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Required Financial Documents for International Students

International Students are required to file financial documents along with their admission applications.

Here are some tips on Financial Documents which may help you.

1.Financial Statements what they are?

Financial statements are meant to show to the universities that you or your sponsor have enough liquidity to finance your study and living expenses while you are a student in the American University.

This is a requirement by law and you have to provide it . There is no waiver on this score.

2.What does liquidity imply?

Cash in the saving bank account,Fixed deposits in the bank,savings in the post office accounts. I call these as “Pure Liquid Assets” and if you have these then there is no hassle with the universities.

People who do not have enough funds in the above do group some allied items in their Financial Statements. These I call as “Allied Liquid Assets”. Demat accounts, PF, Life Insurance Policies are normally mentioned here.

Some Universities do accept the Allied Assets and some do not. It is a matter of convincing the univs.

3.How much funds need to be shown?

You have to show two semesters cost comprising of Fees,living and miscellaneous expenses.

Check the universities requirements on these and show the funds accordingly.Each university has it’s own cost structure.Select the universities you want to apply and prepare the documents showing the highest expenses. This is done in order that you use the same Financial statement for all your Universities.

Note Read below “What if you I target for assistantship”

4.How to prepare the affidavit?

The affidavit of support should be on a stamp paper and attested by a Notary Public after your sponsor signs it.

This is done to impress the university otherwise it has no legal standing in USA.

The affidavit should carry supporting documents from your(sponsors) bank certifying the amount you are having in your account. For FDs get another certificate. Similarly for other items.

Remember that you are targeting several universities This implies that all your affidavits and bank certificates should be sent in original to each univ. So prepare as many as you intend applying plus one or two more. Preferably send the University’s financial forms along with your affidavit

5. When should the financial affidavit be sent?

It is best to send it along with the application. This helps the university. Sending it later some times causes hassles to coordinate the documents.

However if you are not prepared with them you can send these documents later when the univ asks for them. This will not affect your admission decision.

6.What if I target for assistantship?

If you are targeting for assistantship and are confident that you will get it and have decided not to go to a particular university unless the assistantship is granted you need not send the financial documents initially.

If any assistantship is granted you can reduce the amount of grant from the required finances and prepare the document accordingly.

7. I do not have funds so how should I go about?

People propagate several unethical ways do this. I do not.

Maybe with experience I have mellowed down .

Enough to say that I know some universities do verify with the banks about your documents. If you are caught on the wrong foot then there is no one to save you. The adviser shall not come forward nor the person who prepared the documents for you.

I can only comment that there are legal ways to overcome this difficulty. Use your ingenuity.

To this I will add that over 50% of persons who aspire to study abroad face this difficulty and your are not unique in this.

Think and you will find a correct and legal way out.

8.What is the period of validity of these documents?

About 4-6 months.

9. Can I use these financial documents for Visa purpose?

Yes and No.

While you must carry these documents while going for visa however it will be prudent to prepare separate documents when you go for visa.

More on this later.

Good Luck

NBS

Technology Alert List (TAL)

 International Students if you are applying for any of these programs? Think again or reallign your profile. It is difficult to get a visa for these fields.

I said difficult not impossible

CRITICAL FIELDS LIST

A. CONVENTIONAL MUNITIONS: Technologies associated with:
— Warheads and other large caliber projectiles
— Reactive armor and warhead defeat systems
— Fusing and arming systems.
— Electronic countermeasures and systems
— New or novel explosives and formulations
— Automated explosive detection methods and equipment

B. NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY: Technologies associated with production and use of nuclear material for both peaceful and military applications. Included are technologies for:
— Enrichment of fissile material
— Reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel to recover produced plutonium
— Production of heavy water for moderator material
— Plutonium and tritium handling
Also, certain associated technologies related to nuclear physics and/or nuclear engineering. Includes materials, equipment or technology associated with:
— Power reactors, breeder and production reactors
— Fissile or special nuclear materials
— Uranium enrichment, including gaseous diffusion, centrifuge, aerodynamic, chemical, Electromagnetic Isotopic Separation (EMIS), Laser Isotope Separation (LIS)
— Spent fuel reprocessing, plutonium, mixed oxide nuclear research Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)
— Magnetic confinement fusion
— Laser fusion, high power lasers, plasma,
— Nuclear fuel fabrication including Mixed Oxide (uranium-plutonium) fuels (MOX)
— Heavy water production
— Tritium production and use
— Hardening technology

C. ROCKET SYSTEMS (including ballistic missile systems, space launch vehicles and sounding rockets) and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) (including cruise missiles, target drones, and reconnaissance drones): Technologies associated with rocket systems and UAV systems. The
technology needed to develop a satellite launch vehicle is virtually identical to that needed to build a ballistic missile.

D. ROCKET SYSTEM AND UNMANNED AIR VEHICLE (UAV) SUBSYSTEMS:
Propulsion technologies include solid rocket motor stages, and liquid propellant engines. Other critical subsystems include re-entry vehicles, guidance sets, thrust vector controls and warhead safing, arming and fusing. Many of these technologies are dual-use. Technologies include:
— Liquid and solid rocket propulsion systems
— Missile propulsion and systems integration
— Individual rocket stages or staging/separation mechanism
— Aerospace thermal (such as superalloys) and high-performance structures
— Propulsion systems test facilities

E. NAVIGATION, AVIONICS AND FLIGHT CONTROL USEABLE IN ROCKET SYSTEMS AND UNMANNED AIR VEHICLES (UAV): These capabilities directly determine the delivery accuracy and lethality of both unguided and guided weapons. The long-term costs to design, build and apply these technologies have been a limiting proliferation factor. Technologies include those associated with:
— Internal navigation systems
— Tracking and terminal homing devices
— Accelerometers and gyroscopes
— Rocket and UAV and flight control systems.
— Global Positioning System (GPS)

