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What is Visa

What is Visa

A visa is a stamp or sticker placed in your passport giving you permission to enter a country for the mentioned period. A visa may be single or multiple-entry. Most student visas are multiple-entry, which means that you can travel in and out of the country many times before the visa expiry date. Visitor Visas or Limited Purpose Visas normally just allow a single entry.

There are two basic types of U.S. visas: immigrant visas, for those intending to reside permanently in the United States (whether or not they intend to work) and nonimmigrant visas, for those visiting the United States temporarily. The most common nonimmigrant visas are visitor visas, issued to persons who wish to enter the United States temporarily for business or pleasure. Other types of nonimmigrant visas are given to students, participants in exchange programs, temporary workers, performing artists, professional journalists and representatives of foreign governments, among others.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the united States. The "F" visa is for academic studies, and the "M" visa is for nonacademic or vocational studies.

What is a Permit?

The visa allows you to enter a country and a permit allows you to stay in the country on the terms given in your visa. When you enter the country the visa or customs officer at the airport will check to confirm your visa and passport is valid. They will then issue or stamp your passport with a permit. The permit will say you are allowed to stay in a country as a student, visitor, worker or resident for the time detailed on the visa stamp. You must have a valid permit at all times while you are in that country. Permits can be renewed at the Immigration Service office on completion of the application requirements. Each student visa and student permit will detail the course of study, the school or institution and its location. Note: In some countries Visa itself is a permit.

How do I apply for a Student Visa?

Students leaving for the United States need to hold a F-1 visa. This indicates that you are a single student, with no dependents The documents to be enclosed along with the duly filled visa form before the visa interview are as follows

  1. Admit letter

    The admit letter is sent by the university, which has granted admission to you. You have to enclose both i.e. the student and university's copy duly signed by you. Hence when you receive admit letter from the university, you should check it thoroughly. In case there is any mistake in the same, with respect to name, nationality or any other error, you should immediately contact the college or University, and request a fresh document, with the corrections duly made. You cannot apply for the visa without an admit letter.

  2. Passport:

    You should ensure that the passport is valid one.

  3. Fee:

    This amount is non-refundable irrespective of whether you get or do not get visa.

What are the documents I require for the interview?

You need to carry all original documents during the interview. All of the following documents must be in separate clear plastic folders and NOT in files and all in ORIGINAL. There are two kinds of documents -

  1. Academic Papers
  2. Financial Papers.

Academic Papers

  1. Acceptance letter: The official acceptance letter is sent along with the admit letter from by the University where you have been offered admission. The original copy of the letter will be required.
  2. Original Test Scores: GRE/GMAT and TOEFL Test-scores sheets.
  3. Scholarship Letters: If you have received any scholarships or assistantships from the college or university, you will need to carry these financial award letters.
  4. Any other correspondence with the University.
  5. Printouts of e-mail received from the faculty / officials of the university.
  6. Copy of the Statement of Purpose
  7. Original Degree certificates and all original mark-sheets from Class 12 / HSC onwards. This will prove your educational qualification for the program

What are the financial documents I require?

The visa officer needs to ascertain your ability to pay the entire educational expense. This includes tuition fees, boarding expenses and other miscellaneous expenses that you will incur in country you intend to study. Ideally, you will need to show the expenses for the entire length of your education.

Note: You need to produce these documents even if you have applied for financial aid. These documents include:

  1. I -T returns of yours sponsor for the past 5 years.
  2. PASSBOOK / BALANCE STATEMENT and Certificate from your bank stating the bank-balance.
  3. Statement from a Chartered Accountant listing all assets (movable and immovable) of yours and your parents and the sponsor (if parents are not the sponsors).
  4. Original documents pertaining to the certificate issued by Chartered Accountant.

Reasons For Rejection Of VISA Application

Most of the times visa gets rejected on following two grounds:

  1. Potential Immigrant: Every consulate officer who interviews, considers the candidate as a potential immigrant hence you have to be convincing enough that you will return to India after completing studies. For instance, if you have dependent parents in India who may have sponsored you or if you have a business in India then you may not be treated as a potential immigrant.
  2. Insufficient Funds: You must show enough financial resources to cover your educational costs. If the Visa officer is not convinced of the fact that you have the funds to pursue your education he will reject the visa application


The new student visa procedure requires that all students first apply through the Drop-Box. While many will be issued visas without an interview, some students will still be required to appear at the Consulate for a personal interview. If a student is requested to appear for an interview, the main benefit of the drop-box procedure is that an officer will have already reviewed the case, and the interviewing officer will be better prepared to make an informed decision at the visa interview.

The visa interview has long been a source of mystery, confusion, and nervousness (and myths) for students. What questions will they ask? Why did my friend get the visa and I did not? Why didn’t the officer review all of my documents? When conducting interviews, we visa officers are merely trying to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for a student visa. We have very little time to conduct the interview, and must assess quickly whether the documents and answers establish the visa applicant’s eligibility. The questions consular officers ask are based upon these criteria and are designed to help the officer quickly determine a student’s eligibility. Any documents submitted by a student, especially financial documents, are only useful if they can be rapidly examined for the relevant information.

