Choosing the USA
Every year, the number of international students in the US rises as more and more students choose the Unites States as the place they wanted to broaden their experience and continue their education. In fact, the US is now the most popular country for international students. Why do so many international students choose U.S. colleges and universities?
The United States has one of the world’s finest university systems, with outstanding programs in virtually all fields. At the undergraduate level, excellent programs exist in traditional disciplines, as well as in professional fields. At the graduate level, students have the opportunity to work directly with some of the finest minds in their field of study, with the chance to become involved with exclusive research and educational opportunities. U.S. degrees are recognized throughout the world for their excellence.
Variety of Educational Opportunities
The United States is home to several thousand colleges and universities, boasting at least ten times as many campuses as in any other country. As a result, the higher education system in the U.S. has something for everyone. Some U.S. colleges and universities stress broad educational principles; others emphasize practical, employment-related skills; and still others specialize in the arts, social sciences or technical fields. This means that no matter what you plan on studying, you will have a wide variety of programs in your particular field from which to choose.
Universities in the U.S. pride themselves on being at the forefront of technology, research and techniques, and in making the best possible equipment and resources available to their students. Even if your field does not directly involve science or engineering, you will have opportunities to become skilled in using the latest technology to conduct research, as well as obtain and process information. You will find ways to stay connected with researchers, teachers and experts in your field all over the world.
Opportunity for Research, Teaching and Training
You may be able to gain valuable experience through teaching and/or research while you help to finance your education in the U.S., particularly if you are a graduate student. Many graduate programs offer training and teaching opportunities that enable students to become teaching assistants to undergraduates and/or research assistants on special projects exploring different aspects of your field of study.
International students are some of the most valued teachers and researchers in U.S. universities because they bring new skills and ideas to the classroom and library or laboratory. This practical component of your education will prove useful in your future career, and may give you insights into your field that would not be possible through course study alone.
Although many programs are highly structured in that specific coursework requirements must be met, you will generally be able to find a wide variety of course choices to meet those requirements. For example, liberal arts coursework for an undergraduate program will include classes in languages and mathematics, but you will be given a wide variety of classes which fit those requirements, and the freedom to decide which classes best match your interests.
At the advanced stages of a degree, or if you are pursuing a graduate degree, you will be able to tailor your coursework to fit your specific academic goals, needs and interests. When you choose topics for independent study for a graduate thesis or dissertation, you can emphasize ideas that are important to you, your field and your country.
Support Services for International Students
Studying in the United States is a rewarding experience, but navigating your way through day-to-day issues can be a challenge. Many international students find that the college and university international student office is a great resource when it comes to adapting to a culturally and academically different environment. The mission of the international student office is to assist students like you, and there is often a wide range of student services that they provide
An orientation program upon your arrival is just the start of the many programs and benefits of the university international student office – throughout your time in the U.S., they can help answer questions you may have regarding your visa status, financial situation, housing, employment possibilities, health concerns and more. If you choose to complete your degree in the United States, this office often provides resume and employment assistance as graduation nears. The international student office will be an invaluable source of information and help as you make the transition into academic and cultural life in the United States.
Global Education and Long-Term Career Prospects
Experience in an international setting is a marketable commodity. Many employers seek the wide range of knowledge, adaptability and experience that international students acquire by studying in the United States. Companies in the U.S. are increasingly seeking to become a strong presence in the global marketplace. They often look to hire employees who not only have multi-cultural language skills, but those who can also help communicate, negotiate and conduct business across different cultures.
The United States is not the only country seeking strong candidates when hiring; international students are in high demand elsewhere, as well. In recent years, international companies have become much more proactive in recruiting from the pool of strong international student graduates. Your long-term career prospects can be enhanced by your experiences through the development of self-confidence, independence and cross-cultural skills – attributes which are in high demand with employers worldwide.
Campus Life Experience
When you continue your studies in the U.S., you are making a choice to broaden not only your educational opportunities, but your cultural experience, as well. Whether you attend a small, private college in a small town or a university situated in the middle of a large urban area, most universities offer a variety of student clubs and organizations to match the wide array of student interests. You can have the opportunity to immerse yourself in American culture, meeting new people and making new friends, through different organizations and associations.
International students often find that the international student office is a good starting point for campus offerings, as well as the campus student center. Your time studying abroad can be enriched by taking part in the social and cultural scene surrounding you, and you will likely find that U.S. campuses provide a rich variety academic, cultural and athletic activities that add new dimensions to your life.
