Senator Alex Padilla, chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, and nearly two dozen other Democratic senators on Friday called on the State Department to speed up processing of student visas before the start of the school year.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, senators urged the department to increase its staff, maximize the use of virtual interviews, and provide more flexibility in a bid to overcome a backlog of student visa applications. and to ensure that international students can attend American universities. this academic year.
“We are at a critical point in the academic calendar where international students and scholars need to make visa appointments and plan their trip to the United States,” Padilla, D-Calif., Wrote alongside 23 others. senators, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D -Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., And Cory Booker, DN.J.
Although U.S. consulates are reopening after pandemic-era closures, they are still operating at partial capacity and visa appointments are limited, senators noted.
The State Department’s website lists current wait times spanning months for student visa appointments in some locations, if offered. A student seeking a student or exchange visa in Manila, Philippines, for example, has a 125-day waiting period, while in London and New Delhi only emergency appointments are currently available.