As many of you are aware some students especially from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were deported unceremoniously from the USA in Early January, needless to say this has left thousands of Prospective students anxious and worried, and this article tries to explain what really happened and how to ensure you don’t fall in such a situation.
Let’s first understand the cycle of entry to the USA.
- After an admit the student applies to obtain a Student Visa ( Most commonly F1 Visa)
- Attends a Visa Interview and records Biometric Credentials
- Submits the Documents and Passport for verification
- Once Visa is approved, the stamping is done which allows the Student to be eligible to enter the USA.
The 19 students who were deported went through the entire process and obtained the Visa formally, then why did they face the hurdle and had to be turned back? (Deported or Withdrawn), to understand this we will need to understand the dual-agencies which control the Inflow to the Country. There are 2 departments which are independent to each other that monitor the US borders.
- Department of State – The authority that Issues Visa’s
- Department of Homeland Security – That is in charge of Borders and Customs, this department manages the Airport and Officers manage the entry / denial of arrivals. (Air, Land or Waterways).
“A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States. See Admissions on the CBP website.”
What is important to note here is having a Visa Stamp on the Passport is not a “Guarantee” of entry into the USA, a Customs Border Protection Officer (CBP) is authorized to allow or disallow or revoke any entrant a chance to proceed based on the questions and response. Have a look at the FAQ’s of the Process in the below link. You will see a clear description of the Law and the rights of the CBP.
In the present case the Students went through the whole process of Applying, Getting an Admit, providing documents and even had financial doc’s, however the last chunk of the puzzle i.e. questioning by the CBP was unprepared and contributed to the sad turn of events. It is a must to know the Process and questions you may face at the Port of Entry as well as know about your Program, Duration, Costs involved before landing in the US. The link below shows the Questions that may be asked at the time of arrival, in case the CBP Office wants to examine the entrant the below form may be asked to fill ( I-867A)
It is also crucial to know if your University is legally authorized and not blacklisted, it can be verified here: (The US Department of State updates the Data on their website regularly)
Now, should you be worried or anxious about studying in the US?
Definitely not, as long as you follow the process and have your documentation ready and know your university and program there is no need to worry, Indian Students are one of the largest pools of students in the US and many have done well to live the American Dream, just ensure you don’t get trapped by fraudulent agencies or universities.