Hyderabad: US Visa issuance increased to 48%

‘This makes every sixth international student in the US an Indian’

HYDERABAD: Shunning the reports signifying the drop in the rate of students planning to pursue higher education in the US this year, the US consulate-general here has revealed that contradictory to the reports the visa issuance in fact has risen by 48 per cent in the last three years with 1,69,071 visas being issued from the city last year.

On the occasion of Student Visa Day, the US consular section chief issued passports with approved visas to 15 students, at the consulate here on Thursday.

Ironically, the celebration of higher education ties between the US and India took place just a day after a Telugu student from Sangareddy was shot in California.

Donald Mulligan, the consular chief, denied the allegation that Indians were being targeted in the US and said security on campuses had been beefed up. “Universities have their own police. There are telephone booths from where any student can call and get help. Then there are students who voluntarily walk you around the campus if one feels threatened,” he said.

‘Issuance of student visa or F-1 visa in India has increased by 122 pc in the last three years—from 21,636 in 2014 to 48,148 in 2016,’ US department of state said.

Though the officials could not provide data on the number of applications received this year since the admission process has begun just now, they claimed that the number of visas issued this year could be more than last year.

“This makes every sixth international student in the US an India. Currently, 1.66 lakh Indians are studying in the US, next only to China in number. This number makes  India so important to us. These students also bring with them a lot of varied experiences, perspectives and huge investments to our country.”

Replying to a query if grant of visa hinged on the whims and mood of the interviewing officer, Brian Salverson, chief of non-immigrant visas, said subjective interviews seek to strike a balance between security and eligibility of the candidate.

“The candidate should be able to convince the official that he is eligible rather the latter trying to look for reasons to disqualify his application. The candidate’s credibility is judged during the  interview,” Salverson explained.

Rakshita Bibi Reddy, a student of Gitam University, was one of the students to receive visa during the special drive. Terming her interview as smooth, she said, “You just need to be confident and honest with the officers. It was pretty easy for me,” said the student who will be pursuing Masters in Information Technology at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“Indians may be looking to other countries for higher education but quality education that the US provides is second to none. The cutting-edge technology, huge grants for research and the wide network American varsities help develop are not something that others can give,” said Mulligan