Be clear about your reasons to study abroad
Posted on June 23, 2015
Students who wish to study in the US this fall need to now start thinking about their visas and the application process. The basic requirement for the US student visa is relatively straightforward -you must have enough funds to pay for your entire course of education and show strong ties to your home country. The not so easy part of the process is to schedule appointments, collect documents and of course, appear for the visa interview.
Your first step should be to visit the CGI website. CGI is the company that bought over Stanley and is in charge of the US visa appointment scheduling process. It is important to keep checking CGI’s website because the application procedure and fees are constantly changing. Once you have paid your SEVIS fee and have received your I20, you can fill the application form online (DS160) and pay the visa application fee ($160). You then schedule two appointments -one for submitting your biometrics and one for the actual visa interview with the US Consulate. So, you would have to make a minimum of two trips -one to the visa application centre and one to the US consulate.Getting appointments are generally not a problem, but it is always a good idea to apply early.
The most important thing in the entire student visa process is to be honest and straightforward in your application and interview. Be clear about your reasons to study abroad and be prepared to answer questions about your finances. The interview is the most important part of the US student visa process. During the interview you may be asked questions about the institute you plan to attend, your past academic record, your finances, your reasons to study abroad and your past foreign trips. The key to a successful interview is being prepared and confident.
While the US Consulate does not make any official recommendations on what documents you should be carrying, it is a good idea to carry all your academic marksheets and tran scripts, your standardised test score re ports, your sponsor’s income tax pa pers, proof of all movable and immovable assets and any other papers that can show your financial stability in your home country. Remember, you must carry original documents only -notarised documents will not be accepted.
As the visa season approaches, don’t get consumed with student visa myths. Here are some common US student visa myths and why they are untrue:
Your bank accounts have to hold large cash balances and you cannot take a student loan
In reality, you should have a strong financial plan. Your money can be invested in various places and you should be able to show that you can pay for your entire education. If a student loan is part of your finances, then so be it. Be clear about how you plan to fund your education.
You have to be academically bright and students with bad grades don’t get visas
The US consulate wants to grant visas to students who are serious about their education. If you have bad grades in the past but have other merits in your profile, which include extracurricular activities and high test scores, you should not worry. The fact that you have got admission in a good institute in the US automatically shows that you are a genuine student
Applying through visa agents increase your chances to get a visa
It is always advisable to apply in person than through an agent. Try and fill your own visa application and submit to the consulate. In case an agent misrepresents your case, you can be denied the visa, so best not to take any chances.
Having relatives abroad will disqualify for you a visa
The consulate is aware that almost every Indian student who chooses to study in the US has some relative or friend.This does not mean that you are not going to return back home after your education and, hence, if you can prove that you are a genuine student with the finances to pay for your education, you should have no problem in getting your student visa.