So, how does one apply by drop-box? Good news -- it’s easy! First, assemble the following documents:

  1. A valid passport
  2. The fully completed and signed visa application form (OF-156)
  3. One front-facing photograph, size 37 mm x 37 mm, and less than six months old
  4. Demand drafts for the appropriate fees
  5. Original I-20 from the university
  6. Original TOEFL scores and SAT/GRE/GMAT scores (as applicable)
  7. For prospective master’s degree students, original undergraduate degree certificate and mark sheets (if the original degree or mark sheets are unavailable, please submit provisional certificates and/or photocopies); bachelor’s degree students may show their most recent mark sheets or graduation certificate, as applicable.
  8. Proof of funds. Preferred documentation includes 6 months of bank records, employment letter(s) of sponsor and/or chartered account statements. Students who have obtained bank loans may also provide a letter from the bank stating the same. Additionally, students who have pre-paid any fees may provide a receipt and or a letter from the university stating the same. Students receiving aid from their prospective university that is not indicated on the I-20 should provide a letter from the university stating the nature and amount of aid to be provided.
  9. Optional cover letter: Students with any special circumstances may also wish to provide an explanation in the form of a cover letter.
    Once the documents are in order, simply proceed to the nearest Drop-Box location. TT Services, the Consulate’s authorized courier agent, maintains offices in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.
  10. Processing time takes approximately 8-10 business days, so it is important to allow enough time before the prospective university’s reporting date. We wish to remind all students that they may not apply earlier than 90 days before the reporting date.

Studying in the United States can be an inspiring, exciting, and rewarding experience, but it can also be difficult to finance. Truthfully, education in the United States is very expensive; students and their families pay a higher proportion of the cost of education compared to those in other countries. The cost of living, too, can be high relative to that in other countries. In addition, financial aid is limited and difficult to find. Foreign students must often compete with American students and other talented international students for the same limited funding. In any school, students who are residents of the same state pay instate fees and other pay out-state fees and there is quite a difference in the two amounts. Students who are awarded any kind of assistantships come under the category of instate fees, which is a very nominal amount. Other than this each one has to pay health insurance.

The best sources of aid for graduate students include aid from your home country, U.S. federal aid (such as the Fulbright grant), nongovernmental sources, and especially the academic department in your field of study at your university in the U.S.

  • Fellowships are offered to students with extremely brilliant academic record, test scores supported by excellent recommendation letters and essays. Fellowships comprise of tuition waiver plus grant for living expenses.
  • Graduate assistantships are offered to students by the university wherein they would be working on campus part-time as student helpers in graduate offices, consultants in computer labs etc. This may or may not cover the tuition. These are offered at the time of admission or can be applied for after school starts. One is eligible to apply for graduate assistantships in other department also but people of same department are given preference. Assistantships: An assistantship is a type of work-scholarship program that is unique to graduate students in the United States. Depending on the university and your type of assistantship, you would generally work 10-20 hours per week, and in exchange you would receive a full or partial tuition waiver or reduction, and a small stipend to cover your living expenses. You will not be considered for an assistantship until you have been accepted into a graduate program, and doctoral candidates are generally preferred over Master’s candidates. There are basically three types of assistantships:
  • Tuition waivers, which cover only the tuition and one, has to either work on-campus for living expenses or bear it with personal funds.
  • If you are a PhD aspirant or if you have good credentials in undergraduate school then you can get teaching assistantships at the time of admission. There are grading and teaching assignment. Many schools offer this on the basis of seminars given by you. You will have to take an oral proficiency test and get a minimum requirement to be eligible for a TA position. Some schools encourage for TA applications across departments. If your field of study is taught at the undergraduate level, you stand a chance of securing a teaching assistantship. These positions usually involve conducting small classes, delivering lectures, correcting class work, grading papers, counseling students, and supervising laboratory groups. Appointments are based on academic qualifications and are subject to the availability of funds within a department. Obviously, your command of the English language is extremely important for this type of assistantship, and your job offer may carry the stipulation that you must pass an additional English exam when you arrive at the University, as well as go through additional training. If you are interested in a teaching assistantship, contact the academic department.
  • Co-operative education is an option where you can work off-campus i.e. in companies on a part-time basis. This option will be open to you either after the first semester or first year of study. You will have to file an application for a work permit also called the practical training card (PT) at the international students office to be eligible for taking up this option. Also you have to show a good record in the course taken. Local companies usually entertain students for co-operative education option.
  • Scholarships: Many universities offer tuition waver and other types of scholarship to students. Do search for them at various scholarship search sites.
  • Research Assistantships: This type usually requires that you assist in the research activities of a faculty member. Although it is less rare to receive this type of award your first year of graduate school, contact the department after being admitted and describe your particular research interests. If you are interested in a research assistantship, contact the department, and perhaps the particular professor you wish to work with, if s/he is conducting that type of research. This is perfectly appropriate and you do not need an introduction. Write a formal letter describing your interest in the research, your previous research experience and credentials, and explain why you think you would be a productive member of the research team.
  • Administrative Assistantships: Unlike the previous assistantships, this type is not necessarily connected to your academic area of study. This type involves working at an administrative office of a university, such as admissions, student affairs, residence life, or library. These involve more searching because they are not offered by your academic department, but you can go to the individual websites of those departments or look on the student employment web page (often in the Career Center or Placement Office website). Fellowships and Grants: These awards are similar to assistantships, but have no work requirement. They are comparatively rare, and sometimes come from outside organizations.

Apart from these, other sources like on-campus jobs and freelance work can help you manage your finances.

UK :Financing your education

There are many scholarships and bursaries from UK institutions for international students, while more than 21, 000 international students receive scholarship funding from the UK Government every year. Under existing work regulations, you can work up to 20 hours a week when studying and full time during vacations

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