Q1. Does having a relative in the US affect visa application?
Ans: If there is a close relative such as US citizen or a permanent resident parent or spouse of the applicant in the US, the consult may presume that the student is going to the US to join the family and would not return to India. While the law does not prohibit issuance of student visa to applicants who have close relatives in the US, it puts additional burden on the student to prove non-immigrant intent. In any case, it is extremely important to provide such information truthfully on your visa application.
Q2. Is there a specific number or quota annually for student visa?
Ans: There is no ceiling on student visas according to US immigration laws.
Q3. I am a student going to US or PhD. My I-20 says that my finding is for one year, after which it will be reviewed. Will I have to show funds for the rest of the three-four years of study?
Ans: At the visa office, the students must show funds (academic plus living) for one year, and access to funds for subsequent years. If your aid covers your overall expenses for the first years, then it is OK.
Q4. What is the right time to apply for visas?
Ans: First time applicant can apply 120 days in advance of the date of enrollment mentioned in the I-20 form.
Q5. What about shifting schools once I get there?
Ans: Once you are in the US, you are governed by the USCIS rules. Accordingly, you cannot change your school before completing one year at the school. It is advisable that you make your choice carefully, and avoid problems later on.
Q6. I get my visa on one I-20; then I get another I-20 from another school, which I now want to join. What I have to do?
Ans: You will have to apply for another visa.
Q7. How many attempts are allowed if visa is denied?
Ans: One can apply any number of times after visa refusal but at each time of reapplication, one has to pay visa fees, fill fresh application forms and show ‘new evidence’ compared to previous documents when visa was refused. The new evidence should reveal changed circumstance with regard to your financial ties that does not make you seen as an intending immigrant.
Also, if you have two refusals in a period of last six months, you will have to wait in normal course for visa appointment. You will not get any priority appointment to meet university deadline if you have been refused twice or more.
Q8. If I have been chosen by ten schools, does that help?
Ans: Yes, it establishes that you are a superstar. There is no direct relation, though it completes the picture for the Consul, and helps them evaluate the case better.
Q9. For students going for further studies, what is considered as conclusive proof that they are coming back? How much assets or liquid cash or hand should be shown for a student visa?
Ans: There is no fixed amount of assests or liquid cash specified in the US immigration law. The law that operates in that the interviewing US Consul should be convinced that the applicant is a bonafide student, wanting genuinely to pursue higher studies in America and return after his education to India. The ties that could be shown by the subject, would involve his economic attraction in India after graduation and social roots to which he would return rather than stay in US. Statistics in the past have shown that 7 to 8 out of 10 students do not return and therefore the Consulates in India are very careful in granting student visas.
Q10. What if my university does not require that I take the TOEFL or GRE?
Some More Questions:
Q11. How much do you rely on the documents carried by students? Is there any minimum asset value or minimum income that the consulate looks for?
Ans: There is no fixed minimum or maximum assests or income. You must demonstrate that your assests and income are sufficient to cover tuition and living costs for the first year, and that you have access to funds to cover those expenses for the entire duration of your education.
Q12. I had applied to seven American universities and all have granted me admissions and issued I-20s. I have received student visa on the basis of the I-20 issued to me by one of the universities. After I enter the USA can I instead join another university? The university which I want to transfer is low in ranking but tuition fee and lodging and board expenses are almost half and I have family in that city with whom I can reside.
Ans: All I-20 forms are now online and SEVIS generated. After a student receives a visa on the basis of an I-20 issued by a university and enters the US, the I-20s issued to him by the other universities are automatically invalidated. If you would not report, within 30 days from entering the US, to the university on whose I-20 you have obtained student visa and would join some other university, you would be out of your student status and your stay in the US would be considered as illegal. If you want to change your university you should do it now by applying once again for a student visa on the I-20 issued by the university where you intend to study and request the consular officer to cancel the student visa issued to you earlier. However, in doing so you run the risk of your application being refused. You may also change your university after entering the US and after reporting to the university on whose I-20 you have received the visa and then follow the prescribed procedure.