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ALL YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT US F1 STUDENT VISA

WHAT'S FI US STUDENT VISA?

An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for those wishing to study in the United States. Aspiring students must file an F1 visa application if they plan to enter the US to attend a university or college, high school, seminary, conservatory, language training programme, or any other academic institution.s You will also need an F-1 visa if your course of study is more than 18 hours a week.

WHAT'S 1-20, THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT HURDLE?

For obvious reasons, it's not easy to sail through the whole process, and that does not mean it's a Herculean task either. All you need is to prepare well. That's do your homework. Once you receive your I-20, an official endorsement of your academic acceptance by the chosen university, you can apply for F-1 Visa.

After you get favourable decision from universities you have applied to, take a final call on which college you want to attend. Once you receive your I-20, an official endorsement of your academic acceptance by the chosen university, you can apply for F-1 visa.

120 days before your programme commencement date

As part of US visa guidelines, visas cannot be issued more than 120 days before the programme start date indicated on your Form I-20. Usually, the FALL courses at most universities in the USA start in August-September and hence, you can apply anytime after April-May correspondingly. Some courses start in summer (June) and in such instances, we do have people applying way early.

Your financial documents must be foolproof

Part 7 of I-20 indicates the amount required to cover the first year's expenses. This may be on the higher side. It includes not only tuition fees and living expenses, but also incidental expenses. A solvency certificate issued by your bank to get your I-20 may not be sufficient to show to the visa officer. Visa officers might look at annual family income plus the liquid assets of the sponsors to ensure that the student will be able to support her/his study and living needs in the US till her/his programme ends. If there is still a shortfall, you can apply for an education loan from a trustworthy bank. Also make sure not to deposit a large amount of money abruptly in your account as visa officers may smell a rat and question its source.

POSSIBLE QUESTIONS DURING VISA INTERVIEW

Most questions will be related to these 5 categories:

- Your study plans
- Your university choice
- Your academic capability
- Your financial status
- Your post-graduation plans

SOME INTERVIEW TIPS

* Keep your file neatly-catalogued with every possible document in place and marked.

*Though you won't be asked for any documents, it is important to ensure all documents are filed and catalogued.

* Go through the Admission Essay or SOP you have submitted, the complete list of universities and courses you applied to

*Thoroughly revise the course you have enrolled for, the kind of credit systems it has, the tenure, the faculty and the course highlights – basically why you chose that particular university

*Most important. Be well aware of the state you plan to visit/study, read about the university’s history and nearby locations.

*Go through your financial documents to clearly understand how you would paying for your education in America.

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO CARRY

Set 1: Personal Information
Passport (current and all the previous ones)
MRV Fee Receipt
Visa Interview Appointment Letter
DS 160 Confirmation Slip (with the bar code clearly visible)
SEVIS Fee Receipt
Passport Size Photograph (as per regulations mentioned)

Set 2: Educational Documents
Academic Transcripts like Class 10th and 12th Certificates and mark-sheets
GRE/GMAT/SAT scorecard
IELTS/TOEFL/PTE scorecard
Bachelor’s Degree/ Provisional Degree Certificate or course completion certificate or mark-sheet for all the years as well as the consolidated mark sheet (if applicable)

DOES YOUR ATTIRE MATTER?

Of course, it does matter. According to experts in immigration, students must keep the dress formal. Formal attire for men includes formal shirts and trousers and for girls, it could be the same with a simple sari or a salwar kameez.

SOME FAQs

Are there any problems if you are above 25 and unmarried?

Not really, so long as you prove your genuine intention of study and plan of action on return.

What is the right time to apply for visas?

Anytime, though according to the rules, one can apply only 120 days in advance of the date of enrollment mentioned in the I-20 form.

How many attempts are allowed if a student visa is denied?

Unlimited attempts are allowed with a gap of three working days between each attempt. You must produce fresh documents for each new attempt. Visa consuls go by the rules, and if the same papers are submitted, the application hardly stands a chance. Each time you will also need to pay fresh visa fees.

Is a student visa guaranteed when a university issues an I-20 form?

Student visa is not guaranteed on the issuance of the I-20 alone, as the applicant has to convince the US Consul that s/he is not an intending immigrant by showing proof of his/ her permanent ties in India.

How long is the interview?

Up to five minutes, maximum.

CLICK HERE to know more about US STUDENT VISA INTERVIEWS

WHO CAN'T APPLY?

U.S. law does not permit foreign students to attend public elementary school (kindergarten to 8th grade) or a publicly funded adult education program. Hence, F-1 visas cannot be issued for study at such schools. An F-1 visa can be issued for attendance at a public secondary school (grades 9 to 12), but the student is limited to a maximum of 12 months at the school. The school must also indicate on the Form I-20 that the student has paid the unsubsidized cost of the education and the amount submitted by the student for that purpose.

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