Below is a graph with information about F-1 (student) visa issuances from 1998, the early days of Vietnamese studying in the US, to 2017, which ended on 30 September last year. These data are from this Excel file on the US State Department website: Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances by Visa Class and by Nationality. Just download and look for Viet Nam.
As you can see below, there has been some volatility in the number of student visas issued to Vietnamese students in the last few years. There was a…
- substantial 35% increase from 2013-14
- somewhat more modest yet still impressive increase of 20.44% from 2014-15
- decrease of 11.28% from 2015-16
- rebound increase of 8.62% from 2016-17
We’ll have to wait until the FY18 results to determine whether the 2016 decrease was an aberration or a trend. One possible indicator is the fact that the 2017 number is lower than that of 2015 by 642 visas.
Keep in mind that these issuances include renewals and that about 9% of all Vietnamese students (PDF download of Viet Nam Fact Sheet) enrolled in US higher education have Optional Practical Training (OPT) status, according to the IIE Open Doors 2017 report. That includes 2,345 Vietnamese students in higher education, or 9% of the total, as of December 2017. (Open Doors and SEVIS use different data sets, the former from a survey of higher education institutions administered a year before the results are released and the latter using real-time and comprehensive data.)