Q 1. Does having a relative in the US affect visa application?
 

If there is a close relative such as US citizen or a permanent resident parent or spouse of the applicant in the US, the Consul may presume that the student is going to the US to join the family and would not return to India. While the law does not prohibit issuance of student visa to applicants who have close relatives in the US, it puts additional burden on the student to prove non-immigrant intent. In any case, it is extremely important to provide such information truthfully on your visa application.

Q 2. What about a foreign sponsor?
 

The motive has to be established clearly. 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, then the US Consul would want to know why, and under what terms.

Q 3. For a student visa with sponsorship, is it for or against one's case if the sponsor is (a) a US citizen, (b) an Indian citizen?
 

There is no regulation for or against the nature of citizenship of the sponsor for US visa.

Q 4. Is there a specific number or quota annually for student visas?
 

There is no ceiling on student visas according to US immigration laws.

Q 5.

I am a student going to US for PhD. My I-20 says that my funding is for one year, after which it will be reviewed. Will I have to show funds for the rest of the three-four years of study?

 

At the visa office, the students 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 OK.

Q 6. What is the right time to apply for visas?
 

One can apply 120 days in advance of the date of enrolment mentioned in the I-20 form.

Q 7. What about shifting schools once I get there?
 

Once you are in the US, you are governed by the USCIS rules. Accordingly, you cannot change your school before completing one year at the school. It is advisable that you make your choice carefully, and avoid problems later on.

Q 8. I get my visa on one I-20; then I get another I-20 from another school, which I now want to join. What will I have to do?
 

You will have to apply for another visa.

Q 9. How many attempts are allowed if visa is denied?
 

One can apply any number of times after visa refusal but at each time of reapplication, one has to pay visa fees, fill fresh application forms and show 'new evidence' compared to previous documents when visa was refused. The new evidence should reveal changed circumstance with regard to your financial ties that does not make you seen as an intending immigrant.

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

Q 10. Does the reputation of the college have any bearing on my visa application?
 

Not always. However, the reputation of the college establishes the motive. If you are going to a reputed college, intentions are 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, then that makes the US Consul suspicious. Though, in some cases, when students are going for some specialist courses which are not offered anywhere else, a marginal school would do.

Q 11. If I have been chosen by ten schools, does that help?
 

Yes, it establishes that you are a superstar. There is no direct relation, though it completes the picture for the Consul, and helps them evaluate the case better.

Q 12. What should a student wishing a Graduate (Master's) study in the US do if he is financing his studies himself?
 

He will have to show how he would transfer his funds from India to the US. Does he have a foreign exchange release permit from an authorised bank or a sponsor in the US to take care of his living and education in US dollars? Moreover, he should convince the US Consul that he has strong ties in India which prove that he is not an intending immigrant.

Q 13.

For students going for further studies, what is considered as conclusive proof that they are coming back? How much assets or liquid cash on hand should be shown for a student visa?

 

There is no fixed amount of assets or liquid cash specified in the US immigration law. The law that operates is that the interviewing US Consul should be convinced that the applicant is a bona fide student, wanting genuinely to pursue higher studies in America and return after his education to India and apply his knowledge in India. The ties that could be shown by the student, would involve his economic attraction in India after graduation and social roots to which he would return rather than stay in the US. Statistics in the past have shown that 7 to 8 out of 10 students do not return and therefore the Consulates in India are very careful in granting student visas.

Q 14. Is a student visa guaranteed when an I-20 form is issued by a University?
 

A student visa is not guaranteed on the issuance of the I-20 alone as the applicant has to convince the US Consul that he is not an intending immigrant by showing proof of his permanent ties in India.

Q 15. If sufficient funds are not available, can a loan from banks or other institutions help in getting a student visa?
 

The US Consul will have to be convinced about the mode of repayment of the loan by the applicant. Practically, if loans are shown, then getting a visa becomes difficult.

Q 16. For a student visa, can a student be partially sponsored by a US-based sponsor and partly by an India-based sponsor?
 

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 17.

Do visas for students get rejected if the applicants have brothers and sisters in America?

 

This is an individual situation. The decision depends on a case-by-case basis. If the US Consul feels that the applicant is trying to get to the US in the guise of a student with possible support of siblings in America, he may be rejected. Likewise, if the applicant's brother or sister had gone to the US on an NIV and adjusted status to permanent visa, the applicant does become a "risk candidate" and it will be then left to the judgment of the interviewing officer to decide.

Q 18.

Is it required that I pay the first year tuition expenses in advance and show a receipt from the university?

 

No, paying the tuition expenses in advance is a good way to show proof of funds, but it is NOT a requirement to pay in advance.

Q 19.

How do I prove that I can afford to attend school in the US?

 

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 that you have immediate funds available to cover this amount. If you are going to a two-years Master's program, then you must also show that funds are or will likely be available to cover the same amount for the second year.

Q 20.

What if my university does not require that I take the TOEFL or GRE?

 

Take the TOEFL or GRE should provide a letter from the university stating the same. However, the Embassy strongly recommends that all student visa applicants provide standardized test scores.