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Visa Issues: Obtaining Visa
Andy Neo

Hundreds of thousands of people come to the United States from around the world to study and improve their skills. Numerous programs provide a wide variety of learning opportunities. The security clearance procedures delay the issuance of visas in some cases. Apply for your visa as soon as you have completed your preparation to study in the United States.
There are three types of student visas:
Academic Studies (F visa). For people who want to study or conduct research at an accredited U.S. college or university.
Academic Studies as an Exchange Visitor (J & Q Visas). For people who will be participating in an exchange visitor program in the U.S. The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs; the "Q" visa is for other international cultural exchange programs.
Non-Academic or Vocational Studies (M Visa). For people who want to study or train at a non-academic institution in the U.S.
Financial Funding
You must prove that you have sufficient funds or that funds will be available from an identified and reliable financial source to cover the costs of your living and school expenses during the entire period of anticipated study in the United States.
Applicants must provide evidence that shows they (or their parents who are sponsoring them) have sufficient funds to cover their tuition and living expenses during the intended period of study. Applicants or sponsors who are salaried employees should bring income tax documents and original bank statements. Applicants or sponsors who own a business should bring business registration, licenses, and tax documents, as well as original bank statements.
Visa applicants must prove that sufficient funds are or will be available from a reliable financial source to pay for all living and school expenses during the entire period of study in the US. Specifically, applicants for the F-1 visa must prove they have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and that adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study. Applicants for the M-1 visa must have evidence that sufficient funds are immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of study. In some cases, schools will require proof of sufficient funds for the entire course of study even for the F-1 visa.
Funds outside the United States
If an applicant indicates that funds will be coming from a source outside the United States (for example, from parents living in the country of residence), the consular officer must determine whether there are restrictions on the transfer of funds from the country concerned. If restrictions do exist, the consular officer must require some evidence that these restrictions will not keep the funds from being available during the applicant’s projected period of study.
Financial sponsorship and assurance of support
Various factors are important in evaluating assurances of financial support made by sponsors:
·The financial sponsor must ensure that the applicant will not need to seek unauthorized work while studying in the United States.
·The sponsor must provide evidence (in the form of documents) of the financial resources that are necessary for the student to complete the course of study.
·If the sponsor is in the US on nonimmigrant status, then the sponsor’s financial situation will be examined with even greater care. Important issues include whether the sponsor may need to obtain unauthorized work to finance the student’s education, and whether the sponsor will remain in the US at least as long as the student.
·The factors that would motivate a sponsor to honor the financial commitment will be carefully considered. For example, if the sponsor is a close relative of the applicant, there may be a greater probability that the obligation will be honored than if the sponsor is not a relative.
Financial sponsorship by an American
If the student will be sponsored by a US citizen (such as a relative), the sponsor will need to complete Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support). This form requires the sponsor to pay for all expenses that cannot be covered by the student. The relationship between the sponsor and the applicant is an important consideration in this case. A sponsor who is not a relative of the student is generally less credible.
Funds from fellowships and scholarships
The institution that the student will attend may arrange for the student to conduct research, give lectures, or perform other academic functions as part of a fellowship or scholarship, so long as the student also maintains a full-time course load. A student's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 also can apply for visas to come with the student to the US. Applicants who wish to bring dependents with them to the US must also provide marriage and/or birth certificates as proof of the relationship with his spouse and/or children.
In addition, student applicants may also be asked to provide:
·Transcripts and diplomas from schools they have attended.
·Scores from standardized tests required by the US school such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.
To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their international student visa several weeks before they plan to travel. Students should not apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on the I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). Approved Educational Institutions & Forms If you are coming to the USA to study, you must be accepted for a full course of study by an educational institution which is ‘approved’ by the INS. The institution you will be attending must send you a Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students. If you are applying for the nonacademic or vocational visa (M-1), the institution must send you a Form I-20M-N, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status For Vocational Students. The Educational institution you will be attending can obtain Forms I-20A-B and I-20M-N from the INS.


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