You have your I-20 from few universities. And you are getting ready for F1 visa interview. But, you have one pending decision from your Dream school. Then your phone rings! It’s your skeptical uncle. Your parents look-up to him for his advice. You convinced your parents against his advice to study in the USA.
Your uncle says “Did you read the news? 27% decline F1 Visa issued to Indian students going to the USA? Are you sure you want to go to the USA in the scenario?”
Your parents are on the fence again. Now, you are back in your living room for another round of discussion and your skeptical uncle is also there.
Now, how do you defend your position? Maybe you are in dilemma as well! But, you are an engineer and you want see the numbers. That’s what we are going to just do.
Reasons for Decline in F1 Visa Issued in India
As per the latest data published by the U.S. Department of State, F-1 Visas issued compared to 2016 decreased by 27% for Indian students.
Why did the numbers drop?
- Number of students applying for F1 Visa deceased (and/or)
- Visa officers are not issuing visas (aka, increase in F1 Visa Denials)
And it can be combination of both – Decline in students applying for F Visa and increase in student visa rejection.
Number don’t lie. Right? Let’s dig deeper.
Total F1 Visa Issued Worldwide
Following chart (1) lists the total number of F1 Visa approved from FY 2013 to 2017. Notice the decline in F1 Visa approved from 2015 to 2016 to 2017.
Note: The data for 2017 is only till September 30, 2017.
Note: President Tump took office in Jan 2017.
The total F1 Visa approvals started to decline from Oct 1, 2015 to Sep 30, 2016 (FY 2016). Even before President Trump took office.
- Percentage Decline of F1 Visa from 2015 to 2016: 26%
- Percentage Decline of F1 Visa from 2015 to 2016: 16%
First chart shows decline in total number of F1 Visa approved between 2016 and 2017. To really find out if applications declined or rejections increased, we have to look at Total Number of F1 Visa Applications and F1 Visa Denials rate.
Total F1 Student Visa Issued for Indian Students
From the worldwide F1 Visa statistics, let’s drill down to F-1 Student visa issued to Indian Students between 2008 to 2017.
Clearly, number of F1 Visa issued in India shows declining trend from 2016 into 2017.
This trend coincides with decline in F1 Visa approvals from 2015 to 2016 to 2017.
- Percentage decline from 2015 to 2016:16%
- Percentage decline from 2016 to 2017: 27%
If the trend holds, number of Indian students going to USA could hit 30,000 mark for 2018.
F1 Visa Approva vs Denial Rate
There are four useful statistics for F1 Visa from above Chart (#3).
- Total F1 Visa Issued
- Total F1 Visa Denied
- Total F1 Visa Applicants
- F1 Visa Denial Rate
The number I’m interested is Total F1 Visa Applicants and F1 Visa Denial Rate.
Total F1 Visa Applicants
The following chart shows the total number of student F1 Visa applications (sum of F1 Visa issued and refused).
Total F1 Visa Refusals for FY 2017 is not yet published.
There’s decline in total number of F1 Visa applicants from 2015 to 2016.
- The percent decrease in F1 Visa Applicants: 16%
Why 27% Decline in F1 Visa for Indian Students
To answer the question – What is the reason for 27% decrease in number of F1 Visa Issued for Indian Students? I’m going to only compare for 2015 to 2016.
- Decrease in Total F1 Visa Applicants: 16%
- Decline in F1 Visa Approval from 2015 to 2016: 26%
- Decline in F1 Visa for Indian students from 2015 to 2016:16%
- Increase in F1 Visa Denial Rate for 2015 and 2016: 10%
Initially I proposed two possible reasons and questions for decline in number of F1 Visa approved in India.
- Decrease on number of applicants
- Increase in F1 Visa Denials
You probably know the answer. Yes, there’s decrease in total F1 Visa applicants. Yes, F1 Visa Denial rate has increased. And both factors played a role in 27% decline in F1 Visa issued to Indian students. And, I’m left with more questions.
- Why F1 Visa applications decline even before President Trump took office?
- Did F1 Visa denials rate increase because of President Trump’s policy changes?
- Did F1 Visa refusals increase to due to increase in low quality applicants?
- If President Trump had not won the Election, would the trend continued?
Now comes the biggest question:
- What should you do or What are you planning to do?
- Would your parents follow your uncle’s advice and postpone your plans to study in the USA?
In mean time, I had a discussion with a student in the USA on OPT. Let’s hear the advice he gave to his friends and relatives about coming to study in the USA.