International students can apply for US visa one year in advance: State Department

The Biden administration has announced that overseas students who wish to study in the US may now apply for a visa up to a year before the start of their academic session. But, according to the State Department, foreign students will not be permitted to enter the nation more than 30 days prior to the commencement of their programme.

Foreign students often receive one of two types of US visas: F or M. The State Department stated that student (F and M) visas for new students “may be issued up to 365 days in advance of the start date for a course of study.”

The statement on Tuesday added, “However, you will not be permitted to visit the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date.” A student with a valid visiting (B) visa may enter the US prior to the first 30 days of their programme. Based on the I-20 form issued by their academic institutions, US embassies and consulates award student visas.

All students are required to register in the Student and Exchange Visitor System, according to State Department regulations (SEVIS). The student’s academic institution must provide separate Form I-20s to the spouse and minor children if they intend to live in the country with the student.

Foreign students in the country on F visas are required to leave the country within 60 days of the program’s end date, which is indicated on Form I-20, including any authorised practical training. According to the recent notification, institutions can now accept and issue I-20 forms 12 to 14 months before the start of classes.

Prior to this, I-20 paperwork and immigration interviews could only be scheduled 4-6 months before the start of the term. The announcement follows Julie Stufft’s statement to PTI that the US is “throwing every ounce of its energy” into ending the lengthy visa wait times in India. Julie Stufft is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services. She added that India is now ranked second in the world for the number of foreign students entering the United States, and that it may break the record for the most student visas again this year.

“We are really, we’re putting all of our efforts now focusing on this visa for visitors and those, in particular, if you don’t need an interview, you don’t need to wait very long at all for a visa renewal. And that’s also one part of our strategy as well,” she said.

Concerns about the lengthy wait times for first-time visa applicants, particularly those applying under the B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) categories, have grown in India. In October of last year, the wait time for first-time B1/B2 visa applicants in India was almost three years. One of the very few nations where applications for US visas increased significantly after travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus were abolished was India.


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