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US student visa rejection rate at a record high!

Over one-third of international students who applied to study in the US were denied admission in 2023. Overall, a record quarter of a million foreign students were denied visas, 36% of applicants to be exact. In 2023, consular officers denied a record 253,355 student visas. Interestingly, more visas were denied in 2023 than were issued in 2002 and 2005.

David J. Bier, associate director of immigration research at The Cato Institute, presented data from the US government in a study on the rate and reasons for student visa denials.

International students study at America’s universities and then find jobs here when they graduate, largely through the postā€graduate employment authorization program called Optional Practical Training.

Temporary job that is directly relevant to an F-1 student’s major field of study is known as Optional Practical Training (OPT). Before finishing their academic studies (pre-completion) or after finishing their studies (post-completion), qualified students may seek to receive up to a 12-month OPT job authorization.

Despite the importance of these visas, the State Department rejected an unprecedented 36 percent of student visa applicants in 2023, surpassing 2022’s record.

Student visas are known as F-1 visas. You can enter the country as a full-time student with the F-1 Visa (Academic Student) if you’re enrolled in a language training program or a recognized college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, or other academic institution.

The study shows that student visas usually had a similar rejection rate to other nonimmigrant visa applicants. But from 2021 and 2023, student visas were denied at nearly twice the rate of all other applicants. The student visa denial rate increased from a low of 15 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2023.

To apply for an F-1 visa, a student must first be admitted into a government-approved university. This means that the US Department of State turned down 253,355 students who would have spent approximately $30,000 per year, or $7.6 billion, in tuition and living expenses. Over four years, the figure grows to $30.4 billion in missed economic gains for the United States.

According to the report, the State Department does not separately delineate the reasons for student visa denials but nearly all nonimmigrant visa denials are for failing to prove “nonimmigrant intent” (that is, the desire not to move to the United States permanently). Applicants need to show sufficient ties to their home country that would impel them to return to their home country when their reasons for visiting have ended.

The government does not publish country-by-country student visa denial statistics.

The report goes on to suggest other reasons for an increasing trend in denials. What may explain the sudden increase in denials is the sudden increase in issuances for Indian students. After major delays during the pandemic, Indian consulates issued an unprecedented 130,839 student visas, by far the highest total for India ever.

But according to data obtained by researchers via Freedom of Information Act requests, before the pandemic, US consulates in India were far more likely to deny students than US consulates in China. Indians accounted for a record 29 percent of all visa issuances in 2023, so their higher rate of denial could have affected the worldwide average more.

Read More:  Msn  

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