F. CHEMICAL, BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING: The technology used to produce chemical and biological weapons is inherently dual-use. The same technologies that could be applied to develop and produce chemical and biological weapons are used widely by civilian research laboratories and industry; these technologies are relatively common in many countries. Advanced biotechnology has the potential to support biological weapons research. In the biological area, look for interest in technologies associated with:
— Aerobiology (study of microorganisms found in the air or in aerosol form)
— Biochemistry
— Pharmacology
— Immunology
— Virology
— Bacteriology
— Mycology
— Microbiology
— Growth and culturing of microorganisms
— Pathology (study of diseases)
— Toxicology
— Study of toxins
— Virulence factors
— Genetic engineering, recombinant DNA technology
— Identification of nucleic acid sequences associated with pathogenecity
— Freeze-drying (lyophilization)
— Fermentation technology
— Cross-filtration equipment
— High “DOP-rated filters” (e.g., HEPA filters, ULPA filters)
— Microencapsulation
— Aerosol sprayers and technology, aerosol and aerosolization technology
— Spray or drum drying technology
— Milling equipment or technology intended for the production of micron-sized particles
— Technology for eliminating electrostatic charges of small particles
— Flight training
— Crop-dusting, aerosol dissemination
— Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology
— Fuses, detonators, and other munitions technology
— Submunitions technology
— Computer modeling of dissemination or contagion
— Chemical absorption (nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) protection)
In the chemical area, look for:
— Organo-phosphate chemistry
— Neurochemistry
— Chemical engineering
— Chemical separation technology
— Pesticide production technology
— Pharmaceutical production technology
— Chemical separation technology
— Toxicology
— Pharmacology
— Neurology
— Immunology
— Detection of toxic chemical aerosols
— Chemical absorption (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) protection)
— Production of glass-lined steel reactors/vessels, pipes, flanges, and other equipment
— Aerosol sprayers and technology
— Flight training
— Crop-dusting, aerosol dissemination
— Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology
— Fuses, detonators, and other munitions technology
— Submunitions technology
— Computer modeling of dissemination

G. REMOTE SENSING, IMAGING AND RECONNAISSANCE: Satellite and aircraft remote sensing technologies are inherently dual-use; increasingly sophisticated technologies can be used for civilian imagery projects or for military and intelligence reconnaissance activities. Drones and remotely piloted vehicles also augment satellite capabilities. Key-word associated technologies are:
— Remote sensing satellites
— High resolution multi-spectral, electro-optical and radar data/imagery
— Imagery instruments, cameras, optics, and synthetic aperture radar systems
— Ground receiving stations and data/image processing systems
— Photogrammetry
— Imagery data and information products
— Piloted aircraft
— Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV)
— Remotely-piloted vehicles; and drones

H. ADVANCED COMPUTER/MICROELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY: Advanced computers and software play a useful (but not necessarily critical) role in the development and deployment of missiles and missile systems, and in the development and production of nuclear weapons. Advanced computer capabilities are also used in over-the-horizon targeting, airborne early warning targeting, Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) processors. These technologies are associated with:
— Supercomputing, hybrid computing
— Speech processing/recognition systems
— Neural networks
— Data fusion
— Quantum wells, resonant tunneling
— Superconductivity
— Advance optoelectronics
— Acoustic wave devices,
— Superconducting electron devices
— Flash discharge type x-ray systems
— Frequency synthesizers
— Microcomputer compensated crystal oscillators

I. MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY: The metallic, ceramic and composite materials are primarily related to structural functions in aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, undersea vehicles, and propulsion devices. Polymers provide seals and sealants for containment of identified fluids and lubricants for various vehicles and devices. High density graphite is used in missile nosetips, jet vanes and nozzle throats. Selected specialty materials (i.e., stealth and the performance of these materials) provide critical capabilities that exploit electromagnetic absorption, magnetic, or superconductivity characteristics. These technologies are associated with:
— Advanced metals and alloys
— Non-composite ceramic materials
— Ceramic, cermet, organic and carbon materials
— Polymeric materials
— Synthetics fluids
— Hot isostatic
— Densifications
— Intermetallic
— Organometals
— Liquid and solid lubricant
— Magnetic metals and superconductive conductors

J. INFORMATION SECURITY: Technologies associated with cryptography and cryptographic systems to ensure secrecy for communications, video, data and related software.

K. LASER AND DIRECTED ENERGY SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY: Lasers have critical military applications, including incorporation in guided ordinance such as laser guided bombs and ranging devices. Directed energy technologies are used to generate electromagnetic radiation or particle beams and to project that energy on a specific target. Kinetic energy technologies are those used to impart a high velocity to a mass and direct it to a target. Directed energy and kinetic energy technologies have potential utility in countering missiles and other applications. Look for technologies associated with:
— Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS)
— Molecular Laser Isotope Separation (MLIS)
— High Energy Lasers (HEL) (i.e., laser welders)
— Low Energy Lasers (LEL)
— Semiconductor lasers
— Free electron lasers
— Directed Energy (DE) systems
— Kinetic Energy (KE) systems
— Particle beam, beam rider, electromagnetic guns, Optoelectronics/electro-optics (Europe)
— Optical tracking (i.e., target designators)
— High energy density
— High-speed pulse generation, pulsed power
— Hypersonic and/or hypervelocity
— Magnetohydrodynamics

L. SENSORS AND SENSOR TECHNOLOGY: Sensors provide real-time information and data, and could provide a significant military advantage in a conflict. Marine acoustics is critical in anti-submarine warfare; gravity meters are essential for missile launch calibration. Look for technologies associated with:
— Marine acoustics
— Optical sensors
— Night vision devices, image intensification devices
— Gravity meters
— High speed photographic equipment
— Magnetometers

M. MARINE TECHNOLOGY: Marine technologies are often associated with submarines and other deep submersible vessels; propulsion systems designed for undersea use and navigation and quieting systems are associated with reducing detectability and enhancing operations survivability. Look for technologies connected with:
— Submarines and submersibles
— Undersea robots
— Marine propulsion systems
— Signature recognition
— Acoustic and non-acoustic detection
— Acoustic, wake, radar and magnetic signature reduction
— Magnetohydrodynamics
_ Stirling engines and other air independent propulsion systems

N. ROBOTICS: Technologies associated with:
— Artificial intelligence
— Automation
— Computer-controlled machine tools
— Pattern recognition technologies.