Higher Education in USA, Study in USA
So many students apply to US based universities every year but do you know how many choices you have, to take your pick from? America boasts the most diverse and one of the biggest educational systems in the whole world, with 4,000 and plus universities and colleges to choose from. About 800,000 international students from the world over come to study in the US every year.
Colleges and universities in the United States have also been ranked based on overall popularity of international student choice for study. The popularity rankings include undergraduate and graduate students totaled from the previous school year (2014-2015) admissions. In the United States, the most popular university for international students is the University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles. For students looking to study in the United States, the University of Southern California offers numerous “American” things to do in regards to locations and activities, as well as abundant study programs within the school. Closely following the number one ranking among the top five choices is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, New York University and Columbia University. Also included in the overall top ten are the University of California, Northeastern University, University of Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State University. Financial Assistance for International Students
How To Select A University (Academic Factors)
- Determining what course or program you want to pursue, is an ideal way to begin your search for universities. Even if you’re unsure, many American universities will allow you to be a part of them, letting you pick your study major field later on.
- Discover what subject areas or classes the university needs from all students and then see if these are the classes that you’re willing to complete.
- Quality of the educational institution also plays a major role, which can include: average class size; faculty-student ratio; percentage of faculty that teaches etc.
- Finally, ensure that both the academic program and the institution you are taking into consideration are accredited American universities, which are recognized by 1 of the 6 regional recognized organization, while the academic programs/courses are accredited by 1 of the sixty programmatic accrediting firm.
Admission To US Universities
- Most (almost all) Universities in USA require TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) for foreign nationals (Many American universities have started accepting IELTS and PTE) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for both in state and Out of state Students (or international Students). US universities where TOEFL is not mandatory
- TOEFL is waived for countries whose native language is English Like UK, Australia, Canada.
- For Foreign nationals three letters of recommendation (sealed), copies of official transcripts (sealed) (Note: Some Universities accept verified copies by notary) are required. For working people they may get two letters from current Employers but generally Letters from Professors are preferred.
- For admission to Masters Program (Graduate Program) in US ..most Universities require undergraduate (BS or bachelor’s degree ) GPA to be 3/4 (US system). It is equivalent to 80/100,12/20*(China) and 1st division ,65%*(For most Indian Universities). Please see gpa section for conversion.Most universities will require TOEFL (from students where native language is not English) and GRE (or GMAT for MBA). Some universities may just need TOEFL.
- The deadline for fall semester are from Dec 15 to July. But apply as early as possible. Many decisions are made before the deadline. Foreign nationals may take up to 8 weeks to hear their results. In state students may hear within 5 weeks.
- Application fees (non refundable) might vary from $20 to $100 (depending on Program/University)Financing EducationFacts
- The cost of study (Tuition and fees) in USA varies from $5,000 to $50,000 (or more depending on Course/Degree) per year. Majors like Medicine and MBA have higher tuition fees as compared to Engineering.
- The cost of living depends on location. For example States like Washington, California and area around New York is costly.
- In general the cost of living may vary from $6,000 to $15,000 (or more per yr).
- Renting an apartment can vary from $450 to $1,000 (or more). Downtown (Chicago) may costs around $1200 for studio while it may be around $400 for Des Moines (IA).
- Grocery is really cheap (Walmart!).
- It is assumed that students will live in shared apartments, live out of campus and have less telephone bills and other expenses are at bay.
- Most of (nearly) all expenses Living only not Tuition fees) can be met while working on campus jobs. The hourly pay for on Campus jobs Pay from $5 to $15 (sometimes more) per hour.
- Foreign Students can work for 20 hrs per week and 40 hrs per week during summer. Students may be allowed to work out Campus after nine months of their arrival at USA.
- Students receiving any type of aid like TA/RA/Fellowship or GA don’t have to worry about costs. But Students not receiving any scholarship must come prepared for Tuition fees and Living cost for initial 2-3 months.
- In some Universities TA/RA cover part of tuition fees and not all tuition fee is waived.
- Generally universities close to cities (or in cities) have ample P/T jobs. Note that in some universities like University of Missouri, Rolla (they recently changed name), and University of Texas Arlington there is huge shortage of P/T jobs. So students planning to go to these universities must either have scholarships or adequate Funds. It’s better to contact current students via email for latest information.
- Please note : You might get admission in Top 20 University (without scholarship) so be prepared (at least for first semester’s expenses). Apply to Universities wisely.
- Good Luck!
