US Student Visa: the new US guidance for consular officers may help international students get visas

The new US guidance for consular officers may help international students get visas Education Beyond Borders Podcast

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11-JAN-2022 | The US Department of State has adjusted its guidance for consular officers who approve study visas for prospective international students. The recent update should help prevent US student visa denials based on speculative determinations by consular officers.

The updated Residence Abroad Guidance states that consular officers are no longer required to ask for ties of property, employment, and continuity of life that are required of short term, tourist visa applicants.

This action ensures that the typical F-1 student visa applicant won’t be penalized for not having the ‘ties of property, employment, and continuity of life’ that applicants for short-term B visas, such as a tourist visa, might be expected to have, and instead to view these conditions in their proper context. Accordingly, the guidance clarifies that consular officers should only be concerned with applicants’ “present intent to depart” the US following the end of the program. A student visa should not be denied because there is some likelihood that students’ intent will change in the future. The new guidance notes that students, who are typically young, are at a phase in life where they are not expected to necessarily have long-range plans or be able to fully explain what their plans are after they finish their studies.

In addition, the US has said that it will extend visa interview waivers for international students and scholars through the end of 2022.

The stated changes come at a time of increasing concern that U.S. universities have lost their appeal for many international students due to restrictive visa and immigration policies.

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