O. URBAN PLANNING: Expertise in construction or design of systems or technologies necessary to sustain modern urban societies. (PLEASE NOTE: Urban Planning may not fall under the purview of INA section 212 (a)(3)(a), U.S. technology transfer laws, or any other U.S. law or regulation. However, Urban Planning is a special interest item and posts are requested to refer such visa application requests to CA/VO/L/C for further review.) Look for technologies/skills associated with:
— Architecture
— Civil engineering
— Community development
— Environmental planning
Geography
Housing
Landscape architecture
Land use and comprehensive planning
— Urban design

Questions asked by the Visa Counselors – Step 1

Why do you want to go to USA?

Why particularly USA

Which University have you applied for

Why particularly this University?

How did you come to know about this University

Where is it situated?

Which course are you going for?

Why did you choose this particular course?

What was your previous field of study?

Is this course related to your previous field of study? If no why is this varying interest

Which institution did you attended last

Is there a gap in your studies? If yes give reasons.

Will Continue—–

About Visa

Whats the basic fact that one should know about Visa?
The most important fact is, that a visa is a privilege and not ones right. The Consular Officer at the respective consulate / embassy decides whether one can be granted the visa or not after an objective analysis of your profile.

What is the basic criterion for securing a student visa?
The consular officer will objectively take into consideration your entire profile. The profile compromises: a)Academic Qualifications b)Financial Capabilities and c)Ones intentionsIf the consular officer is convinced about all three, only then he may grant you the visa.

What sort of financial support is expected?
If and only if need be, the consular officer may call for evidences supporting your a)Ability to meet the expenses (Bank Loan sanction letter, Bank savings either SB or FD balances proof and other cash assets), b)Proof that additional funds are available to the family, c)Proof of annual income and /or d)Other documents as the consular officer may deem fit.

Are bank loans accepted?
Yes, Bank loans are accepted as sources of funds for your study abroad purposes. However, the same to be in accordance to the annual income of the sponsor.

Who all can be my sponsors?
Generally parents are considered to be the natural sponsors of a student. Grandparents being part and parcel of the Indian family system can also sponsor a student. If one has enough work experience, then the company with that has employed the applicant can also sponsor.

Can my relative, friend or close associate sponsor me?
Parents being the natural sponsors, it is generally advised that they should sponsor you. However if any of the above is sponsoring, you may have to provide strong evidences in favor of them.

Is it all right, if a company sponsors me?
Yes. A Company can rightfully sponsor you for further studies provided it is permitted to do so by its Memorandum or Articles of association. Such sponsorship is deemed to be meaningful, only if one has gained enough work experience. The company on its part will have to provide documents about its financials and the reason behind sponsoring the student.

Does academic performance and test scores matter?
Yes. As the consular officer is going to evaluate your potential for further studies, through your academic background, it may influence the officers decision to a large extent. Likewise the test scores are also viewed quite seriously as they are supposed to demonstrate your ability to successfully pursue higher studies.

If my academic records/test scores are bad, will my visa application be refused?
Although the academic records and test scores do play an important role in the visa process, the officer at the consulate may still look at your application holistically and may review your profile, due to which you may be granted the visa.

Does the university I am going to important?
Generally the consulate officers are not biased on the universities. However, the consulate officer may want to know the reasons behind your choice of universities. Hence as long as you can convincingly defend your choice it should not be a problem.

Do I need to have a specific career objective?
Yes, you need to have made plans about your long-term career prospects. Only when you now what you want, you would be able to convince the visa officer about your intentions to return and that its a worthwhile investment for you.

Does my program of choice affect my visa prospects?
The program you have opted for should be in accordance with what you have studied and also enhance your career prospects here. You may have to be prepared to convince them, as to how will this program benefit you & the career prospects here.After Sept 11, certain programs are under the alert list warranting a background check. Hence if you have not applied well ahead, your visa application may not be cleared by the time your semester starts.

Can I file my visa application with any consulate in India?
No, for student visa you must either be a permanent resident of the area governed by the consulate where you are applying or should have been a resident of that area at least for the past one year. Currently, the US embassy allows residents of certain consulate offices to apply at other designated consulates/embassy, if getting an appointment in the respective territory is a problem. However one is advised to cross verify on the same, as the rules are subject to change.

How can I convince the VISA officer about my intentions to return to India?
Frankly speaking, theres no pre-defined methods / documents / profiles for success. Your strong communication skills should be oriented towards presenting the true picture about your career prospects, your intentions and the ties to your country, such that the same convinces the consulate officer.

Do I need to have liquid cash for the entire period of study?
No. Liquid assets for the first year of study and access to funds for the rest of your study period would be sufficient. Also kindly remember that the educational loan you would have availed is accepted as sources of funds

Does the source of funding affect my visa?
The Consulate officer may want to know the quantum of money at your disposal for higher studies and hence any source rightfully accumulated should be fine. However one may have to be prepared to explain the same in detail, if queried, and convince the consulate officer.

Would a scholarship help me in the visa process?
To a very large extent, scholarships are considered to be an asset as it demonstrates your worth as a highly qualified applicant. If you have been admitted with a scholarship / financial aid, you need to provide evidence that you have secured the same.

