The US is Increasingly Denying Student Visas, Here's Why
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Business - Travel - August 4, 2023

The US is Increasingly Denying Student Visas, Here’s Why

In recent years, the United States, US, long regarded as a global hub for higher education, has witnessed a notable and concerning trend: a substantial increase in the denial of student visa applications. 

This phenomenon has raised eyebrows among international students, educational institutions, and policymakers alike, prompting a closer examination of the underlying factors driving this shift. 

As the doors to American academia appear to be narrowing for an increasing number of aspiring students from around the world, it is imperative to delve into the reasons behind this development and explore its potential implications. 

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of why the US is becoming more stringent in granting student visas and the potential consequences this trend might engender.

The problem with interviews

According to a report titled “The Interview of a Lifetime: An Analysis of visa denials and international student flows to the US,” from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and Shorelight, two US advocacy groups that promote policies in support of immigrant students, the refusal rate of 54% of student visas in 2022 is up from 44% in 2015.

The increase in visa refusal rates has been attributed to the challenges students face during visa interviews. The report noted that some students are ill-prepared for the visa interview. Their failure to properly answer questions and demonstrate a strong connection with the US oftentimes disqualifies them. 

Because of this difficulty, the report noted that some students are having to jump through hoops just to travel to other countries at considerable expense. 

Proof of funding

Also, there have been indicators that African students were denied visas for not demonstrating that they had sufficient funds to support their studies in the US. This is because schooling abroad requires that you pay visa fees, make a deposit to the university, and pay for medical and other related costs.

The sad news however is after working with some agents to make these payments, African students often fall prey to fake agents. Students are however advised to work with licensed agents and ensure that they obtain all the necessary information about the university before they make payments. 

English language competency

There is also the problem of English Language competency. Some students have been refused visas because of their ability to communicate properly in the English Language. The report noted that consular officers should not deny students visas because of English-language competency, as it is the duty of universities and colleges to evaluate language proficiency and provide English- training programmes where necessary.

Asides from the above-listed reasons, emerging US national policies fuelled by a negative public narrative toward immigrants are another reason for visa denials. The potential consequence of this visa denial trend can be a shortage of workers in the U.S Workforce in the coming years. This is as the report noted that “as other parts of the world begin to age, Africa will grow its population and today’s children will be the talent tomorrow’s global companies will be recruiting.”

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