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 F1 Visa Questions n Answers

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PostSubject: F1 Visa Questions n Answers   Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:15 pm

If you are planning to take up a course like MPH or MHA or a PhD via GRE, you are supposed to go on a F1 or the student visa. Here are some of the FAQs that I have compiled from various sources and websites.

Please add any relevant information you find, so that we could build a substantial information database for our own RxPG community

Q. If we want to study in US... do we need F1 Visa?
A. Yes. F-1 is YOUR visa to go for higher studies in the US.

Q. What about a foreign sponsor?
A. The motive has to be clearly established. Sixty per cent of the students who go to the US for education do so, on some sort of aid. Education in the US is a costly proposition. So, if someone is funding you, the US consul would want to know why and under what terms. The sponsorship could be from family/ relatives in India or from family/ relatives in the US.

Q. If you are being sponsored, is it for or against your case if the sponsor is (a) a US citizen, (b) an Indian citizen?
A. There is no regulation for or against the nature of the sponsor's citizenship.

Q. Is there a specific number or quota annually for student visas?
A. There is no ceiling on student visas according to US immigration laws.

Q. I am a student going to America for a PhD. My I-20 says my funding is for one year, after which it will be reviewed. Will I have to show funds for the rest of the 3-4 years of study?
A. The I-20 is a form issued by the American university declaring your admission. At the visa office, you must show funds (academic plus living) for one year and access to funds for subsequent years. If your aid covers your overall expenses for the first year, then it is okay.

Q. What is the right time to apply for visas?
A. One can apply 120 days before the date of enrolment mentioned in the I-20 form.

Q. How many attempts are allowed if a visa is denied?
A. You can apply any number of times after visa refusal but, each time you reapply, you have to pay the visa fees (Rs 4,600 + Rs 276 as service charge), fill fresh application forms and show 'new evidence' compared to the documents you presented when your visa application was rejected.

Visas are often denied due to the applicant's inability to prove he/she is not an intending immigrant and sometimes also because he/ she do not communicate well enough ie deliver answers to-the-point.

The new evidence should reveal changed circumstances with regard to your financial ties that will prove you are not an intending immigrant.

Also, if you have two refusals in a period of the last six months, you will have to wait in the normal queue for a visa appointment. You will not get a priority appointment to meet a university deadline if you have been refused a visa twice.

Q. Does the reputation of the college have any bearing on my visa application?
A. Not always. However, the reputation of the college establishes the motive. If you are going to a reputed college, your intention is clear. But if you are going to an institution no one has heard of, and which has not asked you to take any standard tests, it might make the US consul suspicious.

Q. Does it help if I have been chosen by 10 schools?
A. Yes, it establishes that you are a superstar. There is no direct relation, though it completes the picture for the consul and helps it evaluate the case better. Mention this during your interview.

Q. Is a student visa guaranteed when an I-20 form is issued by a university?
A. A student visa is not guaranteed with the issuance of the I-20 alone. You have to convince the US consul you are not an intending immigrant by showing proof of your permanent ties in India.

Q. For students going for further studies, what is considered conclusive proof that they are coming back? How much assets or liquid cash on hand should be shown for a student visa?
A. There is no fixed amount of assets or liquid cash specified in the US immigration law. The law that operates is that the US consul who interviews you should be convinced you are a bona fide student, genuinely wanting to pursue higher studies in America. He should also be convinced you plan to return to India after your education and apply your knowledge here.

The ties shown by you should involve your economic attraction to India after graduation and the social roots to which you would return rather than stay in the US.

Statistics in the past have shown that seven to eight out of 10 students from India do not return. Therefore, consulates in India are very careful while granting student visas.

Q. If sufficient funds are not available, can a loan from banks or other institutions help in getting a student visa?
A. The US consul will have to be convinced about how you will repay the loan. If huge loans are shown, getting a visa can become difficult. It is preferrable to have a smaller loan.

Q. Suppose my total expense for my studies in the US is around 40,000 dollars and my first year expense is around 30,000 dollars. Should I show the 30,000 dollars as liquid cash in my bank account? Can it be a mixture of Fixed deposit (like fixed depoists in Post office schemes) and savings account money?
A. You should have liquid assets (bank account, FDs, shares, PPF etc) to cover $ 40,000. There is no law that you have to show majority of liquid assets in cash only.

Q. Can a student be partially sponsored by a US-based sponsor and partly by an India-based sponsor?
A. The US consul has to be convinced about the genuineness of the case. Prima facie, the case cannot be rejected because two sponsors are involved.

Q. Do I have to pay the first year's tuition expenses in advance and show a receipt from the university?
A. No, paying the tuition expenses in advance is a good way to show proof of funds, but it is not a requirement.

Q. How do I prove I can afford to attend school in the US?
A. Part 7 on the I-20 shows the amount of funding you must have available to cover the first year's expenses. The total amount includes tuition and fees, living expenses, expenses of dependents (if applicable) and other expenses (as applicable). You must prove you have immediate funds available to cover this amount.
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