What is the most common ground on which student visas may be refused?
Even though there is no specific reason as to why ones application may be refused, over the years we have observed that when an applicant fails to communicate confidently either about the purpose of studying abroad or the intentions of returning to the home country, the consulate officer may not consider the application favorably.

What does refusal under sec 214(B) indicate?
If ones application for student visa is refused under the above clause, then it could mean that the student was not able to convince the consulate officer on the following: a)that the student intends to return home after the completion of the program b)that the student has sufficient funds to meet his expenses and/or c)the travel is for legitimate purposes.

What does refusal under sec 221(g) indicate?
A refusal for student visa under this category, commonly means that the student did not provide sufficient documents to convince the visa officer or that certain procedure will have to be completed before the consulate officer can take the final decision.

Can I reapply, if my student visa application is refused?
If your application for the student visa is refused, you can definitely reapply, after the elapse of the minimum number of days as prescribed by the consulate office at which you applied.
However, kindly note that, if theres no substantial change in your profile, a reapplication is generally advised.

How many number of times, can I appear for a personal interview?
It depends on which consulate office you have applied to. Certain consulates allow you to appear any number of times and certain consulates restrict the same. Please visit the web site of that particular consulate or check with us personally for details about the same.

If I am granted a visa, does it guarantee entry into the USA?
No. The Directorate of Border and Transportation security has the authority to deny admission to you at the port of entry, if he decides so.Also the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security officials initially determines the period for which you are authorized to remain in the US. The Form 1-94 issued to you at the port of entry notes the length of stay permitted.

I came to know lately, that fewer students are granted visa? Is it due to the change in the immigration rules?
It is not true, in fact visa issuance have gone up. According to an annual report on International students in US (open Doors Report 2003 (IIE). About 74,603 Indian students accounted for 13 percent of the total of 586,323 international students. China was second with 64,757 students.

14 Steps To Get A Student Visa

HOW TO PRESENT YOURSELF

ATTITUDE EVALUATION

QUESTIONS YOU MUST HAVE PERFECT ANSWERS TO

UNIVERSITY RELATED QUESTIONS

DRESSING AND MANNERISM

YOUR WORST FEARS

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

FAMILY RELATED QUESTIONS

PROPERTY QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE COUNSELOR LOOKING IN YOU?

TIPS THAT SAIL YOU THROUGH

POINTS TO REMEMBER

COMMON SENSE QUESTIONS

MOCK SESSIONS

Will Continue —–


Canadian Visa Checklist

The # 1 requirement is unconditional offer of acceptance from a Canadian college or university

Funding

Affidavit of support from sponsors – This should cover the following points:
1. Sponsor’s relationship with the student,
2. Program of study & duration of program to be taken up by the student
3. Amount of money the sponsor is willing to provide the student
4. Sponsor’s source of income and details of family (how many dependants does the sponsor have etc)
Proof of income of Sponsor if he/she is salaried professional:
Appointment letter from company
Salary certificate
Income Tax Returns for the last three years
Chartered Accountant’s valuation of assets
Bank savings should be documented by the following papers:
1. Letter from bank manager stating the account number, name of person operating the
account and account balance as of date.
2. Detailed statements/passbooks showing transactions for at least a year (any large deposits/debits will need to be explained by supporting documentation)
Details of any other investments/stocks/shares/bonds/fixed deposits
Fixed assets – property (land deed, valuation certificate) and car (insurance papers)
Proof of Income of Sponsor if he/she is in Business
Proof of business – registration papers of the company or partnership agreement
Chartered Accountant’s valuation of assets
Balance sheets of the company for the last three years
IT Returns for the last three years
Statement of current account in the bank. Statement should go back at least a year, if not more.
Proof of liquid assets like shares, stocks, other investment
Proof of fixed assets – property (land deed, valuation certificate) car (car insurance papers).
Funds must show that there is enough money for the first year’s tuition fees (amount as specified by the institution) + 1 Year’s living costs (approx. 10,000 CD$). Together with this, the sponsor should show a consistent source of income to support the subsequent year (s) of the student’s education in Canada

English Skill,Tests and other requirements

TOEFL scores UNLESS the student has a letter from the university saying the candidate’s application has been reviewed and he does not need to take the TOEFL
GMAT/Any other test that he is required to do
Marksheets/Academic Transcripts
Copies of his/her marksheets of board/university examinations
Statement of purpose – this document should list out student’s reasons (in a clear, concise manner) for choosing to study in Canada and future plans in India after he/she
completes their education in Canada.
Optional Documents (only for candidates who already have them)
Work experience certificates
Letter from his/her employer granting leave,
If student has arranged employment with any company on his/her return, then they could show the letter of employment.

New Option for Foreign Interns

After years of lobbying on the part of international education leaders, the Department of State posted a proposed change to its J-1 exchange visitor regulations Tuesday that would create a new subcategory specifically for student interns.

“The question is, what happens if a student who is enrolled in a foreign institution of higher education wants to pursue an internship at a U.S. institution of higher education or an affiliated organization like a research institute as part of their studies,” said Victor C. Johnson, associate executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which has advocated for such a change for six or seven years now.

“At the current time, it’s not that it’s impossible to do that, but there’s no category in the regulations that applies to those people. So they’ve had to be shoehorned in under other regulatory categories that weren’t created to apply to interns.”

Under the proposed change, foreign students enrolled in accredited postsecondary institutions outside of the United States, or graduates who have completed a program of study within 12 months of starting an exchange, would be eligible to participate in one year-long internship program per degree level. Potential international interns must be able to describe how the internship — which can be paid or unpaid — would enhance their educational programs in their home institutions. The regulations prohibit sponsoring institutions from placing interns in unskilled or casual labor positions, or in those that involve aviation, child or elder care, and patient care or contact (including dentistry, early childhood education, nursing, psychological counseling, social work, speech therapy, sports or physical therapy, and veterinary medicine).

