International students planning to study in the United States should prepare for a few policy changes this year. These changes include the possibility of paying higher visa application fees, new consular guidance, and an extension of an in-person interview waiver.
- US student visa processing fees may be increased by 53 percent.
- US Consular Officers are given more discretion in granting international student visa applications.
- In-person interviews for student visa applications are waived for 2022 to improve processing times.
According to the U.S. State Department, there is a proposal to increase application fees for F, M, and J visas—the types of visas students need for in order to study in the United States. Currently, students need to pay US$160. Should the proposal pass, the new rate will be US$245, which equates to a 53 percent hike. The increase is meant to reflect improved visa processing.
While international students may need to pay higher visa application fees, a new directive for U.S. Consulates allows these officials to give a little more leeway on accepting or denying student visa applications so that the new conditions on visa doesn’t harm on international education in U.S.
In the past, Consular Officers based their judgment about a student on residency requirements. This essentially looks at how strong an international student’s ties are to their home country. Factors include whether they own property, their civil status (married or not), and if they have work or employment opportunities back home. These, it was said, signaled whether they intended to leave immediately after finishing their studies in the United States rather than stay and find better employment opportunities.
The new directive will base a student’s visa application on present circumstances rather than possible future intentions. What this translates to is a possibility of higher student visa acceptance rates which is very good for international education.
Lastly, the State Department is extending U.S. Consular Officers’ ability to waive in-person interviews for students’ visa applications. Throughout 2022, F, M, and J visa applicants may not necessarily be required to go for an in-person interview. This is, of course, on a case-to-case basis, depending on country conditions.
The move is meant to reduce visa application processing times and this step is going to promote more international education in U.S.
All told, the latest U.S. State Department policies are meant to help improve student visa application processing. What this essentially means is that more international students could be given visas and allowed to study in the United States in the coming years.
MSM Unify is your one-stop source platform connecting students, higher education institutions, and agents around the world. Sign up now to get the latest updates and information on international education.