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US study visa FAQs answered

July 13, 2009 13:18 IST

Do you want to pursue PhD studies in the US but don't know how to get started with the application process?

What are the documents you require when applying for a US student visa?

If your visa application has been rejected before, will it affect your future applications?

To answer these and other related queries, Vice Consuls from the US Consulate General, Mumbai hosted a chat on July 10, 2009. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

Vice Consul M says, Greetings! We are excited to talk to you about student visas. Today, you have two Vice Consuls from the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai, and we will be answering some of your questions about student visas. Please note: we do not have or provide information about particular universities or programs. For this type of information, it's best to contact the educational institutions themselves, or USEFI at the American Center in Mumbai.

Nitin asked, I am planning to do PHD in disability studies from US, Could you tell me how I have to approach University, and what preliminary preparation need to be done. Most importantly, Various means to manage the funding for education. Looking forward to response for my query.

Vice Consul R answers, I notice we have several questions re: choosing universities and funding options. There are thousands of programs in the United States. When I was applying for undergraduate and graduate programs, I found resources like the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report to be very helpful. I also considered my preferences for educational environment: big school or small school, big sports programs or not, big city or smaller community. As far as approaching the university, consult the website of that school to get an email address. They will have full application information. Good luck in your search!

Vice Consul R says, As you are going through the student visa application process, please remember to check our website,, as well as the Department of State's website, Both resources are very helpful.

chints asked, Can you tell me how much time i can stay in US after completing my MS in Computer Science

Vice Consul M answers, The answer to this question is: it depends. If you are hired by a U.S. employer after completing your degree and you get work authorization as either an OPT or H1B or similar, then you might be able to stay quite some time. However, if this is not the case, you must depart the United States no later than 60 days following the completion of your course of study and/or practical training.

massod asked, hallo. what docs do i need to submit for US student visa?

Vice Consul M answers, You must submit your visa application form (DS 156 and 157), a valid I-20 issued in the U.S. by the school or university you plan to attend, and a valid non-damaged passport. Those are the only absolutely necessary documents. In addition to these, you may wish to bring with you some supporting documents to prove that you have completed the previous studies that you claim to have completed, and that you have a sufficient source of funding to cover your educational and living expenses in the U.S.

neet asked, hi, if the visa application has been rejected before, does it affect future applications?

Vice Consul R answers, It depends. Each application is a fresh application. If you were refused in the past for something fraudulent (material misrepresentation), you are permanently ineligible and it will affect your application. However, most individuals who are refused are refused as intending immigrants. In that case, you have a fresh chance to establish your intent to abide by immigration law and leave the U.S. at the completion of your studies. Please keep in mind that each officer is evaluating your application on the basis of the same law, and that an applicant's chances of receiving a visa do not go up just because he or she has applied several times.

chints asked, What is the process to get US citizenship.

Vice Consul M answers, There are many routes to U.S. citizenship. For full information on this, please consult the websites of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (, and the Department of State (

rohan asked, I am in SAP can any one suggest which ms is suitable for the same

Vice Consul M answers, Thank you for this question. Unfortunately, this is not a question that we can answer as experts in the student visa process and the law regarding student visas. Perhaps you would be best served by talking with our colleagues over at USEFI (

rawatnitin asked, Hi my brother is looking forward for BS course from US, can you pls suggest me how much % of his fees he can earn thru part time employement or will US government will provide and Scholarships for Fresh mans

Vice Consul R answers, Students are not allowed to work off campus during the first year of study, and can only do so after that with express permission from the university. Several restrictions apply, and most reputable institutions have an Office of International Students who can guide your brother on that. He can work on campus part-time if it is part of a work-study scholarship program. Please keep in mind that an applicant for an F1 student visa must establish that he or she has the financial resources to fund the first year of study, and access to funds for the remainder of the program. We don't have any specific information regarding scholarship programs.

sanjana asked, for how many years the OPT is granted

Vice Consul M answers, It depends. In general, OPT is granted up to 12 months. There are some limited exceptions to this for holders of certain degrees.

chints asked, If someone cant speak english then can that person get US Visa.Like my grandparents cant speak english can they get into US

Vice Consul M answers, English speaking ability is not a prerequisite for a U.S. visa.

IST asked, I have a 4 year advanced diploma in computer science and got a I 20 from a US university, but the visa officer refused my visa for not having a degree, my friend from my class got his is that possible?

Vice Consul M answers, We cannot comment on anyone else's application. The applicant must demonstrate his or her own qualifications for student status and intent to study in the U.S. at the time of application.

Raj asked, Hi, after completing my BBA Degree in 2004, I started my own venture in textile Industry. Now, I am planning to pursue my MBA so that it can inhance quanities in me to grow my business. Can you please suggest me that it is mandatory to give GMAT to get admission at US Universities?

Vice Consul R answers, Each university has its own admissions requirements. Please consult the programs you are interested in for their testing requirements.

Raj asked, Hi, after completing my BBA Degree in 2004, I started my own venture in textile Industry. Now, I am planning to pursue my MBA so that it can inhance quanities in me to grow my business. Can you please suggest me that it is mandatory to give GMAT to get admission at US Universities?

Vice Consul M answers, As experts in visa law, we are not familiar with the particular admissions standards of all U.S. universities. It might be best to contact the universities you're interested in and see what their requirements are.