F-1 Student Visa – USA
F-1 visa or US student visa or study visa is granted to students (for a full-time course) and is valid generally for the period of study and permission of work outside the university is not allowed. The F visa is for academic studies (like BS, MS, MBA, PhD).
- A person can enter US (on F-1 visa) only if he has a valid F-1 visa stamped on the passport.
- A student with F-1 visa cannot work off-campus at any time during the first year of study; however, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) may grant permission to accept off-campus employment after one year (or 2 semesters during Internship).
- No permission is required for on-campus employment (which can be max. 20 hrs/week and 40 hrs/week in summer semester (if not enrolled)).
- To get a student visa you need an admission letter from University (form called SEVIS I-20). You will then take an appointment with US consulate in your country. Visa officer might check your documents/your ties with home country and if you have enough funds to live and support your education.
Requirements for US Student visa (or F-1 visa)
List of SEVIS (SEVIS stands for : Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.) approved schools
How Can I Get A US Student Visa?
For F-1 visa applicants must be sufficiently proficient in English (this can be proved by Tests like TOEFL/IELTS/GRE/GMAT for non native English speakers) to pursue the course of study, should have admission letter (form SEVIS I-20) for a full-time course of study by an approved educational institution (as listed in above url), and be able to prove that sufficient funds are available (like loans/cash) to support living (for yourself and family (if anyone is coming with you)) and school expenses during the entire period of study in the United States (How to create funding documentation).
Visa officer also check if you have a strong reason to return back to your home country (after completing your education).
Documents required for US F-1 (Student) visa
- SEVIS I-20, which is provided by your University/school. I-20 form must be signed by you and school official (Graduate school/International students office).
- Online Nonimmigrant visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
- Passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States
- One colored photograph (if online upload fails) 2 X 2 inches square for each applicant, showing a full face, without covering head, against a light background.
- Original TOEFL scores and SAT, GRE, GMAT scores (as applicable). Students going to the United States to earn a Bachelor’s degree should bring their most recent mark sheets or graduation certificates.
- Students going the United States to earn a Ph.D/MS degree should bring their original undergraduate degree and mark sheets/Transcripts.
- Spouses and minor children accompanying the student to the United States should bring marriage certificates, wedding photos, and birth certificates with them to the interview, to prove the relationship between themselves and the principal applicant.
- A MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee.
- The SEVIS I-901 fee receipt.
- US Embassy and Consulate (in your home country) can issue visa (stamped on passport) 120 days or less, in advance of the course of study registration date. So if your registration date is Aug 23rd (for Fall session) then you can get visa after ~April 23rd. If you apply for your visa more than 120 days prior to your start date or registration date as provided on the Form I-20, the Embassy or Consulate will hold your application until it is able to issue the visa. TIP : we strongly recommend to apply in beginning depending on economic & political conditions (also try to reach your school as early as possible because on-campus jobs are generally first come first..
- You can enter US only if 30 days or less are remaining before your school’s start date.
- Students in or outside the U.S., who have been away from classes for more than five months, will likely need a new visa to enter the U.S. TIP : be prepared to get new visa (which might require new SEVIS from your school..) especially if you are planning to do Internship outside USA.
- Always keep SEVIS documents with you.. (even if you start working for a company)
- Don’t panic if you get F-1 visa for 2 years and you are enrolling for a PhD (which is 3+ years)
- Remember student visa is only valid as long as you are a full time student..for example if you get F-1 visa for 5 years that doesn’t mean you can stay in USA after completing studies. After completing MS (1.5 -3 years) you might have to get a OPT or other US visa (to be in legal status)
F1 Visa Questions
- Why the specified University.
- Which Universities did you apply to (both admits and rejects).
- Show me your GRE scorecard.
- Where did you Undergraduate from.
- Show me your Undergraduate degree.
- Who is sponsoring you.
- Are you married?
- What does your father do.
- What is your father’s Income.
- How many brothers and sisters do you have.
- Do you have any relatives in USA.
- Why don’t you do this course in your country?
- What will you do after completing MS.
- Show your Experience Certificate.
- Why Study in USA.
- Did you got Scholarships.
- Have you got any Loans.
- Show your Pass Books/Bank statements.
- What is your Undergraduate GPA/Percentage.
- Do you have any backlogs?
- Are your parents retired? How will they pay.
- Tell about your university.
- Mention some professor names.
- Tell me how can you prove that you are gonna come back.
- Where did your brother/parents completed their studies.
- What’s your Religion.
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Have you ever been to US?
- What will you do after coming back to home.
