In a promising development for students aspiring to pursue their Masters in the United States, several F-1 visa slots have become available at various consulates in India. This comes as a ray of hope for many students who have previously faced rejections in their visa applications and are now optimistic about securing their visas successfully.
One such student is Rakesh P, who expressed his ordeal of facing visa rejections in the past. “I have deferred my admission twice since last year as my visa got rejected a couple of times. In my desperation, I even went to Vietnam for a visa interview, but even there my visa was rejected,” shared Rakesh P. However, he now has reason to rejoice as he recently attended a visa interview in New Delhi and, to his delight, has been approved to study in the US on his third attempt.
This development has brought relief to many students who had been anxiously awaiting their visa approvals. With the availability of more visa slots, they are hopeful of fulfilling their dream to pursue higher education in the United States. Rakesh P, among others, is now set to embark on his journey to New York on August 14, eagerly looking forward to commencing his academic pursuits.
Indian students pursuing their dreams of higher education in the United States have received a glimmer of hope as F1 visa slots open up at various consulates in India. Among those who have faced visa hurdles in the past, Vijay M shared his journey, stating, “I have been appearing for interviews since June last year. I deferred my admission five times. Finally, my visa has been approved now, and I will be travelling next week.” His persistence paid off, and his last successful interview was held in Chennai.
The United States witnessed a remarkable increase in student visas, marking the highest single-year total of F-1 visas since 2016. The US Department of State issued over 411,000 student visas during the 2022 fiscal year, representing a 15% surge from the previous year.
Data from the State Department reveals that not only was this a substantial increase from the previous fiscal year, the largest non-pandemic year-over-year increase since 2010, but it also marked the highest total recorded in six years.
Comparatively, Canada granted over 420,000 student visas in 2022, reflecting a 27% increase over 2021, while the UK witnessed a significant annual growth of 34% in the year ending March 2023.
The F-1 visa denials can be attributed to several common reasons, including the inability to prove non-immigrant intent, lack of financial proof, mistrust regarding academic institutions or goals, weak responses during the interview, and misrepresentation of information on the application form.
The F1 visa, valid for a five-year period, presents a golden opportunity for students to pursue their master’s degrees in the US, with these recent developments offering renewed hope and excitement for Indian students eager to embark on their educational journey overseas.
The US Department of State has recently unveiled its annual report on Visa Issuance by Class and Nationality, with a strong emphasis on swift recovery. The highlight of the report is the remarkable surge in F-1 visa data, bringing good news for international recruitment offices across the United States. The country experienced the most significant annual growth in US student visas in more than a decade (excluding pandemic years), culminating in the highest number of F-1 visas issued in a single year since 2016.
In ApplyInsights’ report, the factors driving this impressive growth are thoroughly examined. The report delves into the historical data of fiscal years, shedding light on the trends leading up to this current surge. Moreover, a glimpse into the potential future of this destination market is also provided.
The ApplyInsights Team provided this analysis, using the most recent government and ApplyBoard internal data, to present a comprehensive overview of trends in the international education industry.
Specifically, during the 2022 fiscal year (spanning from October 2021 to September 2022), the US Department of State issued a staggering 411,000 student visas. This marked a remarkable 15% increase from the previous fiscal year, representing the largest non-pandemic year-over-year growth since 2010. Additionally, this figure stands as the highest recorded total in the past six years, further emphasising the resurgence of student visa applications to the United States.
Excluding the exceptional surge in student visas issued from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic, the United States has generally witnessed a decline in the number of student visas granted each year since 2017. However, this trend has taken a positive turn in 2022.
Although the US still has a considerable way to go to match its peak of over 644,000 student visas issued in FY2015, the recent numbers instil confidence in the potential for long-term, sustainable growth. This year-over-year growth in 2022 stands as the most significant in a decade, disregarding the pandemic-related impact. The growth can now be attributed to factors beyond COVID-19 deferrals and enrolment backlogs, as international travel restrictions are no longer a hindrance.
Nevertheless, it’s essential to recognise that other competing destination markets continue to exhibit higher growth trajectories. Canada, for instance, saw an impressive 27% increase, issuing over 420,000 student visas in 2022, compared to the previous year. Similarly, the UK experienced an annual growth rate of 34% in the year ending March 2023.
Notably, the Asian markets play a vital role in driving the upward trend in US student visa numbers. Seven out of the top eight countries that witnessed the largest increase in student visas issued from FY2021 to FY2022 were from Asia.
The following table displays the top 10 countries with the largest increases in student visas issued during the last year:
1. Uzbekistan (first time topping the list)
2. Nepal (+85%)
3. Bangladesh (+84%)
4. Vietnam (+42%)
These countries have seen extraordinary growth, with all four of them reaching 25-year highs in terms of student visas issued.
Interestingly, India secured the 11th position on the aforementioned list, experiencing a remarkable increase of over 43% in student visas issued from FY2021 to FY2022. With more than 115,000 Indian students obtaining F-1 visas in FY2022, the source market is in a prime position to potentially overtake China as the leading country of origin for international students in the US.
Despite the US’s commitment to supporting international education, prospective students have not yet witnessed significant actions to reflect those promises. In contrast, countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia have implemented policy changes to become more appealing to study and work destinations.
While the US achieved one of its best years in terms of student visa volume, approval rates tell a different story. In 2021, the F-1 visa approval rate reached a 10-year high at over 80%, but in 2022, this trend reversed, with only 65% of F-1 visas being approved. Despite the lowest approval rate since 2018, the US managed to achieve a six-year-high in F-1 visas issued.
It’s worth noting that the US’s student visa approval rate, although historically low, was higher than its northern neighbour’s rate in 2022 (57%). Paradoxically, a lower short-term approval rate might benefit the US in the long run.
As the US becomes more popular among African and Indian students, there may be a short-term trade-off with slightly lower approval rates. However, the long-term benefits could accelerate the recovery of the US international education sector.
The US international education sector is steadily progressing towards a full recovery. The combination of a six-year-high in F-1 visas issued, the largest annual increase in a decade (excluding the pandemic), and the emergence of several high-potential source markets contribute to an optimistic outlook.