Great news coming in all the way by the end of February to cater moments of excitement as well as nervousness to the international students planning to visit the United States of America anytime soon. The American authorities have made changes in the visa policies some of which include additional expenses as well as changes that allow proliferation in the opportunities allowing students to live and work simultaneously in the United States.
The changes are deemed to be challenging yet exciting for the students who are considering pursuing education in 22 new fields in technology, science, mathematics, etc. It is not wrong to say that the benefits offered like waiving the in-person interviews, relaxation in visa applications evaluation, etc. overweight the higher demand visa-application fees.
- Higher visa- application fees
The schedule of costs for consular services, including nonimmigrant and special visa fees, would modify for F, M, and J visas, according to a proposed regulation released by the State Department on December 29, 2021. The application price would climb to USD245, a 53 percent increase from the current USD160 required of ambitious global learners. This fee adjustment is based on the Cost of Service Model, which states that “the increases are required to adequately recover the costs of delivering the services,” according to the Federal Register. Fee increases like this are also “done to lessen the short-term volatility of demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stabilize pricing points for a longer length of time,” according to the CDC.
- Stress-Free evaluations for Visa
Students’ applications will be examined by consular officials based on their current intent. According to ICEF Monitor, the reduction of visa assessments will assist student visa applicants who are primarily younger and less likely to meet the previous residency standards. Showing owned properties, being married, and having extensive professional experience in their own nation are among the severe requirements.
- OPT program comes with additional STEM courses
Aside from the US Citizenship Act of 2021, the Biden administration has unveiled another plan to attract and retain international students and skilled professionals in STEM industries. In the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, 22 additional STEM subjects have been included.
Another initiative is announced by the Biden administration to attract and retain international students and skilled professionals in STEM industries. Some 22 additional stem subjects mentioned below are included in the Optional Practical Programme (OPT):
- General Forestry
- Forest Resources Production and Management
- Human-Centered Technology Design
- Cloud Computing
- Climate Science
- Earth Systems Science
- Economics and Computer Science
- Environmental Geosciences
- Geobiology, Geography
- Environmental Studies
- Mathematical Economics
- General Data Analytics
- Quantitative Methods
- Interview Waivers for NVAs Have Been Expanded
The US Department of State has permitted the waiver of in-person interviews for applicants who are up for visa renewal in the same visa classification, saying that “the prior visa’s application has been extended indefinitely within 48 months after the prior visa’s application.” To be safe, applicants are recommended to check the websites of the embassy and consulate on a frequent basis to stay up to date on these developments.
- Citizenship Act
While consular officials are still required to examine students’ applications based on their likelihood of leaving the country after studying in the United States or staying permanently,reports state that consular officials are now directed to assess global learners’ intent “to return to reside with parents or guardians” rather than stricter residency requirements.
However, there were moves early last year to allow international students to have dual intent.Another report says, new US immigration bill allows F-1 visa applicants to have dual intent. Under the US Citizenship Act of 2021, the dual intent provision is an appealing reform, particularly for global learners bound to the US who wish to study and work there.
All things considered, it’s encouraging to know that, despite the ongoing pandemic-related uncertainty, the government of a top international education destination like the United States is stepping up efforts to support global learners’ aspirations, particularly those who are from developing countries.