- You have so many brothers and sisters so your fathers saving is just for you? How will you finance?
- Where do your parents live (If they live in USA).
- Do you know anyone (in USA) in your University?
- Do you know anyone in US?
- What will you do if your Visa is rejected.
- Will you come back to home during summers.
- What do you think. Why University is giving Scholarship to you.?
- Where are you planning to stay in USA?
- Have you paid your semester fees?
- You don’t have scholarship and you want to come back.. how will you pay your debt?
F-1 visa success rate It really depends from which country you are applying. Success rate is 80%+ for some countries in Europe, Australia, while it’s low < 50% for countries like India, China.
While there are many types of visa which are awarded to people, the “F” Visa is the common type of student visa issued to International students who want to pursue their education in the United States. Of this type of visa, there are 3 subtypes; namely:
- F-1 VISA: This is issued to International students who plan on entering the US for full time studies.
- F-2 VISA: This is the visa which is issued to the dependents of the F-1 visa recipients (wife, husband, children etc).
- F-3 VISA: This is issued to the students living in the regions bordering the US, who come to the United States to study (Mexico and Canada).
F-1 VISA – ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:
The F-1 visa is mostly issued to students with the following criteria:
- They must have a I-20 form issued by a University of good standing (approved university which is authorized to grant I-20)
- The applicant has documents highlighting enough bank balance to support the students living and education related expenses throughout his or her education period.
- Documents that put forth the necessities of the student to return to his or her home country on completion of his course.
ALL ABOUT THE I-20 FORM:
- The I-20 form is issued by the U.S University as a confirmation of an International student’s admittance into the same.
- This document is issued by SVEP (Student Visitor and Exchange Program) certified schools and includes the SEVIS (Student Exchange and Visitor Information System) ID which is unique for each International student.
- The visa interview can be booked only with the SEVIS ID and the I-20 form.
The Visa Process from Start to Finish:
- Once an International student is admitted into the University he will receive the I-20 form from the same.
- Using the I-20 form and the SEVIS ID, register, pay and obtain the SEVIS fee receipt.
- Through the official VFS website complete the online visa application DS-160 form using the above two documents.
- Submit, pay and obtain the receipt for the visa application fee.
- Fix up a date as early as possible to allow ample time for the visa processing.
- Ensure proper preparation to deal with the commonly asked questions in the visa interview and master the tips to show off yourself in the little time that you are provided with during the interview.
- Make sure that the necessary documents that include the I-20 form, completed DS-160 form, receipts of the visa application fee and the SEVIS fee, visa appointment letter, strong financial support documents, documents supporting your personal tie-ups with your home country ensuring your return, passport, recent photograph, birth certificate, proof of father’s salary and job details, academic transcripts, SOP, resume, GRE and TOEFL score reports are ready to go.
- On the day of the interview look sharp and arrive early at the U.S Embassy with all the required documents.
- Have all the documents in order to prevent delay or sloppiness in front of the Visa officer.
- Once it’s your turn, greet the officer confidently and have a smiling, pleasant face throughout the interview.
- Stay calm and composed. Answer only if asked and directly to the point.
- Take care of your body language to avoid giving a bad impression and maintain direct eye contact at all times.
- Once the interview is over be sure to thank the Officer and exit in style.
When you know what you are in for, you will be able to prepare yourself both physically and mentally. Give your best shot at the visa interview and hope for the best results.
CPT Vs OPT
CPT (Curricular Practical Training )
You can work (in CPT) after 9 months after entering US (i.e after completing 2 semesters). You have to be enrolled with the school to get CPT. You need to get new SEVIS and permission from school (you can contact department of international students/office for paperwork). It’s better to make sure that company offering you internship is aware of some paperwork (minimal). It can be Co-op or Internship. You need to get CPT if you get an internship offer. You can get paid in CPT (remember to pay taxes). You should not work more than 12 months (full time) in CPT. If you do so, you may not get your OPT and your OPT application will probably be denied. Generally most students work 11 months (max). Sometimes your OPT may get extended (you might need permission and SEVIS from your school for extension). Part-time CPT employment does not affect your eligibility for OPT. Some schools may allow CPT only after completion of one/two semesters. CPT can be P/T or full-time.
