Scramble leads to glitches as US student visa processing resumes for this fall

NEW DELHI: The huge backlog of visa applicants who have to join US colleges this fall led to glitches on the embassy portal as it resumed processing student visas in India from Monday.
“We are aware of the high demand for student visa appointments. Please remember, do not refresh too often, as you may be locked out of your account. Appointments remain available at all posts, and we will continue to add appointments as conditions allow,” the US Embassy said in a tweet on Monday, when it resumed processing student visas across India for those who have to join colleges there this fall (July and August).

The tweet had scores of replies from students who faced issues in getting a visa appointment.
“My account got locked without even a prior warning. Many others are facing this issue too. Request you to unlock the accounts, at least this time,” said one of the replies.
Another student said: “Please advice, my account has been locked for 72 hours for refreshing, is there a way to unlock it. There was no suspicious activity behind it. I was simply trying to connect back to the servers and complete my booking.”
A parent tweeted: “Please empathise and not let our kids and parents go through more stress because of a visa website process. Please do consider and restore locked accounts and set up a better process. Their future is at stake. They have turned down other university options to go to a US university.”
Another parent said in response to the US Embassy tweet: “We have taken leave just to book a slot (on Monday) and then either the site is not responding or its locking us out. Kindly lift the 72 hour ban as many of us have already wasted a year and this is our last hope. Try to understand the emotions of students and lift the ban.”
Last week, the US Embassy had announced it will resume students visa processing from Monday.
“Student visas remain a top priority for the US Mission to India and we are making every attempt to facilitate student travel in time for the fall semester. As such, on June 14, 2021 we will open limited July and August student visa appointments at posts across India. Students may visit our website to view availability and schedule an appointment,” a statement on the embassy website said.

Clearly the rush and backlog has led to a scramble among students who have to join US universities by this August.
Meanwhile, France is wooing students from India and has resumed student visa processing. Emmanuel Lenain, ambassador of France to India, tweeted saying: “Looking to study in France? Student visa applications are now open at your nearest VFS centre! Get all the information you need on programmes & scholarships, plus free counselling at your nearest Campus France office.”

Several countries currently have restrictions on travel from India. While the US is allowing students from India, the French ambassador’s tweet saw replies from several Indian students who wanted to know when they could travel to join colleges there.
“Great news, can you please advise when borders are reopening? I have a student visa already and my classes start in three weeks. Waiting eagerly for some clarity,” a student tweeted.