The US government issues more than 30 different types of visa. For example, tourists and business-men are issued B-1 or B-2 visas and those authorized to work in US are given an H-1B visa. Students going for vocational courses, such as, in flying schools or English language courses get an M-1 visa. However, most students require an F-1 visa stamp.
This is the most commonly issued type of visa for students going to an accredited university for a full-time academic program lasting for one or more years.
Students are allowed to apply for the F-1 visa 120 days before the date of reporting mentioned on their I-20 form. The I-20 form is an official document issued by the University on behalf of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The following important details are mentioned in the document:
- the name and passport number of the student
- the name of the university which the student is joining
- the program to which the student has been admitted
- the date of commencement of the program
- the date by which the program has to be completed
- the total cost of education for one year.
The fall 2012 semester will begin sometime in the third week of August. So, if you plan to join an American university this fall, you can start applying for your visa from the third week of April.
Keep in mind that you should have adequate liquid funds to cover the total cost of one year of education – this is mentioned in the I-20 form. Many students are under the wrong impression that their sponsor needs to deposit this entire amount in the bank and that otherwise their visa can be rejected. This is not true. Funds can be shown in the form of bank deposits, shares, mutual funds, provident fund etc. Even education loans of up to Rs. 20 lakhs are also permitted. Of course, having adequate funds alone does not guarantee a visa approval. The consulate officer also considers the following points:
- whether you have admission to an accredited and reputed university
- whether your academic background is good
- whether your GRE score is satisfactory
- whether your sponsor’s income is adequate
But the more important factor is you should have good communication skills and should be able to give convincing and honest answers to the consulate officer’s questions.
Most students show their parents as their sponsors. If this is not possible, they can show support from any other family member e.g. their brothers or sisters, their grandparents, either individually or as co-sponsors with their parents.
Sponsorship can also be taken from other immediate relatives, like uncles and aunts, provided their financial position is very sound and their income level is high.
All the best as you prepare for this crucial part of the application process – and if you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Other Application Documents: