US Visas FAQ
Q. What are the types of student visas?
A. There are two non-immigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States.
1. The “F” visa (F1) is for pursuing academic studies and/or language training programs
2. The “M” visa (M1) is for non-academic or vocational studies.
Q. How early should I apply for my Student (F1 or M1) visa?
A. You are encouraged to apply for your non-immigrant student visa at the earliest. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime, however a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.
Q. I have received my Student visa, when should I travel?
A. Students (F1 or M1) may travel within 30 days of the commencement of the course of study as stated on your I-20 regardless of how early your visa was issued.
Q. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
A. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrolment status of all continuing and new foreign students and exchange visitors. However the visa cannot be issued until your SEVIS fee has been paid.
Applicants applying with I-20 forms processed after 1 Sept 2004 are required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. You can log on towww.ice.gov/sevis for further details.
Q .Can a person on a visitor visa change his status to student while in the U.S if he/she gets admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?
A. No. Previously, US law permitted persons entering on tourist, B1/B2 visas to change status to F-1 visas. That is no longer the case. A non-immigrant wishing to study in the US must apply from their country of origin or residence if they wish to study in the US on an F-1 visa
Q. I have taken a loan from a bank to cover my tuition. Do I still need to show other financial documents?
A. In such a case, please bring official documents, which verify the loan approval, not just the application. You must prove that funds are immediately available to cover the first year’s costs, and show evidence that funds will be available for all subsequent years. Also since Indian banks ordinarily give educational loans of relatively modest amounts, the application must still demonstrate additional liquid assets and any financial documentation you provide should be in support of this. This applies to all student visa applicants
Q. What documents should I show to prove that I could pay for my education in the US?
A. There are no specific documents that prove a student is able to pay for his/her education. Bank account statements, pay slips, income tax return statements, employment letters, property documents and chartered accountant statements are the most common documents used to show proof of funds. However, these are only suggested documents. A visa is not assured if you have any or all of these documents.
Q .Is it required that I pay the first year 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 to pay in advance.
Q. What if I receive an I-20 to a better school?
A. If you have received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment you can change the details up to 2 working days prior to your interview appointment, for interview scheduled at Mumbai Consulate you can change the details up to 5 working days prior to your interview appointment.
If you have obtained your visa and need to change the name of the university on your visa, you have to go through the complete process once again by scheduling a new appointment after paying the application fee and service charges.
Q. Is there a quota/limit ?for the number of student visas issued each year?
A. No, all qualified students receive visas.
Q. I have a valid F2/M2 visa and I have got admission in to a college. Can I use the Drop Box facility?
A. No, from July 2004 onwards all applicant travelling to the US have to go through the interview process irrespective how many times they have travelled to the US.
Q. I am applying for an F1/M1 visa and I would like my spouse to travel with me, can he/she apply for a dependant visa (F2/M2) at the same time that I do or must they wait until my visa has been issued?