visa interviews very late on June 14. By then, many students had already received their I-20 documents from US universities, waiting only for their visa interviews.

Heflin also announced that over the next year, the US embassy expects to issue 80,000 visas to Indians across various categories and by mid-2023, the volume of visas issued is expected to bounce back 100% to pre-Covid times.

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