FAQs About the Visa Application Process
Q.1 I made a mistake while filling the DS-160 and I already submitted it. What do I do?
Fill a up a new DS160 form and submit it. You can use the new DS160 form number for booking the date if you have not taken the USA student visa date and you just need to ignore the incorrectly filled form. In the case where you have already booked the visa date, bring a print of your old as well as new DS160 confirmation page during your OFC appointment and tell them to link the new DS160 form with your application. They will automatically do it for you.
Q.2 Can I cancel/reschedule the visa appointment?
You can cancel/reschedule your visa appointment only 1 time where you do not have to pay any additional fees. After cancelling an existing appointment, you have the right to re-book a new appointment using the same DS160 form number and Visa fee payment receipt number. In case of second cancellation, you need to pay the application fees again before rescheduling of appointment.
Q.3 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
According to the student visa requirements USA, you do not have to apply for the new F1 Visa USA. If your visa is still valid, then you can travel to the US with your old as well as new passports and as long as your visa is valid, not damaged and appropriate as per the principal purpose of travel. Moreover, the name and other personal details should be similar in both the passports. Your nationality that is indicated in the new passport should be the same as that shown in the passport bearing the visa.
Q.4 How early should I book my visa date and how early can I travel to the US?
You can get a F1 Visa USA date in about 7 to 10 working days. Let’s say if you try to book a date on 1st June, you will be able to see dates of around 7th June to 15th June available.
Please note that you will not be able to appear for your visa interview if there are more than 120 days before the start date on your program (as per the ‘No later than’ date on the I-20). The U.S. government will not allow you to enter more than 30 days before the start date as per your I-20.
Q.5 How do I know if my visa is granted? How long does it take for my passport to arrive?
At the time of ongoing interview, if your visa is approved, then the visa officer will tell you so and keep your passport. From the OFC office, you will be able to collect your passport and get an email notifying regarding the same. The normal time in which the passport gets ready for collection is around 24 to 48 hours. If you are willing to pay an additional charge, then you can also opt for delivery of passport by courier. However, the courier facility shall not be available at all locations. In the case where visa is rejected, your passport is returned to you immediately.
Q.6 Can I enter the US and visit a friend/relative before the start of my program?
Yes, you will be able to enter US to visit your friend/relative via any airport but not more than 30 days prior to your start of the program. You can choose to spend a few times with them and then directly go to the university.
Q.7 If my visa is rejected, how soon can I reapply, and how many times? Do I have to pay the visa fees again?
According to the student visa requirements USA, in case of rejection, there is no minimum or maximum wait period between the visas. So, you will be able to reapply for the visa any number of times. Moreover, you can take the next available date. To reapply for the visa, there is no need of paying SEVIS fess again but you will have to pay the visa application fess again.
Q.8 Can I get a visa for one university and then attend another university?
Using the I20 of one university, if you have already applied for the visa and got it approved and later you decide to get transferred to another university, then in such a case it is advised that you should reapply for the F1 Visa USA and reappear for the visa interview using the I20 of the new university. Then get a fresh visa stamped on your passport.
If you do not reapply for the visa by using the I20 of the new university, then you will have to follow a ‘Transfer-out- Transfer-in’ process. You need to contact the university whose name appears on your visa and tell them about your intensions to join another university. Moreover, it is first required to go to your old university and ask them to do a ‘transfer-out’ process. This could be only done after your first official report at the old university. It takes a long time in the transfer-out process, thus if the university is not able to do it before the beginning of your new university’s program, then you will have to end up spending a semester at the old university. Thus, it is highly advisable that you should opt for reapplying for the visa using the new university’s I20 while in India, rather than opting for the transfer process.
About Visa Interview Preparation
The objective of the US visa interview is to assess:
– Your preparedness and understanding of the course/program you are planning to pursue.
– Your ability to afford your education costs.
It is recommended that you should be :
1: Be as honest and natural as possible
2: DO NOT mug up any answers.
The main reasons for visa rejections are that the visa officers feel you are not honest and are giving scripted answers.
How much funds should you show?
There is no specific answer to this. But if you can reasonably portray that you have the ability to arrange Rs 30-40 Lakhs for the program of your education, then it should be sufficient. But this DOES NOT mean that you need to have Rs 30-40 Lakhs in your savings account. This amount can be a combination of:
Bank/Company/Credit Society FD’s
Shares & Mutual Fund Investments
Company PF/Gratuity Statements
Insurance Surrender values
Investments like NSC, Post Office MIS, RBI Bonds etc.
You do not have to show twice the amount of your I20.
What financial documents should you carry with you to the visa and will the visa officer scrutinize them?
According to the student visa requirements USA, in most of the cases, the visa officer does not go into details of financial documents and scrutinize them. They will only ask you that how do you intend to pay for your education and when they ask, you only need to give an overview of it. There are very few cases where they ask you for the relevant documents. There is no such listicle of accepted or required documents that the consulate prescribes, so you will have to carry those that suits your case. These would include:
– Loan approval and/or loan application letter. (in case you are applying for a loan)
– Your Bank Passbooks or Monthly/quarterly Bank Account transaction statements (in case your bank does not issue a passbook). The statements/passbooks should show transactions for the past 3 to 4 months (preferably 6 months).
