Vaccination not mandatory by US govt. and varsities can decide on it
Though the US Embassies and Consulates will open their visa windows to students from June 14, the functioning is expected to be limited to just 25% of the visa slots compared to the non-COVID period.
The US Consulate Hyderabad used to issue visa slots up to 800 on an average per day though sometimes the number used to cross 1,000 as well during the pre-COVID days. So students who are planning to apply for the appointments may have to face some disappointment with reduced slots. Similar situation is likely to exist in all the consulates in the country. The visa slots for non-immigrant visas were suspended on April 30 after the deadly spread of the virus in what was called as the second wave in India.
In a Facebook chat with prospective visa seekers on Thursday, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Don Heflin clarified several doubts over the vaccination and appointments.
He clarified that there was no rule that students need to get vaccinated to enter the United States and the decision has been decentralised with the universities given the choice. So universities will emphasise on whether vaccination is mandatory and if so what kind of vaccine. So it is better for students to get these details from their respective universities.
On the recognition of Indian vaccines, he said it is for the universities to decide on the brand. Some universities may ask students to take a US recognised vaccine again even if they have already been vaccinated. But the US government will not insist on vaccination reports.
However, students need to get their RTPCR negative test report 72 hours before the travel. Once they enter the US., they have to take the RTPCR test within three to five days. It is for the university to decide whether the new students need to quarantine or not, he said.
Mr Don Helfin ruled out priority to those who have already booked the slots but were cancelled after the Embassy and consulates closed the operations. All the aspirants need to apply again for the new slot. He, however, said applicants can expedite their appointments for emergencies through online appointment system at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/expedited-appointment.html. But they must already have a confirmed interview appointment to request an expedited appointment.
He also appealed to the aspirants to be patient as the website may give some tough time with huge traffic. Keep on refreshing and try, he said. He also advised students to book slots at their nearest Consulate.
The Minister Counselor ruled out giving emergency B1 and B2 visas for parents who wish to drop their children in the universities. Some Indian parents prefer to drop children personally in the US universities but this time they have to send them off at the Indian airports only, he said.
The visa application processing fee is now valid till September 30, 2022 and applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment due to suspension of routine consular operations can schedule the visa appointment with the already paid fee.
Crime Today News | Hyderabad