USA Visa

There are mainly two types of student visas

F-1 (Student Visa):  The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.

J-1 (Exchange Visitor Visa): The J-1 visa is issued for students needing practical training that is not available in their home country to complete their academic program. The training must be directly related to the academic program. The J-1 visa obligates the student to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the end of their studies in the US before being eligible to apply for an immigrant (permanent residence) visa. The rules and regulations governing the entrance of all international students into the United States are complicated and should be properly looked into before applying for a visa.

When to Apply

An applicant may apply for a student Visa not earlier than 90 days before the registration date specified on the FORM I-20. If the registration date is already passed or the applicant cannot reasonably expect to arrive at the school by the registration date, the applicant should obtain an amended I-20 or a letter of extension from the issuing institution stating by what date the applicant may arrive. After the Completed application forms along with the documents are submitted.

In most cases, the visa will be issued within a few hours or days of the submission of the application. In some instances, the process may take longer depending on the time of year, consular caseload or other factors. If your application is denied, you should ask the Consular Officer for a “written denial decision.” This will provide you with the official reason for your visa denial.

Principles Requirement for a student visa

1) Acceptance by University

Acceptance of the applicant by an institution of learning for a full course of study is essential. Evidence in support of this requirement consists of a Form I-20 (Certification of Eligibility) filled out by the accepting school, and signed by the applicant and presented with the visa application.

2) Knowledge of English Language

Evidence that the applicant has sufficient scholastic preparation and knowledge of the English language if required by the school to undertake a full course of study in the accepting institution. Proof of the required scholastic preparation is usually established by the I-20 from the institution involved and the entries on the form. To establish their knowledge of English, applicants are encouraged to take the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL), available in many Indian cities.

3) Proof of Financial Resources

This involves proof that the applicant has sufficient funds to cover the total cost of education and stay in the U.S. This implies evidence of readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year, and of the availability of funds for the following years from reliable financial resources. To satisfy this requirement applicant may show that funds are available from the educational institution, from their personal resources or from sponsors, (normally a very close relative) who have agreed to pay for their education. If the support is from the educational institution, in the form of a scholarship, assistantship, on-campus employment, etc. , it is usually noted on the I-20. If the support is from India, the applicant must produce bank books and statements or other documents showing a total amount in rupees equal to the dollar cost of the first year, and evidence regarding sources of funds for subsequent years. If the student is not paying his own expenses, an affidavit of support executed by the sponsor and sworn before a first class magistrate (in India) must also be presented, along with financial evidence indicating the ability to carry out the undertaking.

If the support is from outside India, the sponsor must provide a letter from his/her bank indicating that the sponsor has sufficient funds to cover the costs involved, together with a current notarized Affidavit of support stating willingness to finance the applicant’s educational expenses. The sponsor should also provide evidence of current employment and income. With regard to sponsorship, particular weight is given to promises of support from immediate family members. Affidavits from less than immediate relatives and family friends do not carry the same degree of commitment as do affidavits from immediate family members and should be accompanied by a statement explaining in detail what compelling reasons the person has to carry out the promises made on the affidavit.

The Embassy emphasizes that the commitment contained in an affidavit of support is not a mere formality. The U.S. Government regards Affidavits of support to be binding, legal documents that oblige the sponsor to be financially responsible for the student during his/her time in the U.S.

4) Proof of Non-Immigrant Intent (Existence of permanent residence)

It is difficult to prove that you intend to return to India after your studies are complete even though you sincerely intend to. This is because, by law, all non-immigrants are viewed as “intending immigrants.” This means that the visa officer is under the assumption that you will be coming to the US and will remain in the US permanently. You should carry with you documents that demonstrate ties to India and would help convince the consul of your intent to return. Such documents may include:

  • Proof of land ownership, Economic and Social ties are very important: An applicant’s future role in a family business.
  • Academic institution, government agency, professional organization are all possibilities. Bring letters from appropriate parties to demonstrate such facts.
  • Letters from prospective employers recognizing the need for specialized training offered in the U.S. can also serve to aid an application in the applicant’s home country.
  • If other family members have studied in the U.S. and returned it should be mentioned.
  • Providing an explanation of why equivalent educational training is not available in your home country, if applicable.

Most importantly, Consular Officials want to hear from the applicant. At no time, is it recommended that the applicants bring family members with them to the interview. If you prove to the Consular Official’s satisfaction that you intend to come to the U.S. solely for the purpose of the study and will return to India upon completion of the program, a visa stamp will be affixed to a page in your passport. You should apply for a multiple entry F-1 student visa. With multiple entry visas, you can travel between US and India during the duration of your stay in the United States.

For Further Information on Counseling and general information on studying in the United States or for information about student visa,

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