How cumbersome visa process prevents NALSAR students from attending International Moot Court Competition

“The time gap between the national and international competitions is less. And I wasn’t sure if our visa process would get cleared,” Kiara said. Kiara and her teammates- Anushri Rajiv Bhuta and Archita Satish qualified for the world rounds in Florida, USA which is to be held from April 7-9. While Kiara and Archita have completed their Visa application process, they have not been able to secure a slot for an interview.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  23 March 2022 5:20 AM GMT
How cumbersome visa process prevents NALSAR students from attending International Moot Court Competition

When Kiara Dsouza, a second-year law student at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), became runner-up in the 26th Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, she was more concerned than happy given the cumbersome visa process.

"The time gap between the national and international competitions is less. And I wasn't sure if our visa process would get cleared," Kiara said.

Kiara and her teammates- Anushri Rajiv Bhuta and Archita Satish qualified for the world rounds in Florida, USA which is to be held from April 7-9. While Kiara and Archita have completed their Visa application process, they have not been able to secure a slot for an interview.

"We have been trying to get a slot at various US Consulates including Hyderabad, around the country. There are simply just no slots available," Kiara says.

Without interviews, the team would not be able to procure a visa and that would automatically prevent them from participating in the international round despite qualifying and securing the runners-up position at the National Rounds in February.

"We have been preparing for this competition since before the proposition was released so it's been over 7 months. We are all genuinely interested in these areas of law and therefore this moot would in fact be an incredible opportunity for us to learn and interact with stalwarts in these areas," the NALSAR team said.

Anushri, who is a US passport holder doesn't need a visa, but she cannot participate in the international round without her teammates. "We have spoken with members of our University's administration who have tried their best, and still are trying to contact people and write to individuals who they felt could probably help to expedite our visa process," she explained.

Three other teams from different Law Universities across India have qualified to attend the International rounds of the Moot Court Competition.

One of the teams from Punjab wrote to the Stetson University of Law, the organizers of the Moot Court Competition, requesting to conduct the competition online. However, their request was turned down and they were requested to take the issue to Twitter to help amplify the problem and hopefully meet the right dignitaries who can expedite their visas.

"This is exactly what we did. We took to Twitter. While we have received tremendous support from a lot of people, so far, nothing has worked out. Missing out on such a prestigious opportunity to represent the Indian Contingent after intense preparation for over 7 months, solely due to lack of visas would be highly disheartening," Kiara said.

Stetson Moot Competition is one of the largest contests that is dedicated to global environmental issues.

Indian National Rounds of the 26th Stetson International Environmental Moot was organized by Jindal Global Law School in association with Surana & Surana International Attorneys.

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