Several international educators said they were still reviewing the proposed rules Tuesday. But overall they were pleased to see that a proposal — long delayed after September 11, Johnson said — was finally in play. “[I]n general this is an extremely positive and significant addition to the college and university student category of the J1 exchange visitor program,” Ann Kuhlman, director of Yale University’s Office of International Students and Scholars, said via e-mail Tuesday. “U.S. institutions of higher education have suggested this addition for the past few years — as we began to see an increase in requests from students, particularly from Europe and Asia, who were seeking internships in their fields at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Continue Reading the Article—-

Be the first one to get it

Student VISA – The Inside Story

STUDENT VISA – THE INSIDE STORY
(The writer was a U.S. Visa Officer with the Consulate-General of the U.S.,
Chennai.)

I want to try and explain the criteria we visa officers use to adjudicate
student visa cases, explain the recent procedural changes and dispel some
commonly-held student visa myths.

FOUR KEY CRITERIA

Applicants for student visas are required, by U.S. law, to meet four key
criteria before a student visa can be issued.

Section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that all visa
applicants are intending immigrants until they prove otherwise. The U.S. law
puts the burden of proof upon the visa applicant to prove the applicant is
not an intending immigrant.

All student visa applicants must therefore prove that they have strong
economic, social and cultural ties to their home country, and that they
intend to return to India upon completion of their studies in the U.S.

Secondly, students must prove that they intend to and are academically
capable of completing a full course of study in the U.S.

Thirdly, students must demonstrate that they are capable of successfully
completing U.S. studies taught in English language.

And finally, students must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds
currently available to pay for the entire first year of study, and that
funds are or will likely be available for all additional years until the
course of study is to be completed. This includes tuition and fees, living
expenses, expenses of dependent spouses and children, and any other needs
like school books and health insurance.

Satisfying the first three requirements is generally very simple and
straightforward for students in India. Most all of our student applicants
have all or much of their family in India. Their parents, siblings, and
relatives live, work and attend school here, have property and land here and
have no current intention to immigrate to the U.S. It is of little doubt to
officers that the rich heritage and culture of India makes for a very strong
tie. Moreover, the large majority of our student applicants speak English,
have already obtained bachelor’s degrees at reputed universities in India,
have taken standardized tests like the TOEFL and GRE and have proven their
ability to succeed academically.

The fourth requirement is often the largest hurdle that students confront.
Living and going to school in the U.S. is a very expensive proposition.
Tuition, housing, food, healthcare, transportation, not to mention clothing
and entertainment, add up in a hurry. The high cost of higher education in
the U.S. (even by the standards of your average American student), is
compounded by the large disparity in incomes between an average American
college student’s family and an average Indian college student’s family. An
annual family income of three lakhs or the equivalent of about $ 6500, which
is very good by Indian standards, is far less than the cost of a single year
of university study at a U.S. educational institutional. Added to this
challenge presented by the high cost of education in the U.S. is the fact
that U.S. law prohibits all international students from seeking off-campus
work during the first year of study.

FINANCIAL PRESSURE

As a result, students who cannot afford the high cost of U.S. study
frequently succumb to financial pressure and take up un-authorized
employment during their studies, leave school altogether, or stay on to work
illegally in the United States. There are, however, numerous ways for
students to finance their U.S. education and prove their ability to pay
these high costs. By far, the best option is a full scholarship or
assistantship that covers an entire year’s expenses. While the students
still must show that they have or are likely to have funds available for all
subsequent years of study, students in this category are very rarely found
ineligible for a visa. There are also colleges that offer partial reductions
in their fees to some students. Although we value these much less than a
full scholarship or assistantship, they are still a good way to help
students show that they are able to finance their education.

Some students may also opt to pay for the first year’s or the first
semester’s fees in advance and provide a letter and/or receipt from the
university. This shows a student’s level of commitment and provides credible
financial evidence from the United States. We encourage students to explore
the viability of this option with prospective universities before applying
for a visa but we remind them that it is not a requirement in order to apply
for a visa. Beyond scholarships and paying tuition in advance, there are no
secret documents that can show proof of a student’s ability to pay. The
Consulate can only suggest what documentation is useful; the burden of proof
is on the applicant.

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.

HOW TO APPLY

First, assemble the following documents:

A VALID PASSPORT
The fully completed and signed visa application forms (D-156, D-157,D-158).
One front-facing photograph, size 37 mm x 37 mm, and less than six months
old.
Demand drafts for the appropriate fees.
Original I-20 from the university.
Original TOEFL scores and SAT/GRE/GMAT scores (as applicable).
For prospective master’s degree students, original undergraduate degree
certificate and marksheets (if the original degree or marksheets are
unavailable, please submit provisional certificates and/or photocopies);
bachelor’s degree students may show their most recent marksheets or
graduation certificate, as applicable.

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.

OPTIONAL COVER LETTER:
Students with any special circumstances may also wish to provide an
explanation in the form of a cover letter.

It is important that students do not omit any recommended documentation. In
order to qualify for a visa. A student’s documentation must show that he/she
meets all the criteria as previously outlined. Also, avoid the common
pitfall of providing too much documentation – visa officers do not have the
time to sort through a package of documents that rivals the Mahabharata in
length! Do not submit incomplete, disorganized, and/or frivolous
documentation.

Once the documents are in order, simply proceed to get a visa date and pay
your SEVIS fee. 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.

SEVERAL MYTHS

Officers have reported hearing several of the following myths when
conducting informational sessions for students:

1. There is a limit to how many student visas are issued each year, so if
you apply too late you will be automatically refused.
FALSE!