OPT ( Optional Practical Training )
A student can work in OPT after graduating from school (completing all your course, if in case you have to defend your thesis or your courses are still remaining you may not be eligible for OPT). You will have to apply to US department of Immigration for approval to work in OPT. You will have to initiate this process approximately about 6 months before graduation as it can take time (you can get help in this process from international student’s office of your university). During that time you can visit your home country and come back (we will advise you to do this in beginning (if you have a job offer) of OPT (international travel). USCIS has made the recommendation that you should have proof of employment upon re-entry to the US when you’re in F-1 OPT status. OIS therefore does not recommend that you travel (including Canada) if you do not have employment. Once your OPT expires, you have 60 days to either continue with your F-1 status by enrolling in another F-1 program or leave the country. You will lose your status in US if you don’t have OPT started within 2 months grace period. You can work for anyone in OPT. Your job on OPT must related to your course field. OPT is a great option that US govt. provides to international students for finding jobs. It is typically given for a validity of 12 months. OPT cannot be longer than 12 months (if student does not qualify for an OPT extension).
STEM Degrees and OPT
With new OPT rules, if you belong to STEM Category you can get an extension for another 24 months (only if you are on regular OPT, your have STEM degree from accredited SEVP-certified institution and your employer uses e-verify).
You get 12 months practical training for each higher degree you obtain. So if you do BS then you will get 12 months and if you do another degree (like MS) you will get it again.
United States visa types : F1, H1B, J1, L1, B1
J1 visa is for work and study related exchange programs.
Sometimes, a J-1 program will require that the beneficiary spend at least two years outside of the US (not in Countries Like Canada or UK) before being permitted to switch to a different non-immigrant visa or to permanent residency.
This program is administered by the US information agency (USIA), a division of the Department of State
To Obtain J1 Waiver
- In some situations, a waiver may be granted if the 2-year departure would cause exceptional hardship to an applicant’s family.
- If the applicant imparted some benefit to the US (in Medicine), or if he participated in the program at his own expense.
- A “no objection” waiver can be issued if an applicant’s home country does not object to the applicant’s decision not to return home. To apply for this, the applicant must contact his country’s embassy in the US, or if he has returned home, must apply through the foreign office.
- If you can demonstrate a “well founded fear of political or religious persecution” if forced to return to your country. You may be able to obtain a “Refugee”, “Asylum”, or “Persecution” status.
It is a ‘specialty occupation’ visa for temporary employment. its duration is 3 years (initial request) and later it can be extended for another 3 additional years. There are restrictions for dependents (they may not work).
You cannot transfer H1B petition from one employer to another. The new employer must apply for a new H1B visa with the Department of Labor with copies of CV, transcripts and other documents.
B1 Visitor for Business; B2 visa or visitor visa for Pleasure is available for coming to the US for business or pleasure. It can be granted from 30 days to 10 years (multiple entry with maximum of 6 months stay in each visit) Nationals of some countries may be eligible to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa.
L-1 – Intra-company Transfer Visas
L-1 visas are available to workers, executives, managers and specialized employees moving to their employer’s US site. Spouse of L1 visa can work too. Executives and managers holding L-1 visas may be eligible for permanent residency without the need for a labor certification.
Permanent Residency-Employment Based (“Green Card”)
- First Preference Persons of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Multinational Executives and Managers
- Second Preference Persons Holding advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business
- Third Preference Skilled Workers and Professionals
- Fourth Preference Employment Creation Investors
F1 Visa work permit
Persons pursuing a full course of study at a school in the United States may be eligible for a visa for the course of their study and, in certain instances, a period for practical training in their field.
International students who are maintaining a full time course of study can work on campus part time (max. 20 hrs per week) during the academic year and full time during the summer months and any periods when school is not in session. On campus employment assumes that the work will not interfere with your studies and that you are maintaining good academic standing. No special permission or document is needed to give you permission to work on campus.
Training allows students to work for up to a total of twelve months in a job related to their field of study. For full details about Training you should read the practical training handout prepared by the Office of International Education and Exchange. The maximum amount of time granted to work on F-1 OPT status is 12 months per degree level plus a possible H1B cap gap extension OR a 24 month extension for those who qualify (certain Degrees like Engineering/CS/sciences (STEM degrees) etc). Practical training can be granted at the following times:
- During the student’s annual vacation period and at other times when school is not in session if you are currently enrolled and intend to register for the next term while school is in session, provided that the practical training does not exceed twenty hours per week.
- after completion of course requirements (but before completion of a course of study) excluding thesis or dissertation if the student is in a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree program after graduation or last term of attendance.
- Applications for practical training are sent to the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS). It takes the INS about three months to reply to an practical training application so students should plan well in advance for this kind of work permission.
