Time to rejoice: Trump administration revokes the rule regarding online classes for fall semester

A huge relief for International students

Indian students can now heave a sigh of relief as the Trump administration has finally revoked the new visa rule that required International students taking fully online classes in the US for the fall semester, to return to their home countries.

In our last blog dated 08/07/2020, we wrote in detail about the new rule and its possible repercussions on existing and new students aspiring to go to the US.

Soon after the announcement of this rule on July 6, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and many other institutes as well top American IT companies had filed lawsuits against the administration, seeking reversal of the rule. In response to these lawsuits, the Boston Federal Court revoked this rule on Tuesday, and asked the immigration authorities to pull the directive and return to the “status quo.”

Another factor that contributed to the reversal of the rule is the fact that a whooping number of international students join US universities every year and provide the required tuition revenue. International students contribute billions of dollars to the US economy every year. Sustenance of the new rule would have plummeted the enrollment and subsequently led to a deep financial crisis for the universities as well the country.

Now that rule has been revoked, international students, including Indian students, will be able to stay in the US even if they are pursuing online classes for the fall 2020 semester. New students who are in the process of joining the US universities for spring 2021 sessions will also be able to smoothly continue their visa process and education in the US.

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Deferrals And Student Visas

FAQs about deferrals and Student Visa

With the current pandemic situation and uncertainties about deferrals and Visa regulations, most of you who are in the process of joining US universities for MS or who are planning to join next year, have a lot of queries and doubts. To guide you better and help you make a decision, here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1) I am currently taking GRE classes, and I plan to apply next year. Is it safe to go next year?

Answer: Yes. You can safely apply for Fall 2021 since the situation will normalize by then. Things will begin to get under control right after the November presidential elections.

Q2) Should I defer my Fall 20 admission to Spring 21 or Fall 21?

Answer: At the moment, you can defer your admission to Spring 21 since it is likely that the situation will be under control by then and in-person classes will resume. Otherwise, you will have to extend the deferral to Fall 21.

Q3) I have received admits from eight universities. Will all of them accept deferral for Fall 21?

Answer: No. All the universities may not accept deferral for Fall 21. Some of them are asking students to reapply next year for the fall session.  In that case, your application will be evaluated along with the new applicants. Fortunately, the number of students applying next year will be comparatively less. Therefore, your chances of acceptance will not be hampered.

Q4) When should I book my visa dates if I want to go in Spring 21?

Answers: Visa booking dates for October are now available. Visit the official website of US Consulate for booking your date.

Q5) I am planning to defer to Spring 21, and hence I have booked my visa date for October 20. If I again extend my deferral to Fall 21, do I have to book the visa date and pay the visa fee again?

Answer: In case you book the date for October but instead of joining in Spring 21, you decide to defer to Fall 21, you have to cancel the booked date and reschedule another date, anytime within a year. You need not pay the Visa fee again.

Q6) Will the current situation in the US affect my internship?

Answer: According to the SEVP Advisory, all Indian students pursuing/looking to pursue practical training opportunities, including Curricular Practical Training (CPT), pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), post-completion OPT, and/or the STEM Extension OPT are advised to remain in contact with their Designated School Official (DSO) regarding their situation.

Q7) Will the pandemic affect research and other funding opportunities offered by universities?

Answer: Since majority students are not joining universities for Fall 20, it is affecting their financial condition. On this backdrop, it is most likely that the funding opportunities will be difficult for at least the first two semesters.

Q8) Will the current situation and new rules affect the STEM category?

Answer: As of now, there is no official declaration about it, so it should not be a matter of concern.

Q9) Many universities are exempting GRE, SAT, and English Language Test scores for admissions for spring 21 and in some cases, even for fall 21. Should we not give these exams?

Answer: Very few students are applying right now hence the universities are offering exemptions. We still recommend you to appear for these exams because when the number of applicants increases next year, GRE and SAT scores will give an upper hand to your application.

For any other query about GRE, US admissions and jobs, visit our FAQ Section.

Click HERE to enroll for our online GRE batches.

How will the new F1 Visa regulation affect existing and new students?

What will happen to my F1 visa_ When can I return to the US_

This blog is regarding the recent announcement by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the continuation of F1 visas for students studying in the US and taking fully online classes for the fall 2020 semester due to the pandemic.

As per the regulation, students are not allowed to take fully online courses in the fall semester while in the US and they have to return to their home country before the semester begins. After returning, they can continue to pursue their semester online from their home country but they cannot return to the US until the university resumes in-person instruction. This does not mean that their F1 visa has been cancelled. It means that the embassy will not renew the F1 visa until the university resumes in-person instruction.

Students will not lose any credits earned in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. They will be required to take a break for only one semester, and again resume their studies in spring 2021. Also, this will not affect CPT or OPT in any manner.

The regulation also states that as an alternative, the student can either transfer to another school with in-person instruction or adopt a hybrid model with a maximum of one class or three credit hours online. This decision will not hamper the current visa process for students aspiring to join next year or those who have deferred their fall 2020 admissions to spring 2021.