2. Anyone who is a medical doctor or is going to study medicine will automat
ically be refused.
FALSE!

3. You have to pay the tuition in advance in order to apply for a student
visa. FALSE!

4. If you do not meet a minimum score on any of the standardized test, you
will automatically be refused.
FALSE!

You may have already guessed from the term “myths” that the answer to each
of these questions is an emphatic “NO!” There is no limit on how many
student visas are issued every year; there is no bar to visa issuance for
medical doctors; there is no requirement that any tuition fees are paid in
advance; and there is no minimum score for any standardized test. So the
next time you hear one, know that they are just that: myths.

A FINAL QUESTION THAT MANY STUDENTS HAVE:

What if I am found ineligible for a student visa after an interview?
Recent policy allows you to apply for visa as many times as you desire. This
application has to be made after 3 working days of denial.
However, students should only apply for a review if they have new
information to present.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE TWO THINGS:

(1) the burden of proof is on the applicant and
(2) to qualify for a student visa, a student must meet ALL of the criteria
as listed in this article.

Unfortunately, officers do not have the time at the visa window to give
counseling to individual students. If found ineligible, review your case
thoroughly. When you have new information to present and/or when your
circumstances have changed, please feel welcome to apply again.

IN CONCLUSION
As in years past, many bright and capable students from India will continue
to pursue higher studies in the U.S. and will continue to represent a valued
segment of college students in the U.S. We hope that the information in this
article will help in getting even more Indian students to American
universities.

Note:
Some procedures like paying the fees in HDFC Bank and getting a visa appointment has since changed

Documentation for the Undocumented?

s Marie Nazareth Gonzales puts it, “Life in limbo is no way to live.” A junior at Westminster College in Missouri and a Costa Rican who came to the United States at the age of 5, Gonzales is living here on borrowed time. Her parents were deported in 2005, and her own deportation has now been deferred three times, each deferral good for one year. “Last month, when they gave me until June of 2008, they told me it would be the last renewal. If the DREAM [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors] Act doesn’t pass by then, I will have to leave,” Gonzales told the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law during a hearing on undocumented student issues Friday morning.
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“My life since April of 2002 can be easily compared to a roller coaster,” Gonzales said. “There have been times when I have felt like I was on top of the world, living out mine and my parents’ dream of being a successful young woman in her college career, only to be brought down by the realization that at any moment it can be taken away.”

The plight of undocumented college students attracted virtually unprecedented attention in Congress last week, when Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, with President Bush’s backing, announced a comprehensive immigration reform package that would include a DREAM Act provision providing a path to permanent residency for college students and military personnel under 30 who came to the country illegally as children. Passage of the Senate plan — already derided as an amnesty bill — is in no way a sure thing. Still, advocates for undocumented students say they have good reason to be hopeful.

“This seems to be the most optimism that we’ve been allowed to have in quite some time, certainly in the seven years that I’ve been working on this issue,” said David Hawkins, director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He cited not only the bipartisan Senate plan but also the willingness of the House subcommittee to hold a hearing on undocumented students Friday. That same hearing, Hawkins said, never would have happened even one year ago (when Republicans were in control).

“I don’t want to jinx ourselves, but if you have [the support of] the administration, a bipartisan agreement in the Senate and a committee in the House that seems willing to take this on, in addition to some very compelling testimony from students this morning, I have to feel that the outlook is good, certainly better than it has been in some time,” Hawkins said Friday afternoon. He added that he thinks the Senate plan will spur the House to come up with a package of its own to send to the floor by summer.Read On….

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VISA Questions

Frequently Asked Questions at a Visa Interview

Collected from various sources

1.How many universities did you apply to?
This is a very basic question, but linked to this is the second question that is shot at you.

2. How many admits/ rejects?
As explained in the above question, both of these are interlinked. Now if you applied to 4, were accepted in 1 and got 3 rejects. You do not have to be Mr. TRUTH. So put it as applied to 4, got 1, awaiting 2, 1 reject or applied to 4, got 1, awaiting 3.But then you have to state as in Question 3. That this was supposed to be your first choice anyhow, so even if you would have had the admit letters from any of the other 3,you would certainly have gone for this one. But if you are one of those type who offered to 1 and got just 1, do not go about saying that!!! Say you applied to 4, got 1, awaiting 3.put up the other university’s names; because they think that someone who has applied to just one university isn’t really serious about his admissions and so isn’t interested in educational purpose.which means a direct reject. If you applied to 11, got from just one. Better say that you applied to just 4 or 5, and one reject, one admits and rest waited. Many a times its better not to carry the reject letters, though some people advise so, but the thing is some university’s reject on totally baseless matters. You are the best judge as to if the rejection letter will do you good/bad.

3. What was your first choice?
The answer to this question also is dependent on the earlier one.

4. What is your GRE/TOEFL score?
As per your details. But always try to speak out the better score first. Like if you have a good TOEFL score, say 630, and a GRE of 1750, and speak out your TOEFL first and then GRE. Usually people think, they can go and lead them by answering long and sweet, like if asked for scores, the long answer might be:
“Sir, I took my Computer based TOEFL and scored 270 at it, while I took the GRE and scored 800 in Quantitative, 710 in Analytical and 430 in Verbal”. Well this can heat up the officer. He/She might feel
you are taking him for ride.even if you are not. So keep it short. So let the answer be: ” TOEFL 270, GRE: 1940″. That’s it! As much as he asked for. Makes his job easier and so he doesn’t get pissed off at any of
your leading behaviors.