- NEVER ENTER the U.S. in any VISA STATUS OTHER THAN F-1 (for example H1B) while on your OPT (it will invalidate your OPT!)
US Green Card Lottery
What Is The Diversity Visa Program?
The DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM, known as the GREEN CARD LOTTERY was enacted by the United States Congress in 1965. The CURRENT PROGRAM allocates 55,000 visas, known as “Green Cards” to applicants from certain eligible countries around the world. The selected applicants will be chosen in a random drawing or “LOTTERY” conducted by the U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
To obtain a Green Card, a completed formatted entry application must be filed with the U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT. The U.S. State Department will then select the “WINNERS” by a computer drawing or “LOTTERY”. Winners will be notified by mail. Winners will then receive official forms to be filled out and an interview will be scheduled at the nearest United States Consulate to receive their Green Cards. Winners residing in the United States can adjust their status and have their interview scheduled with the Immigration & Naturalization Service without leaving the country.
Note: Your country will be ineligible if your birth country that sent more than 50,000 immigrants to USA in previous 5 years. Some of them are China, India, Philippines, South Korea.
What rights does a Green Card offer?
A Green Card gives a person the LEGAL RIGHT to LIVE, WORK AND STUDY permanently in the United States and to enter and leave the country freely. You may work in the many government, public and private jobs that are available. Green Card holders also receive health, education and other benefits. They can also sponsor relatives for Green Cards. The Green Card DOES NOT affect present citizenship. A Green Card holder may later apply for United States citizenship, if desired
You must be eighteen (18) years old. You can enter wherever you are living – even in the United States. You must have at least your country’s equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma OR two years work experience in a job which requires two years of training. You do not have to speak or write English. You do not need to have relatives living in the United States. You do not need to have a certain amount of money or a job waiting, BUT you must be able to show that you can work and/or support yourself. You cannot be a criminal, cannot be mentally disturbed, and cannot be a threat to the United States’ national interest. You can enter the Green Card Lottery even if you have an immigration petition pending, such as a relative or employer?s petition. Entering the Green Card lottery does not affect current or past petitions.
Asset value document for student visa
While the personal interview with the immigration officer in the embassy is by far the most important step you must finish, without proper financial documents to prove your ability to pay for your education, no matter how good you perform in the interview, you application for admission will be denied.
Financial proof that validates sufficient funds to support the student throughout his course of study is thus the most important document which is mandatory to obtain a study visa. Creating the asset value statement must be done with care as it should highlight all of your families (immediate family i.e. mother or father or sibling)assets and funds with their estimate in U.S dollars.
POSSIBLE FINANCIAL SPONSORS:
A student can be financially sponsored through 3 ways namely,
- STUDY LOANS FROM BANKS: Loans up to 15 lakhs are offered by various banks. Certain banks require an account to be created before issuing the loan. Choosing the banks with best interest rates will serve beneficial for the student. Documents are needed from the respective banks for the same.
- SPONSORS FROM FAMILY MEMBERS: This includes any earning member of the family. Joint sponsors are also available in which both the father and the mother can sponsor the child’s education. The sponsor’s salary and job details along with the proof of relationship with the student are required. The value of the assets belonging to the student can also be used to show financial support. While they do accept sponsorship from other family members’such as aunts and uncles, this is frowned upon!
- SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED BY THE UNIVERSITY ALONG WITH THE ADMITS: In this case, the Universities take responsibility for funding the education of the student throughout his study period. This will be mentioned on the I-20 form which is issued as proof of the student’s admittance into the University. Despite this sponsor, the student is advised to have sufficient bank balance for his accommodation and stay period in the United States.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:
- Rs 20 or Rs 5 stamp paper.
- Bank passbooks and statements showing recent transactions.
- Letters from bank confirming fixed deposits and savings.
- Salary proof of the person sponsoring you.
- Proof showing the estimate of shares possessed.
- CA statement.
- Official letter from the sources of funding confirming the same.
- Affidavit of support forms for respective Universities must be downloaded and completed by the respective bank officials.
- Proof depicting the summary of all your assets and their estimate worth in U.S currency.
CREATING THE ASSET VALUE STATEMENT:
This statement along with your other bank statements completes the financial criteria required by your course of study. Many visas have been rejected due to lack of sufficient funding which makes this document mandatory while applying for the visa. All the following assets along with their estimate must be put forth while creating the summary statement. The assets include:
- a) Properties and lands owned.
- b) Vehicles.
- c) Jewelry and furniture
- d) Bank accounts, fixed deposits, liquid funds and current savings.
