- Saturday, November 12, 2016
If you ask ‘how long does it take a get a student visa in the US?’, the answer will be 2 days! But when we talk about the whole application process i.e. the visa cycle, we are looking at at least 60 days. This means that if you are planning to apply for the student visa from the USA, you need to start preparing for months. The good news is, even though the duration is long, the procedures are easy and simple.
What is the Visa Cycle?
1- Get accepted into university
2- Receive Form I-20
3- Student visa application and interview
4- Receive student visa
STEP 1: Get Form I-20 (certificate of eligibility for student status)
To qualify for the US student visa, you need a Form I-20, i.e. a certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status from the university/ school. The fee for getting a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is $200, i.e. (approx INR 13,338).
When an offer letter is sent from the university, the student has to sign the acceptance letter and send it back to the university along with:
i) Fees for the SEVIS
ii) Student’s bank statement to the university as a proof of funding.
Once these documents are received by the university, you will get the Form I-20 from the university.
STEP 2: Start the Visa Application Process- Book Appointments
After receiving the Form I-20, apply for the visa by filling out the required information on the visa form. You will also be required to pay a visa fee of $160 (approx INR 10,671). You should book two appointments on the alternate days for:
i) Biometrics at the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC)/ Visa Application Centre (VAC)
ii) Visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.
An appointment at the OFC/VAC is needed to take your biometrics, i.e. fingerprints and photo. This should be scheduled 1 day before the visa interview appointment.
Documents required for scheduling the appointment:
i) Valid passport with at least 6 months after expiration date
ii) Visa application fee payment receipt and the date you paid the fees
iii) Your DS-160* confirmation page with the ten (10) digit barcode number
(*the DS-160 is a new nonimmigrant visa application form that replaces all other forms and it needs to be completed online.)
Documents required during the interview:
- Grade X & XII Mark Sheet/ Pass Certificate
- Graduation Mark Sheets & Degree
- SAT/ GMAT/ GRE, TOEFL or IELTS Score Sheets
- One page Financial Statement
- Work experience/Salary slips
- Chartered Accountant statement
- Affidavit of financial support
- 2 years IT returns of all sponsors
- Updated Bank statements (six months) of all sponsors
- Recommendation letter from college/work
- Extracurricular/Community work certificates
- USA College’s acceptance/ rejections
- First Semester or year fees of US college draft/ TC*
- Education loan sanction letter*
- Property Evaluation Documents*
(*depends on case to case)
Step 3: Visa Application: Ready for Visa Interview
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine if you are qualified to receive a US student Visa. Alongside carrying the required documents, it is very important for you to create a good first impression. The approval or rejection of your visa application will be communicated to you the day itself.
5 Tips to Help You in the US Student Visa Interview:
i) Wear a business attire or a dress so that you create a good impression on the interviewer. Remember, you have just a few minutes to create your impression.
ii) Be quick and precise in answering the question. For example, if the interviewer asks why you want to study in the USA, give a valid and honest reason why. A memorised speech or a honey dipped speech won’t help you.
iii) Be well versed with what you intend to study in the US and what career it will prepare you for. Your education plans should be clear and concise.
iv) Show your intent to return when the interviewers ask you questions about your connections to your home country and about your study plans. Keep in mind that visa applications are rejected when the consular sense the student has no intent to return.
v) Be sure to bring your bank statement that shows that you have adequate financial support to live and study in the US.
Sometimes additional documents may be needed to prove your eligibility for the visa. The rejection or acceptance is solely at the discretion of the consulate. Once a visa is issued, it is valid till its expiration date unless cancelled or revoked. If you have a valid passport and an expired passport while in the US, do not remove the visa from the passport as you will still need to use it along with your new valid passport.
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