Students turn to social media and consultants for US visa advice

Potential worldwide college students are turning to social media to match their F-1 visa interview experiences and entry recommendation as demand for US research continues to rebound following the pandemic.

The nation issued over 600,000 scholar visas in 2023 – the best degree in 5 years – however issues stay about excessive rejection charges from sure areas, together with Sub-Saharan Africa.

In a Fb group with over 200,000 members, one person, whose profile exhibits they’re from Nepal, asks: “My sister is in USA. She is inexperienced card holder. How can I current I don’t have any intention to remain USA regardless of my sister being a card holder there.”

Beneath the put up, commenters debate whether or not or to not inform the visa officer that he has a sister. Some level out that mendacity about this might get the unique poster blacklisted for all times.

“It is advisable to present stronger ties again residence, could also be a job, a enterprise, substantial earnings/property, household which makes you come again residence after your research,” one commenter suggests.

In different instances, college students write out – virtually phrase for phrase – what was mentioned throughout their interview after which ask for opinions on why they have been rejected.

Securing a visa to review within the US has change into tougher in recent times. The proportion of scholars being rejected for F-1 visas rose between 2015 to 2022, in keeping with evaluation by Shorelight, with African college students dealing with the best rejection charges.

In some instances, college students are turning to consultants to assist them put together for his or her interview. Christopher Richardson is a former US visa officer who based Argo Visa after seeing college students make related errors of their interviews.

“I’ve executed tens of 1000’s of them and what I discovered was that there was simply a lot thriller behind the visa interview,” he mentioned. “I actually felt that there was an enormous data hole.”

He mentioned widespread errors embrace not giving compelling causes for selecting their faculty or failing to supply a transparent reply about how they plan to fund their research.

Though Argo Visa is staffed by former visa officers, not everybody providing immigration recommendation to worldwide college students has the identical {qualifications}.

“Lots of people are so determined for any info that they depend on firms and consultants that simply don’t know what they’re doing and can give them dangerous recommendation,” Richardson mentioned.

A spokesperson on the US Bureau of Consular Affairs suggested potential college students to search info from an EducationUSA advising centre close to them or use the physique’s on-line assets.

The Presidents’ Alliance on Increased Training and Immigration has known as for extra transparency from the federal government in regards to the reasoning for visa denials.

“When potential college students are denied visas, they’re typically left to guess what elements of their utility could have led to the denial,” the organisation wrote in a latest report, calling for college students who failed their interviews to be given a “clear written clarification” for the denial.

“It’s not uncommon for all college students – worldwide and home –to have interaction in discussions with their friends about varied elements in regards to the school admissions course of on social media platforms equivalent to TikTok, Fb [and] YouTube,” a spokesperson from The Presidents’ Alliance advised The PIE Information.

“Nonetheless, this doesn’t low cost the necessity for clear and vetted info on the visa utility course of to be obtainable for potential worldwide college students”.

The US Bureau of Consular Affairs advised The PIE that visa candidates are judged on a case-by-case foundation.

“Worldwide, most scholar visa candidates obtain a visa upon adjudication, although some do fail to satisfy the necessities and overcome INA part 214(b), which incorporates the presumption of immigrant intent,” the spokesperson mentioned.

“If refused, a consular officer will present a nonimmigrant visa applicant with documentation indicating the INA part below which they’re ineligible.”

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