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Student Visas - Taking An In Depth Look

Aug 29, 2008
Students, who wish to study in the United States, need to apply for U.S. student visa with the U.S Consulate or Embassy. You may fill up the application for your visa after receiving the I-20 form. The I-20 form is a confirmation of your acceptance as a student given by the university. The form confirms your admission too.

Three Types of U.S. Student Visas:

F-1 - This is the most common type of U.S. student visa. Students make use of this visa for academic studies in the United States. This type of visa is designed for students, who want to enroll for an educational program with a college or University in the United States. It is also used to study English language at an Institute or at a foreign language Institute to study English.

M-1- This type of visa is for people, who enroll for vocational training or study or for non-academic activities at an American Institute.

J-1- This is also known as Exchange visitor visa and is useful in cultural and educational programs in the United States.

When to apply for a U.S. student visa?

You may apply for a U.S. student visa 90 days before the date of registration given on the I-20 form. If the date of registration has expired or if you are not able to arrive at the institution on the date of registration, obtain an extension form informing them the date of your arrival.

Students generally get their visa within few days or hours after they submit the application form. Sometimes, the procedure takes a long time depending on factors such as consulate and the time of the year. In denial of a specific visa, you have a right to ask to know the reason for denial from the U.S. consulate.

Fundamental Requirements:

1. It is important that the University accept your admission as a student. You need to submit the I-20 form, which is a confirmation by the institution. You need to sign the form and present it along with a visa application.

2. It is mandatory for you to know English language for undergoing a course in a particular institution in the United States. You need to provide proof of the knowledge of English language in the I-20 form. You may give the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) passing certificate as a proof.

3. The applicant has to provide a financial proof to determine that he/she has enough funds to meet the educational expenses. An applicant may show funds from his/her sponsor, who is taking care of the educational expenses.

If the financial support is obtained from a financial institution such as a scholarship, mention it on the I-20 form. If the finances are coming from the home country, applicants need to produce proofs such as bank statements. The U.S. Embassy gives maximum importance to proofs submitted in an affidavit, as they are legal and documents bound by law.

Final Step:

You need to submit proof to the consulate that your purpose of visit is solely for educational purpose. After the completion of all these above formalities, the consulate affixes visa stamp on your passport.
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