New students, who have deferred their admission to spring 2021, can continue with their visa process since it is likely that in-person instruction will resume by January 2021. However, if the spring semester is also changed to online instruction, you will not be able to go to the US. In that case, you will have to defer your admission to fall 2021 and accordingly get your visas reissued for fall 2021.

Great FREE Application Tools on DOA Online: Part 3 – Question & Answer Forum

Question & Answer Forum

Question & Answer Forum

– What are transcripts?
– When should I register for the GRE test?
– Where can I find university deadlines?
– From whom do I need to take recommendation letters?

The list of questions that come up when you are applying to American universities is endless. Most probably you won’t know where to look for solutions or, whom to ask for the answers. That’s where the next of our great free application tools comes in – the DOA ONLINE Q&A FORUM.

 

On the Q&A Forum (click screenshot below for enlarged view) you can:

  • ask any questions you have regarding the application process for American universities
  • get answers and expert advice from the academy (look for answers by the admin!)
  • get valuable tips and insights from other registered users – since they have gone through the same situations and problems, their advice is often the best: no one understands your situation better than those traveling on the same path!
  • consult the vast database of questions and answers already on the Q&A forum.

Continue reading

What to Do When You Get Admission

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:

Admission in US for MS1. 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.)

Continue reading

Applying for Spring (Jan) 2014 – A Step-By-Step Explanation

If you are applying for spring, here’s one last call to check the timeline for applications – though university deadlines for spring go up to December, the last phase of deadlines is drawing to a close (see deadlines for spring 2014 for more details). For those late universities there are still a number of things you need to get done right away! Note that the timeline below is geared to the earliest universities (which have their deadlines in June). However, the steps given below all need to be taken for all universities no matter what their deadlines are. So, hurry and get into action, there’s no time to lose.

P.S. for those who have already taken admission make sure that you take the 8 steps mentioned right at the end of the blog. Good luck to you all!

January 2013

  1. Review you goals for MS education and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize
  2. Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – these examinations should preferably be taken by June.

March 2013 – Make a preliminary list of about 30 universities which meet your requirements considering:

  1. Location
  2. Costs
  3. Broad specializations you are interested in
  4. Recommendations by seniors, your professors etc.
  5. Whether your academic profile fits the universities requirements.
Note: for engineers check the free ‘university info‘ feature (under the applications button) at online.dilipoakacademy.com – it lists departments and courses for the top 220 universities (registration is free). Also given are the university rank and GRE and TOEFL institutional codes.

Important Alert: the F-1 Visa Process has Changed

The new visa process announced by the US Consulate in September 2012 is completely new. Everything has changed right from payment of the visa fees to scheduling a date at the consulate. The following steps are involved.

 

  1. filling in the DS 160 form
  2. paying the visa fees
  3. scheduling appointments for:
    1. submitting biometric data and documents at the Offsite Facilitation Centre and
    2. the Visa Interview

 

1. Online Filling of the DS 160 Form

The first step is to fill the DS 160 form online. Filling the form generates a CONFIRMATION NUMBER. You will require this number to print the ‘Receipt of Payment’ (which, in this case, is printed out before you make any payment!) since it contains the CGI reference number that is required if you are going to pay the visa fees in cash.

 

2. Payment of Visa Fees

You can now pay the visa fees by:

  1. Electronic Fund Transfer
  2. Mobile Phone
  3. Cash payment at any Axis bank branch (there are over 1800 branches across the country)

If you make a cash payment of the fees (recommended), be sure to take along the ‘Receipt of Payment’ that you printed out earlier. The bank will need to see the ‘CGI Reference Number’ on it when you go to pay the visa fees. If you fail to produce the ‘Receipt of Payment’ the bank will not accept your visa fees.

 

3. Scheduling the Appointments

You can schedule appointments only after the receipt is ‘activated.’ Usually, this takes an hour. Once the receipt has been activated, you will have to schedule two appointments:

  1. Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) – this appointment is for you to submit fingerprints of all ten fingers, photographs (digital and physical) and required documents. This appointment has to be scheduled at least one day prior to the visa interview date.
  2. Visa Interview – this is the actual visa interview appointment.

Note:

  1. You cannot appear for both appointments on the same date; and appointments for consecutive dates may not always be available. There have been instances where there is one whole week between the OFC appointment and the appointment for the interview. If that happens to you, you will have to make two trips to the consulate.
  2. After the visa has been granted the passport is couriered to the home address (this facility is available for select cities only) or can be collected from the VFS center nearest to the home city.

 

What are the pros and cons of this new process?

PROS:

  1. More ways of paying the visa fees
  2. Over 1800 Axis bank branches across the country for payment of visa fees in cash
  3. no additional documents other than the ‘Receipt of Payment’ to be carried to the bank
  4. Elimination of spelling mistakes in the applicant’s name due to manual input at the bank.
  5. No need to go to the VFS center prior to the visa interview.
  6. Time required for activation of visa fee receipt reduced from 2 working days to an hour enabling quicker scheduling of the visa interview.