5. What are your grades like?
Spell it out as it has been at your university. Say “Sir, We have a percentage system, and I scored xx % overall” IF your final year marks excel the other semesters marks, spell that one out, coz usually in some universities, they look at the final year marks to grade the student in the Certificate. When later asked as to why you said XX% whereas the total marks of all your mark sheets add up to XX-5/10% then clarify yourself…(They wont always go checking all your mark sheets, but then you weren’t lying)

6. Which was your undergraduate college?
As per your details.

7. What was your bachelor’s degree in?
As per your details.

8. What is the purpose of your trip?
MS in CS/Telecommunications/EE…whatever or PhD in xxxxx

9. Which university are you planning to go to?
The University of your choice and the university you want the VISA for.

10.Who is planning to sponsor you?
As mentioned in your I-20. If you have a scholarship, say that. Else in case the I-20 says “Family funds” say that, and you may add that sir, my father and my mother are supporting me for my higher education.

11.Why do you plan to do MS?
Say that you felt that higher qualifications give a better place, a better standard in today’s competitive world. You felt that you have a good know-how of your field, but a bit more technical knowledge in “the field you are going for MS in” will serve you greatly, when you come back here and join the industry of your choice.

12.Why do you wish to study in the US and not in India?
The courses in the field I am interested in are not being offered (or very few institutions offer such courses). In addition to that the research going on is something I would like to be associated with. (Speak about the facilities as well). Talk about a few researches being conducted in that field. Technical words work out when other things don’t.

13. Why did you select this University?
This question can be best answered when you do a bit of homework about you university. Browse the WebPages of the University, visit the pages of the professors, and go through their projects. Now remember some of the key words, like the project a professor X is working on. Mention something about the project if the officer is listening and is giving you time to explain. When you do such things, they think that you are pretty serious about your studies and are really into it. Well, some people believe in mentioning about the rank of the university, or the student to faculty ratio. Well these all things do not affect how you are interested in it. You can say all these stuff such as rank and all, but you have to state what interested you and it should be something about research or academics. You can also show letters of correspondence with your University professors.
The first and foremost factor for selecting this university was the course being offered. Telecom at UMCP is a cross-disciplinary course. Besides technical knowledge, this course also enhances the managerial skills, which is the demand of the present-day telecom industry. So while the professors from Computer and Electrical department will be teaching me Signal Processing, Encoding, Communication
techniques, Networking.at the same time the experts from School of Public Affairs will be imparting me knowledge of Present day competition in Telecom industry, staff management and resource management.

IF time permitted, I would have added:
“Sir, UMCP is located within Baltimore-Washington DC area, one of the greatest concentrations of research facilities and intellectual talent in the nation. “Library of Congress”, “the National Archives” and
“the Smithsonian Institute” are some of the biggest research institutes and libraries which the students will enjoy having frequent interactions with. What else could a Student ask for??”

