Local media in India has reported that affected individuals are from the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions of the country. Students were denied entry at the border as they failed to adequately answer questions from immigration officers and there were “discrepancies” in their visa documentation, reports suggest.

It is unclear how many students have been impacted, but media reports suggest that 21 students have been denied entry to the US. The PIE has been unable to verify the figure. The US Customs and Border Protection has not yet responded to requests from The PIE.

Indian media has suggested that students were denied entry at airports in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as New Jersey. The PIE has also been unable to independently verify these reports.

Andhra Pradesh – the Indian state where many affected students are said to come from – has set up a helpline to assist those impacted.

Chief minister of the state, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, will reportedly take up the matter to the Ministry of External Affairs to “resolve this at the earliest”.

Various reports suggest that the individuals could not “clearly communicate” with the US officers at the airport and could not satisfy expectations when asked to show financial documents.

In 2015, students bound for two California schools were denied entry to the country. The number of Indian students studying in the US in 2015 rose by close to 30% from the year before, according to the US government.

Immigration officers can still refuse entry at the border if they have reason to question the legitimacy of their travel documents or if the traveller cannot adequately answer questions about the purpose of travel, authorities said at the time.

Similarly, in the past year the US has issued more than 125,000 visas to Indian students, which is an all-time record for the number of visas issued to students from the country in one financial year. Stakeholders have been reminding students to ensure that they are prepared to answer questions and meet the demands of officials at the US border.

“Students must be clear and be able to speak about the purpose of their trip”

Founder director of Global Tree, Subhakar Alapati, noted that there are many dos and don’ts that students have to follow, including holding the correct financial, academic and admissions documentation.

“Students [must be] clear and be able to speak about the purpose [of their trip],” Alapati said. “They must make sure that they are able to explain to the immigration officers.”

Additionally, they must have evidence of having enough funds available for their stay and have tuition fees paid in advance.

“The students [must show they] are not involved in any fraud and are well aware of the situations at the university,” he added. Reports suggest that immigration officials checked messages of the students’ phones at the border.

While it remains unclear how many students have been impacted, it’s “very important that students take precautionary measures and universities and consultants, together, guide them with the information so that there will not be any more students who have to face this”, Alapati added.

Have you been impacted by the issues raised in this article or do you know anything more about the latest developments? Please get in touch with The PIE: editorial@thepienews.com


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