CONS:

  1. DS 160 (which is a very long form) has to be completely filled before you can print the ‘Payment of Receipt’ and without the ‘Payment of Receipt’ the visa fees will not be accepted by the bank.
  2. Two appointments (OFC and visa interview) have to be scheduled on two separate dates, which may not be consecutive. Hence you may have to travel twice to the city where the consulate is located.
  3. You may have to collect your passport from the VFS centre.

If you have any queries related to:

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees or
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments

these can be made at:

  • Email: support-india@ustraveldocs.com
  • Telephone: 91-120-6602222 or +91-22-67209400
  • Skype: user name: ustraveldocs-india
  • Online Chat: www.ustraveldocs.com

TIMINGS:

  • Monday-Friday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Sunday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Related Links

Other Application Documents:

Also ‘Must-See’

Application Timeline for Fall 2014 – Make Sure You Are on Track | MS in US | Fall 2014

If you are applying for fall 2014 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Review this Application Timeline for Fall 2014 immediately and get to work. Here it is:

 

June-August 2013 – Review you goals for MS education and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize.

Continue reading

Higher Education in the US: How to Make it Happen!

US is the #1 choice for Indians going abroad for higher education

Today, the dream of getting a US degree is no longer something that only the “rich” can dream of. Now many students from middle class backgrounds can also get higher education in the US, without putting a huge financial burden on their parents. This is evident from the recent trends:

  • Overall, the number of Indian students going abroad for education increased 256% in 2000-2009
  • An estimated 21 million students will be admitted into American universities in Fall 2013

The facts also show that America is the most popular educational destination especially for engineering and business:

  • The top three destinations for Indian students going abroad are: #1 America, #2 Europe, #3 Australia
  • America dominates, with a lion’s share of over 50% of the students
  • The top two streams at American grad schools are Engineering & Business

There is great demand for higher education in the US.

 

What is driving the trend?

As the American economy recovers from the recent 2008-2010 Global Economic Crisis, employment rates in the country are improving. There is a great need for skilled labour, particularly of engineering graduates across fields. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, US companies alone created 178,000 engineering jobs between 2008 and 2010. In fact, Engineering (Biomedical Engineers, Software Engineers and Environmental Engineers) featured at the very top of BLS list of the “Fastest Growing Occupations.” This growth is being driven by the growth of technology giants such as Google, Apple, Oracle and a sharp rise in the number of ‘start-ups’ or new technology companies. The change in traditional businesses to automated, mechanized or digital formats is another reason driving a huge need for engineers in the US.

What makes it possible for the middle class?

The key factors that make an American education possible for all types and categories of students are the availability of:

  • a variety of easy funding and repayment options
  • focused examination preparation and coaching
  • professional counseling through each and every step of the admissions process has made this possible.

Find out more on how YOU can get an American degree at our FREE SEMINAR on “Higher Education in the US”

Time: 5.45 to 8 pm

Date: Sunday the 17th of February 2013

Venue: Ganesh Kala Krida Manch, Pune.

This seminar is open to all students, working professionals and parents.

No prior registration needed!

In case you have any questions, please contact the Dilip Oak’s Academy Office

By e-mail: support@dilipoakacademy.com, OR Call: +91-020-25656237, 25678066, 25654052

UC Irvine – and How I Got Admission There!

This week we bring you Suhas Bhadgaonkar, a software professional, and one of our alumni. He’s here with his experiences in getting admission to UC Irivine.

____________________________________

Profile:
Name: Sagar Suhas Bhadgaonkar
Degree: BE (Computer Engineering), Univ. of Pune
Work Experience: 2.5+ years in Accenture Technology Solutions, as a Software Engineer
GRE Score: 1400 (Old Scale)/ 322 (New Scale)
Break Up:
Verbal: 640 (Old Scale)/162 (New Scale)
Quant: 760 (Old Scale)/160 (New Scale)
TOEFL: 112/120

____________________________________

My journey to a US university started when an acquaintance came to visit my home in Pune after spending a few years working for Oracle in San Jose. It was mid-May, and some of my other friends from Accenture had got admits from American universities and were planning to get visas and complete other application formalities. There was a ‘buzz’ in the air about going to America. My friend’s visit was like a little piece of sodium dropped into a bowl of water. The thought of the opportunities that lay in wait for me in the US began to bubble up in my mind. When the ‘reaction’ had subsided, higher studies and subsequent professional opportunities in America were the clear focus.

Like a lot of us who are now going to US, I was born and brought up in a middle class family with no immediate relatives in US). So, though the thought of studying further, or doing ‘something’, had been present in my mind for quite a while, I had never planned on going to US for higher education. The examples of my friends started me thinking about pursuing an MS in the USA.

Continue reading