14. Your passbooks show that a large amount of money has recently been deposited. How would you explain that?
(NOBODY keeps huge sums of money in their savings account, so relax! If you have borrowed the money
here is what you could do Its quite likely that in the past you may have received huge sums of money like selling of some property, retirement of parents etc so you could say something like) In year X we had received Rs. T and instead of depositing the amount in a bank at a low interest rate, we invested it in other sources which gave us high interest rates or we gave it to our needy friends. Now we have taken this money back to finance my education. (Of course it’s really dicey to answer this question, but if you are confident you shouldn’t have a problem. If you have some proof of receiving a huge sum of money some years back, make sure you carry it)
You can also say that you had private Fixed Deposits, i.e. you invested in private firms coz they provide higher interest rates (say out figures like 16% per annum as compared to the mere 9% of banks. Click here for Private Fixed Deposits Receipt. You can show this receipt and say that now you en-cashed that amount, coz you needed it for your educational purposes.
15. What does your father do? What if my dad has taken the Voluntary?
Well this does have a specific reply, but then you can put it as “Sir, My father is working with a German collaborated company for the past 25 years as a Manager in XYZ department. The long reply helps over here. If your father has taken a voluntary retirement, don’t mention that he has retired. Well there are two approaches to this. One, say that your father worked with this company for the last 30 years and now has his own consultancy dealing with (insert some financial or technical terms). Two, Say that your father worked as Asst Mgr./Mgr./GM with some company for the past 25 years, took a VOLUNTARY and now has a consultancy of his own. Never show him to be idle, coz that means your income has drastically reduced and works as a negative point. Stating about the VR often helps coz then you can assure him that most of the money you have shown is yours coz usually people get huge amounts on taking a Voluntary Retirement. So that does help on the financial grounds.
16. Does any of your relative stay in the US?
The answers to this vary from person to person. The two basic replies being: Either “YES” or “NO”. But Ibelieve that you be truthful at this instance. I have seen many people who have been true and weren’taffected by that. In fact at an USEFI seminar, addressed by the Consulate Officer. It was said by the officer himself that,” We know that most of the student will end up staying there after completing their studies, but at least we can do our part of skimming them. We can at least play the part of sieving across the deserving people and not every pedestrian.” This means that they evaluate you on the basis of your merits and not by what the person staying abroad is going to do for you. And the financial part is because they want to be assured that you can at least go through your studies fully. It just happens that many a times, they check your file. Based on details provided in your passport, and if they do apprehend you lying, that might spell trouble. So, I think telling the truth is the best thing. If your uncle or cousin or distant aunt stays there, you don’t have to say “YES” coz that doesn’t matter.All that matters is your immediate relatives. i.e. own brother, sister, father or mother.
17. Your brother/sister is studying there too. How will your parents support both of you? Now, you have your chance of taking the officer for a ride here. Even if your brother/sister doesn’t have an aid/scholarship, you can say he got a TA/RA there and so the family need not support him any more f or his educational expenses.
18.Why is your GRE score low? (Or any section score low)
This is the most preferred answer. I answered the first few questions incorrectly and I couldn’t improve my score later even after performing well later. (Low = “This score is considered to be ideal for the Engineers (if you are one). Or according to what you are. You can always build up a story, saying that the GRE Score interpreter sheet says that. Such as Engineers don’t need to have an extra ordinary VERBAL Score, If the other sections complement it, you can show that the other sections are stressed upon by universities while selection for admission (Say this only when you think the situation is getting tense). If you have a low VERBAL score, but a good TOEFL score, you can always say that “Please look at my TOEFL score Sir, I have done well at that”. Besides GRE is just one of the many aspects that the universities look at for admission (Say this line only when you think you are drowning).
19. What are you plans after Graduation?
Be really well prepared for this question. This answer is not fool proof, but it’s you who can make it seem so. The basic things are:
Your field is what you will pursue
Your field is on a roll in INDIA
Your field has great opportunities
You get those opportunities even now
You get better opportunities once you do your MS
Show foreign companies coming to INDIA investing in your field
State some technical words expressing the advancements in your field
Make it seem, this field wont go ahead without guys like you ;)
Here is what I prepared as an answer to his question:
“Sir, I plan to go to University of xxxxxxxx, to do my MS in xxxxxxx. Telecom industry is booming today in INDIA. Various US companies like HUGHES, Orange, AT&T, and Hutchison. Are investing huge amounts of research funds and are looking forward to launch advanced Telecommunication methods in INDIA. Besides them, various Indian Telecom Giants like RELIANCE TELECOM, Bharti Telecom, VSNL are also investing in behemoth amounts into this arena. Sir, as it is I believe that better technical knowledge will help me to achieve greater heights in this field, having deepened my technical knowledge after completing my higher studies, I wish to get into this seemingly vast arena of Indian Telecom Industry” I was also selected by RELIANCE TELECOM, so I took the letter along with me, and would have surely shown them that if i would have seen that they weren’t impressed by my answer and would have added”
Sir, as it is I was selected by an INDIAN Telecom Giant, but sir, deeper technical knowledge would surely enable me get better results in the competitive field, and I have seen that there is a dearth of persons with greater technical know-how in this field, and whosoever has it will be benefited highly. So I wish to complete my MS and strengthen my technical know-how and grasp the opportunity”
20. Why are you changing your stream?
This generally occurs coz people having done their BE in Civil go on to pursue MS in CS. I am giving this reply specifically for transfer to CS stream, coz i don’t think anyone from CS would be going to mechanical). This is easy to get through. You can say either of the points:
Sir, during my third semester, when I was introduced to programming languages, I had a great exposure to computers. I gradually developed a liking for it and wished to deepen my knowledge in it.
I mastered a number of languages on my own, and am also into Web Designing and software debugging (push in technical words). I always had it in my mind, that once I strengthen myself in my field, I will go on to enhance my skills in the field of Computers.
There were a vast number of options available, viz. CS, CN, CE but I chose CS as I had esteem interest in Software and it’s working
Always try to show that you have an interest for that subject. Never project that you are taking this up coz the market is strong. This is coz you are changing your stream. They might end up thinking that you just used your BE to get to this stage and that you dint do that on interest. They’ll think you are fickle minded. Show that you do everything with your interest, you even did your BE in Civil or any other field coz you had interest in it, and now CS is your interest too.
21. What is your father’s annual income?
This question often decides your ability to pay for your expenses. They think that money can be put into banks, but annual income is a proof, which they heavily rely upon to decide the student’s parent’s capability to spend for his educational expenses.
Whatever the officer asks. 1) What is your father’s annual income? 2). What is your family’s annual
income? The moment the words ‘Annual Income” creeps in, state your complete family annual income, i.e. if your mother is also an earning member, if you have agricultural income, if you have rental income plus the interests and dividends…State all of them together. Don’t commit the blunder of stating just your father’s income. Many a times it hampers your chances. If it seems low to them. Obviously a sum of mother’s income, your father’s income, agricultural (if you have), rental will be more than a single one. And if they ask for the IT returns, hand over both of your parent’s return statements, plus the agricultural papers plus the rental receipt (duplicate) at a time. And if he/she just argues (usually they don’t) that you were asked about your father’s income. Then say” Sir, MY family is sponsoring me. Along with my father my mother is also an earning member and an income tax payee. Family funds is what the I-20 states, and so my family including my father and mother (opt brother, if you have one earning) are sponsoring me and here are their statements and proofs of other modes of income.
22.You look like Potential immigrants OR I don’t think you will come back to India
This is a real tricky question. Many get blue when they hear this and lose their senses as how to tackle this question. Stay calm and think what all you can say like:”I am from a very well-to do family and money is not at all essential for me. I stand to inherit a lot from my parents (say this if you have lots of property) so staying and working in the US is not a criterion at all. The only thing i lack is this Masters (or whatever degree) which will make me a better software professional. As far as opportunity is concerned, because of the recession most of the US Companies are turning to the Indian companies for their software solutions. Most of the Indian companies have tie-ups with the US Companies (give some examples). So I am certain that with my degree I will get an equivalent opportunity and pay packet in India.
The Most important Factor
Let me tell you something. The most important factor is “CONFIDENCE”. Nothing can depose that. Whatever the answer is, if you are confident and show that you aren’t nervous a bit, that will really help you get through. Complete Documents, Convincing Skills, Confidence and Present mindedness is what you have to invest. These are the keys to getting through the interview successfully. Many do get through because of sheer luck, when some of the casual officers just seem to be in a hurry to get through with the troop of VISA aspirants facing their counter.
But then I believe that your parents do all the job of putting together all the financial documents and stuff. The only thing you need to do is to put a confident self of yours over there. Its not that all the questions i have put here are the only ones, they might come up with any other alien stuff. But then present mindedness and spontaneity is what helps under those situations. You have to be prepared with an answer the moment he shoots a question at you. Don’t make a face as if you just committed a sin. Hand over the documents and look at him. Remember, all your documents are as genuine as your Birth Certificate.