– Original fixed deposit receipts.
– A statement of your Demat account showing the shares/mutual funds you own and their current market value.
– Originals of NSC/NSS certificates, PPF passbooks etc.
– Tax returns or Form 16 for the past one or two years of your sponsors only.
– Two recent salary slips of your sponsor (in case your sponsor is employed)
Online prints of bank statements, DEMAT Statements, Salary slips etc. are acceptable without certificates for the international student visa USA. Remember to carry only those documents where there are substantial funds. For instance, of most of your funds are in Bank FDs and with very little money in Savings Accounts, then you need not carry your bank passbooks/statements, but can only carry your FD Receipts.
Can I tell the visa officer that I am taking an education loan? Will the visa officer think I will work in the US to repay the loan?
Yes, it is incredibly safe to tell the visa officer that you are taking an education loan.
Visa officers do not care much about what intentions you have after your masters. However, they are very interested in knowing that you have funds to pay for your education. Thus, taking a bank loan is a quite safe funding option because once the bank has sanctioned the loan, they will not be able to back out from giving you the money.
Can I show funds in Co-operatives banks or private banks?
Yes. Your funds can be either in Co-operative banks or private banks or credit societies. The Statements, Passbooks or Deposits in Co-operative or private banks are accepted.
Do you have to show a minimum amount in savings or can all my money be in FDs or Shares?
It is not at all necessary to show your savings account. Moreover, you can also show all your investments in FD’s or shares or any other form.
Can I show my property?
You cannot show your property as the visa officer is not interested in your property value or net worth. They are highly interested in knowing that how you will be able to pay for your tuition and living while offering you an international student visa USA. Thus, unless you plan to sell off the property, it does not matter what value it holds as the property is not going to pay for your education. It is advisable that you should not plan to sell off your property as eventually it will raise a lot of questions.
Can I show my brother/sister/uncle who lives in the US/abroad as my sponsor?
Yes, you can show your brother, sister, uncle or who lives in the US as your sponsor.
Questions You Should Be Prepared For
Why do you want to do an MS/MBA and why at this University?
In your answer, you can discuss about the overview of the course. Later you can bring up some particular topics or wide subject areas that the course is supposed to cover. You can also discuss about how this is aligned with your interests and career goals.
The USA student visa officer may also ask you more about your areas of interest. For eg. if you say that your interest lies in area of ‘Finance,’ then the visa officer may ask you about financial risks, banking, and questions related to finance.
Which other universities have you applied to and where all did you receive admits from?
You have to mention the names of other universities that you have applied to. It is absolutely fine to mention even if you have 1 to admit. In anyway, this will not harm your chances of getting a USA student visa.
Why did you choose this university over your other admits?
You should talk about the aspects or areas of the university that you liked which made you choose this university. Talk ideally about the fact that the university that you have chosen offers a slightly more comprehensive coursework in your area of interest, then you can talk about the positive response that you have received for the program from some of the current students of the university. If you have got a scholarship from the university that you have chosen, then you can mention that reason as well.
How did you go about selecting your university?
You can talk about your research that you did regarding several platforms and you can also talk about the programs that the university offers during the academic year. In this way, you finally decided on the universities.
Have you received any scholarship? Why has the University granted a Scholarship to you?
You should be aware of how many scholarships you may get and a particular reason behind why the university is offering you scholarship as the visa officer may want to know if you are aware of the scholarship programs and financial aid. You need to mention and carry a copy of the Statement of Purpose for the scholarship in case if you have submitted any to get an international student visa USA.
What are plans after Masters?
Please avoid saying that ‘’ I will return back to India ‘’
Instead, you can talk in regards of what kind of job or career you will preferably like to pursue after your graduation from the master’s program. Note that you should not talk about location where you like to work. You should not particularly mention that you will prefer to work in the US or come back to India. If the visa officer specially asks whether you would take up a job or an internship in the US during or after your masters, then you must say a big ‘YES.’ You can mention that you would like to take up an internship or some assignment during your 1 year OPT period.
Who’s paying for your education or how do you plan to pay for your education?
You can explain the complete break-up of your education pay in detail to them. Even if you are taking an educational loan, it is okay to tell them honestly. It is advisable to not disclose the details of your sponsor’s finances unless it is asked. If it is 50-50 ratio, i.e., half pay by the loan and half by the parents, you can talk frankly about this as well. Incase if the visa officer asks about more financial information, you can explain the detailed split up to them.
If asked what your sponsors do and their incomes, then mention about their profession and their approximate annual income (in INR only) as well.
The visa interview usually lasts for a minute or two with the visa officer. Ideally the visa officer can ask any type of questions, and you are expected to give frank and honest answers. Hence do not try to write down the answers and learn them by heart. If you do not know an answer to a particular question, it is okay to say so.
PS: There is no dress code for the visa. Wear whatever you are comfortable in. Wearing formals is not required.