The Department of State's annual “student visa cable,” sent to consular posts on May 3, 2006, reviews prior guidance on student visa issuance. The 2006 cable reminds consular officers that:

  • When examining a student’s intent to depart the after a course of study, focus on the applicant’s immediate and near-term intent, remembering that by nature foreign students stay in the for extended periods of time.
  • Since academic institutions have already determined that the student is qualified to enroll in school, as a general rule consular officers should not question the school's judgement. Students should be able to articulate their reasons fo rentering their field of study and choosing to study at a particular institution.
  • Focus on the student and not the institution during adjudication…Consular officers should not second-guess a student's choice of school, and they should not deny a visa based solely on the student’s choice of a particular academic institution.
  • Student visas may now be issued up to 120 days before the program start date. Posts may accept applications for adjudication and processing even before the 120-day period, but may not issue the actual visa until 120 days before the start of studies.
  • DOS supports the efforts of consular posts to make visa interviews available to student on a priority basis, and posts should continue to expedite student and exchange visitor applications as necessary. AMDOC #: 200606001