Congrats! Now you have the admission message or letter you were waiting for. After all the celebrations though, it is the beginning of yet another round of many things to be done before you reach your ultimate aim: enrolling for the program you desire. So, what things come next? Well, you have to get the I-20 form and the visa. The approximate sequence of what you have to do to get these two crucial documents is as follows:
1. Read the letter or email carefully. If you have to send an acceptance of the offer do it promptly. Even if you have multiple offers it makes sense to accept more than one when there is no offer of funding.
2. If you have received the I-20 form along with the offer of admission you can straightaway start the preparations for visa.
3. More likely, however, the university will ask you to send affidavits of support from your sponsors as well as the bank statements of your sponsors showing that you have sufficient funds for meeting the I-20 form amount (that is, the total cost of the first year which, includes tuition, other fees and living expenses.)
4. Most universities mention that the funds should be only bank funds and not other financial assets like Provident Fund balances, shares etc. Most universities accept balance certificates from banks on bank’s letterhead which are sealed and signed by the banker. Generally, electronic copies and faxed statements are not accepted. Funds in bank include savings account and fixed deposits. You can also include Personal Provident Fund (P.P.F.) balance
5. Note: you cannot apply for the F1 visa unless you have the I-20 form from the university that you have chosen.
6. Once you receive the I-20 form check it carefully to see that all details are accurate. Pay specific attention to spelling of your name, accuracy of date of birth and the start and end dates of the program. Of course, all details should be accurate and the first page of the I-20 form MUST bear the signature of the university official. The third page need not be signed at this stage.
7. The visa process and information can be accessed through the VFS website.
8. Please note that you cannot apply for the visa interview more than 120 days before the starting date of the program mentioned in I-20 form.
9. Simultaneously, that is, as soon as you have applied for I-20 form, you have to prepare the financial and other documents required for the visa interview. Putting together the finances may take time. Please refer to the consulate website for the standard and details of documents required.
10. You can attend the Pre-Departure Program organized by Dilip Oak’s Academy in June or July. Details about the program will be published in our blog later.