- e) Sources of total income including stocks and bonds.
- The format can be any one of the standard formats suggested and must be printed on Rs 50 or Rs 20 stamp-paper.
- It must include the applicant name, his address and assets owned.
- The document must be created to show sufficient funds for both the years of study.
- The form must be signed by the applicant and authorized by the Notary Public.
These statements must be made ready to submit when asked as it shows that a student is financially secure during his education period in the United States removing any doubts of his eligibility for the visa.
The visa interview; the final phase of the higher education process, is as important as the other parts of the higher education process. It confirms your entry into the United States to study at the Institution of your choice. Without the visa, no matter how much hard work you put into the other parts of the admission process, you will not be able to pursue your education in America. While getting a visa is not very difficult, you will increase your chances of obtaining a visa, if you are prepared. There are two types of student visas namely,
- F-1 VISA: This is the most prevalent student visa issued in the case of admittance into an academic institution where the registered course demands more than 18 study hours per week i.e. this is the visa which is provided for full time students.
- M-1 VISA: This type of visa is issued when the students are admitted into the United States for a fixed period of time. Provided commonly for people who are going to the US for non academic programs and training.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE VISA INTERVIEW:
The visa interview typically has a duration of about 3 to 5 minutes during which the student has to prove his eligibility to study in the United States. The student’s main objective must be to make sure that he does not give the U.S Embassy any reason from his or her side to reject the visa.
1. DOCUMENTS TO BE TAKEN:
- I-20/SEVIS form issued by the U.S Institution.
- Completed DS-160 online visa application form.
- Receipt of the visa application fee.
- SEVIS receipt fee.
- Visa appointment letter.
- Passport and recent photograph.
- Documents that confirm your financial and personal tie-ups to your homeland which requires your compulsory return after the completion of your course in the United States.
- Strong financial support documents and bank statements.
- If financially dependent on another person, proof of relationship with the particular person such as birth certificate is necessary along with the person’s salary proof and job details.
- Academic certificates, transcripts, SOP, resume, original GRE and TOEFL score reports.
- 2. Tips for the Interview:
- Proper preparation: This is mandatory if you hope to answer all the presented questions in the interview with confidence.
- Documents: The previous night, check if all the documents which you will require are indeed present in your bag. This will lower the tension and stress which you will have to face.
- Arrange the Documents: Arranging the documents in proper order in a folder ensures that it can be produced as soon as it is asked for without confusion and chaos.
- Dress: Neat and presentable appearance is very essential, so dress formal.
- Stay Calm and answer with Confidence: Calm demeanor, direct eye-contact while answering the questions and precise, to the point answers work wonders in the interview.
- Body Language: The interview officers will in addition to the tone of your voice, also check your body language. So make sure to practice your body language as well.
3. DONT’S IN THE INTERVIEW:
- Never attempt to use falsified documents. The risks involved are too high and are just not worth it.
- Never misrepresent even the smallest information.
- Don’t talk or submit any document unless you are asked to.
- Make sure the documents are presentable. Don’t use torn or crushed documents.
- Try to be calm and confident while you are answering the questions and if you are still nervous don’t make it obvious.
- Don’t stammer or elaborate a point. Answer honestly, fluently and precisely.
- Never be late for the interview.
Proper preparation will instill the confidence required to handle the D-Day. Keeping the above points in mind will help making the visa interview less strenuous.
Getting the visa is just like every other process that shapes higher education and like every step this step also requires proper knowledge of the scenario and preparation in order to succeed in it. Applying for the visa at the earliest i.e. as soon as you receive the I-20 form from the institution of your choice will allow enough time for processing and issuing of the visa.
ALL ABOUT THE VISA INTERVIEW:
Preparing for the D-Day requires the following namely,
1. DOCUMENTS TO BE MADE READY TO APPLY FOR THE VISA:
- I-20 form issued by the U.S University of your choice as proof of your admittance.
- SEVIS ID. The Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) maintain online information about the International students enrolled in the United States.
- A clear photograph not older than 6 months.
- Dates of your recent visits to the United States and any other foreign countries.
- Resume and passport.
2. BOOKING THE VISA INTERVIEW:
- Through the official VFS website complete the non-immigrant Visa electronic application DS-160 form.
- The visa application fee must be submitted for the completion of DS-160 confirmation page.
- There are 4 U.S Embassies in India located at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Fix up an appointment date at the consulate nearest to u.
3. PREPARATION FOR THE INTERVIEW:
- It is very important to answer the visa questions in a clear and precise manner as you have only about 3-5 minutes to make an impression on the Visa Officer which makes preparation a must.
- The main things that the Visa Officer is looking for is that you must be financially stable during your education period and there must not be a circumstance wherein u become an illegal immigrant of the United Sates after the visa period is over.
- Getting the documents ready, which will support your claim that you are indeed financially secure, have the ability to pay for your education. Additionally, also prepare the documentation which will prove that you do plan on returning back to your homeland, after your studies are completed.
- Get ready to answer some common questions such as “Why the United States of America?”, “Why this specific university in the US?”, “What are your future plans?” and so on. Coherent answers are very essential in deciding your eligibility.
- Go through online forums that discuss the common questions asked, provide tips on how to answer them, help in improving body language. Also go through the official VFS website for the list of documents required and additional information.
- Make sure that all the required documents such as i-20, DS-160 form, passport, visa fee receipt, SEVIS fee receipt, visa appointment letter, transcripts, degree certificates, GRE and TOEFL score reports, birth certificate, etc are ready. Don’t miss out anything.
4. ON THE D-DAY:
- Make sure that you reach the Embassy at least 45 minutes in advance, dressed neatly.
- Ensure that you are carrying all the necessary documents along with supporting documents.
- Arrange all the documents in the proper order and do not submit them unless you are asked to.
- After clearing two checkpoints you will be admitted into the visa hall where your fingerprint will be taken.
- Soon after this you will be called for the interview. Make sure to greet the Officer and have a calm demeanor, pleasant face and direct eye-contact at all times.
- Speak fluently and effortlessly giving direct answers.
Adequate preparation and a sound knowledge on what to expect will ease out the tensions accompanying the visa interview making it a smoother journey
The F-1 Visa is the common type of student visa issued to International students who wish to pursue their higher studies in America. Without the visa, you will not be allowed to enter the country. Even if you have another type of visa, have entered the country, you will not be allowed to enroll in the university of your choice if you do not have the F-1 visa. Obtaining this visa requires proper preparation and adequate interview skills as many reasons can cause its rejection. If for some reason, you visa application has been rejected, other options are available, so do not worry.
REAPPLYING FOR F-1 VISA:
If your first application was rejected, you do have the option of reapplying. Many students whose visa applications are denied the first time, are accepted the second time around. But, it is important that you obviate any possible negatives which might have caused the rejection the first time around.
COMMON REASONS FOR F-1 VISA REJECTION:
- Lack of sufficient financial proof to support the student’s education.
- Lack of document proof that confirms necessary return to the home country after completion of education.
- Falsified documents.
- Inadequate English language skills.
- Missing or incorrect documents.
- Behavior during the interview.
- Failure to explain the choice of a particular course and University.
- Lack of preparation to provide satisfactory answers during the interview.
- Background check failed (due to history, conflicting names etc)
If you find that any of the above reasons is the reason behind the reject, work to remove them, and try again. You are allowed to apply for the student visa a total of three times in one year, many students who receive rejects in the first and second tries, do get admits in their third and final try. So do not lose hope and keep on trying.
However, if you are rejected the third time around as well. Then you have available the following options:
1. EDUCATION IN OTHER COUNTRIES:
- If studying abroad is the final decision, there are plenty of excellent universities in other countries which offer the same quality of education (at times, the same quality at a cheaper cost).
- Australia, Canada and Europe offer high quality education and have many high ranked Universities along with U.S Universities in the World Rankings.
- Visa process is less strenuous in these countries and along with the facilities and the opportunities available, it serves as an ideal choice.
2. STUDYING IN HOME COUNTRY:
- There are many good colleges that offer quality education and ample job opportunities in each student’s homeland itself.
- The necessary tests can be prepared for and attempted to secure admissions in these colleges.
- It is always beneficial to study in one’s own country as the education can always be used to better the situations in the country.
3. APPLYING FOR A JOB:
- The final aim of any student is to secure a good job so why not apply now?
- Ample job opportunities are available according to a student’s qualification and all it requires is a good resume.
- Education can still be an option and work experience will only add more points to the profile.
- Work experience also provides an exposure of real world training.
4. PURSUING CRASH COURSES WHILE APPLYING AGAIN NEXT YEAR:
- If you find that you have to wait another year to reapply, use the time to undertake some course of your interest. These courses will improve your knowledge, may help you obtain a good job after graduation.
So even if your visa was rejected do not lose hope, just keep trying until you succeed.
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