The USA remains one of the most preferred destinations for students across the globe owing to its high-quality education and globally renowned colleges and universities. The most striking question encountered by students is that even if we get admitted to any of these top-notch colleges how do we fulfil all the VISA and immigration-related queries? All such queries and concerns shall no longer exist by the time you finish reading this article.
Types of VISA available
There are three types of student VISA’s available to enter the United States of America.
F1 VISA issued by the government holds the status of a non-immigrant VISA status and is required by the students willing to pursue their education in the US.
Post getting accepted by an institution located in the US, the candidate can apply for an F1 VISA. Candidates willing to pursue higher education such as MS, MBA or bachelor’s degree, elementary school, high school, etc can apply for the F1 VISA.
There are certain VISA requirements such as:
- The candidates should show that he/she resides in a foreign country and is a citizen of that country and upon completion of the course he/she will return to his/her country.
- The candidate must be able to demonstrate sufficient bank balance/financial assistance during their stay in the United States They shall need to show documents of their assets in their home country as well. All these are proof that they can afford all costs of their living and education.
- Candidates can study in the college from which they have been given the letter of acceptance.
- Spouses and children accompanying an F1 VISA holder shall travel on an F2 VISA and are not allowed to study or work unless they apply for their own VISA’s.
Advantages of F1 VISA
- There are work permissions as well for F1 VISA holders under certain restrictions and protocols that need to be followed.
- The F1 VISA permits the students to travel in and out of the US without any restrictions, open a bank account whilst their stay in the US, get a driver’s license, etc.
J1 Exchange Visitor VISA
- The J1 VISA is intended for those students only who are interested in pursuing a course in the US for a short period.
- The courses include any foreign exchange program with a US university, any internship program, any training program, short term scholar programs, etc. There are overall 13 categories as such under which J1 VISA can be provided.
- This is a non-immigrant type VISA that allows the student to study and work in the US simultaneously. Depending on the course the number of hours can be determined.
- The application process is relatively simpler for the J1 VISA. The candidate has to apply for the VISA at the official website and pay the required fee (close to $160) and submit the necessary documents. Post this VISA interview has to be scheduled for further confirmation.
M1 VISA/ Non-academic type VISA
The M1 VISA is a type of student VISA that is reserved for technical schools and vocational training. The application process is similar to F1 VISA. The major drawback of M1 VISA is that the students cannot overstay in the US. Once they have completed their job they have to leave the US at once.
List of Documents required for VISA application
- A valid passport is required which should be of the country in which the candidate is residing. The passport is valid for 6 months more than the date when the candidate’s stay is over.
- A non-immigrant VISA application and the Form DS-160 should also be submitted.
- The receipt of the payment made towards the VISA application fee.
- Candidates should carry additional copies of their photographs in case if the online photo upload fails.
- Eligibility certificate should be uploaded which is the Form I-20 which shall be sent by the approved school/university/college to the candidate. Form I-20 should be signed by both the candidate and the college officials.
- Transcripts from university, degree certificate, matriculation and high school certificates.
- Test scores which are required to get admitted to any college i.e. the GRE, GMAT and English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL, IELTS etc. These documents are university-specific i.e. they might vary from university to university.
- Bank account statements of the candidate or guardian showing sufficient balance as proof of financial stability and capacity of the candidate to pay all his expenses during his/her stay in the US.
- Medical certificate showing that the candidate’s physical and mental condition is stable and he/she is not undergoing any critical disease or medication which shall hamper his/her study while I n the US.
The candidate needs to produce a criminal record clearance certificate from any police station or any government body stating that the candidate was involved in any criminal activity in the past and is not undergoing any criminal trials as of now. This shall be proof of good character.