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Indians are one of the largest international student communities in the US. Source: Ben White/ Unsplash

United States consular outposts across India will host a so-called Visa Day on June 6, where officials will exclusively adjudicate student visas for Indians seeking to pursue their studies in the US.

The US Embassy in Delhi along with the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, will on that day deal only with student visas, with the average interview expected to take around 30 minutes.

“People-to-people relationships are the bedrock of the US-India relations and the bedrock of such relationships are student visas,” said US Consul-General George H Hogeman, as quoted by The Indian Express. “Higher education plays a central role in the relationship between two countries.”

President Donald Trump’s stricter immigration policies are restricting the number of students who can benefit from American higher education, with 78,000 fewer international students granted visas in 2017 compared with 2016.

Chinese and Indian students, the two most prominent international student communities in the US, saw the most dramatic falls in visa allocations. Nevertheless, more than one million Indian students are still studying there.

“Students are advised to use resources available with EducationUSA and conduct research on programmes they would like to prefer,” said the Embassy’s Fraud Prevention Manager Elizabeth Lawrence.

“We do not require any documents at the time of visa interview, but if an individual prefers to bring, they should not be fake. Any students providing counterfeited certificates may be barred from applying for visa forever.”

Hogeman provided some general advice to students applying, including warning them against using fraudulent agents. “All that a student has to do is to listen carefully to questions asked by officers and reply to them with real answers instead of coming up with prepared speech,” he said.

“We know students are nervous. That is okay. Many nervous applicants are issued visas.”

International students are said to be undergoing more scrutiny before being granted a study visa along with a shift away from allowing international students to stay and work in the country after graduation.

“If a visa gets rejected, a student has to introspect and learn from that experience before applying again,” added Hogeman.

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