1. Should we carry original documents or photocopies?
The applicant should carry the original and one photocopy of all documents.
2. Do students need any special documents?
You must present current documentary evidence that sufficient liquid funds are available from a specifically designated and reliable financial resource to pay all travel, living and school expenses. If the support is from the educational institution in the form of a scholarship or assistantship, it should be noted on the Form I-20. If the support is from a sponsor (normally a very close relative), you must present a notarized Form I-134 Affidavit of Support available free of charge at any office of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service in the USA. Stating willingness to finance your education expenses, along with copies of the sponsor’ s most recent income tax return and bank statements for the past six months.
An F-1 applicant must have evidence of sufficient and readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and that barring unforeseen circumstances adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study as mentioned on I-20 form. The number of years required to complete the course of study will be determined by the school and noted on the I-20.
3. Do I have to pay the first year tuition in advance?
No — paying the tuition expenses in advance is one of several ways to show proof of funds, but it is NOT a requirement to pay in advance.
4. What if the university will not accept the tuition fees in advance?
It is the university’ s decision to accept or not accept the fees in advance. The Consulate has no influence over universities policies regarding this. Students should consult with prospective universities regarding their policies well in advance of applying for a student visa.
5. What documents should I show to prove that I could pay for my education?
There are no specific documents that prove a student is able to pay for his/her education. Bank account statements, chartered accountant statements, employment letters, and property documents are the most common documents used to show proof of funds.
6. What if my university does not require that the TOEFL or GRE?
Students whose prospective university does not require that they take the TOEFL or GRE should provide a letter from the university stating the same. However, the Consulate recommends that all student visa applicants provide standardized test scores.
7. Is it required that I apply by Drop Box?
Only returning Student applicants may use the drop-box First time Student visa applicants applying for four-year undergraduate programs or graduate programs leading a master or doctoral degree must make an appointment and be interviewed. Please be aware that after reviewing your case a Consular Officer may require a personal interview before a final decision is made.
8. How do I prove that I can afford to attend school in the United States?
An I-20 shows the amount of funding you must have available to cover the first year’ s expenses. The total amount includes tuition and fees, living expenses, expenses of dependents (if applicable), and other expenses (as applicable). You must prove that you have immediate funds available to cover this amount. If you are going to a two-years Master’ s program, then you must laso show that funds are or will likely be available to cover the same amount for the second year.
9. What if I have not yet received my degree certificate?
Yes – you may still apply, but please be sure to include your Individual and consolidated mark Sheets and provisional certificate along with Course Completion Certificate duly signed and stamped with college seal by principal
10. How soon after getting my I-20 may I apply for the visa?
You may apply for the visa no earlier than 90 days before the first day of school as indicated on the I-20 form.
11. What if I have received a full tuition waiver from my prospective university?
You must prove that funds are immediately available to cover the first year’ s costs, and show evidence that funds will be available for all subsequent years. Any financial documentation you provide should be in support of this. This applies to ALL student visa applicants.
12. Does having a relative in the US affect visa application?
13. What about a foreign sponsor?
The motive has to be established clearly. Sixty per cent of the students, who go to the US for education, do so on some sort of aid. Education in the US is a costly proposition. So, if someone is funding you, then the US Consul would want to know why, and under what terms.
14. For a student visa with sponsorship, is it for or against one’ s case if the sponsor is (a) a US citizen, (b) an Indian citizen?
There is no regulation for or against the nature of citizenship of the sponsor for US visa.
15. Is there a specific number or quota annually for student visas?
There is no ceiling on student visas according to US immigration law.
16. I am a student going to US for PhD. My I-20 says that my funding is for one year, after which it will be reviewed. Will I have to show funds for the rest of the three-four years of study?
At the visa office, the students must show funds (academic plus living) for one year, and access to funds for subsequent years. If your aid covers your overall expenses for the first year, then it is OK but it’ s better to show funds availability to take care of da-yto-day expenses in US.
17. I get my visa on one I-20; then I get another I-20 from another school, which I now want to join. What will I have to do?
You will have to apply for another visa.
18. How many attempts are allowed if visa is denied?
Especially for Mumbai people two attempts in duration of two years, with a gap of three working days between each attempt. There is also a mail in facility after two attempts where you can mail the US Consulate your documents for review. What has to be kept in mind is that, with each new attempt some fresh documents have to be produced. Visa consuls go by the rules, and if same papers are submitted, then the application hardly stands a chance.
But In the consulates of New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai where one has to attend for F1- Visa interview through www.ttsvisas.com one can attend any number of times without restriction but with a gap of three working days (don’ t include Saturdays and Sundays while counting). Every time you need to pay the application fee and it’ s better to apply only if you are able to show considerable change in your case, than your previous interview.
19. Does the reputation of the college have any bearing on my visa application?
No. However, the reputation of the college establishes the motive. If you are going to a reputed college, intentions are clear. But if you are going to an institution no one has heard of, and which has not asked you to take any standard tests, then that makes the US consul suspicious. Though, in some cases, when students are going for some specialist courses, which are not offered anywhere else, a marginal school would do.
20. If I have been chosen by more than 10 schools, does that help?
Yes, it establishes that you are a superstar. There is no direct relation, though it completes the picture for the consul, and helps them evaluate the case better. remember the more i-20′ s you receive, there’ some chance for visa.
21. What should a student wishing a Graduate (Master’ s) study in the US do if he is financing his studies himself?
He will have to show how he would transfer his funds from India to the US. Does he have a foreign exchange release permit from an authorized bank or a sponsor in the US to take care of his living and education in US dollars? Moreover, he should convince the US Consul that he has strong ties in India, which prove that he is not an intending immigrant.
22. For students going for further studies, what is considered as conclusive proof that they are coming back? How much assets or liquid cash on hand should be shown for a student visa?
There is no fixed amount of assets or liquid cash specified in the US immigration law. The law that operates is that the interviewing US Consul should be convinced that the applicant is a bona fide student, wanting genuinely to pursue higher studies in America and return after his education to India and apply his knowledge in India. The ties that could be shown by students, would involve his economic attraction in India after graduation and social roots to which he would return rather than stay in the US. Statistics in the past have shown that 7 to 8 out of 10 students do not return and therefore the Consulates in India are very careful in granting student visas.
23. Is a student visa guaranteed when an I-20 form is issued by a University?
A student visa is not guaranteed on the issuance of the I-20 alone as the applicant has to convince the US Consul that he is not an intending immigrant by showing proof of his permanent ties in India.
24. If sufficient funds are not available, can a loan from banks or other institutions help in getting a student visa?
The US Consul will have to be convinced about the mode of repayment of the loan by the applicant. Practically, if loans are shown, then getting a visa becomes difficult.
25. For a student visa, can a student be partially sponsored by a US-based sponsor and partly by an India-based sponsor?
The US Consul has to be convinced about the genuineness of the case. Prima facie, the case cannot be rejected because two sponsors are involved.
26. Do visas for students get rejected if the applicants have brothers and sisters in America?
This is an individual situation. The decision depends on a case-by-case basis. If the US Consul feels that the applicant is trying to get to the US in the guise of a student with possible support of siblings in America, he may be rejected. Likewise, if the applicant’ s brother or sister had gone to the US on an NIV and adjusted status to permanent visa, the applicant does become a “risk candidate” and it will be then left to the judgment of the interviewing officer to decide.