Sam asked, Hi Officer.. great to see u here.. Could you pls tell me if a CA statement regarding all my finances is acceptable.. or should we provide original docs?

Vice Consul R answers, We don't require specific documents; your interview is the most important part of your application. You should bring any documentation you feel accurately represents your financial status. No specific document is required. The consul may not even ask to see your papers!

rohit asked, I have got my F-1 vise and will be travelling to the USA on 4th august. Are there any medical requirements i have to fulfill before my travel? Do i have to take any vaccinations or provide proof of the same during my travel?

Vice Consul M answers, In terms of visa law, there are not any medical requirements for you to fulfill. Your university may have individual requirements, and most universities in the U.S. tend to recommend or even require that you purchase health insurance to cover you during your stay in the U.S.

chints asked, If i have H1-B visa and i am working in some US company then how many dependents can i take with me, and are there any difficult formalities for that?

Vice Consul R answers, We will be hosting a chat regarding employment visas on Friday, July 24. Please check it out! In general, any legitimate dependent (one legal spouse and your children or stepchildren) is eligible for a dependent visa.

Anmol asked, Hi, i am going for the F1 visa interview next week for New York State University in Binghamton. My i 20 states that total cost of studies for 2 yrs is 54000$. Which is equal to approx 25 lakh. I am showing 29 liquid cash plus property of 77 lk and lic and jewellry of total 15lk. will that be ok for the support.

Vice Consul M answers, You will simply need to prove to the interviewing officer at the time that you have sufficient funds to cover your educational and living expenses during your stay in the U.S. Please bear in mind that the officer may not ask to review your supporting documents during the interview.

Simran asked, hi, i need to know i have 30 backlogs in b-tech does it effect my visa

Vice Consul R answers, The school in the United States evaluates your academic eligibility. However, the interviewing officer may inquire about your academic background when evaluating your intent to study in the U.S.

abhishek asked, i am B.E in mechanical passed out in 2007,with the percentage of 71(approx),am presently working in an infrastructure company and want to do M.B.A from any good university in u.s.a,u.k,canada or singapore.i want to join it next year with a job experience of 3 years,what would be a good gmat score to help me? and how is the chance of getting me a good college if i get a score of 700?

Vice Consul R answers, We don't have information about admissions, but you should check out for more information. In Mumbai, the U.S.-India Educational Foundation has an office at the American Center at 4 New Marine Lines. It is open to the general public during business hours, Monday through Friday. They can be reached at 22-2262-4603.

Simran asked, can u please tell what tpe of question will be asked in the visa interview

Vice Consul M answers, Sure! The interviewing officer will ask you about your background (educational, family, financial, etc), your plans, how and why you decided to study what you want to study, etc. He or she will also ask about your decision process for chosing the university you plan to attend, and how you plan to pay for your studies.

Sam asked, Hi officer.. I have applied for education loan.. but its not yet sanctioned.. its still in the process. Is it enough to carry a letter from the bank saying my loan is under consideration..??

Vice Consul R answers, Please bring any information regarding potential funding sources. You should be prepared to ask questions about the loan.

DM asked, My brother has done his engineering in Applied Electronics and Instrumentation. He wants to pursue his MS in a related field (preferably instrumentation in industries related). Can you give some pointers as to where we can find info regarding this?Also if you know of any good universities which provide similar courses,do let me know.

Vice Consul M answers, This questions is not exactly about visas or visa regulations. As experts on visa topics, it is pretty much out of our purview. However, you may wish to get in touch with our colleagues over at USEFI (

kk asked, What is the reason for visa rejection?

Vice Consul R answers, We don't have information about specific applications. In general, students must establish that they intend to engage in full-time study, that they have the funds to pay for their education, and that they intend at the time of the interview to leave the United States at the completion of their studies.

jas asked, is it easy to transfer from H1 to F1 when you are in the US

Vice Consul M answers, While in the U.S., you don't really just "transfer" from one visa status to another. You must apply for a change of status with the Department of Homeland Security. You might consider perusing their website at

neomax asked, hi, this is vivek..btech 3 years of work experince and 1 year experince in the US.planning to do my is the full sail university in orlando ,florida.they are offering 1 year MS in entertainment buisness.Is that recognized like other degrees offered by state schools?

Vice Consul M answers, Apologies, but we are not in a position to evaluate individual universities or programs.

linga asked, am having 2 years of work exp with MSW degree is it advisible to do MBA.wat will be the approx expenditure to compelete MBA from a good institute & wat are the financial support available from india and aboard as well.

Vice Consul M answers, This question is outside the topic of visa law. Please consult with individual programs or universities that you are interested in. Another option is to speak with our colleagues over at USEFI (

Vice Consul R says, Again, I see we have a lot of questions regarding qualifications and the admissions process. We do not have a role in that, but you should consult the universities. You can also visit the U.S.-India Education Foundation's office at the American Center from 9:30am to 16:30pm, Monday through Friday. They have more information about applying for admission to U.S. programs.

manz asked, Hi I would like to know if its possible to obtain a J1 visa instead of the regular F1 visa as I want to work part time outside the campus.I will be applying for MBA in one of the universities next year

Vice Consul R answers, You should have a visa that is for your primary purpose of travel. For the vast majority of graduate students, that would be an F1 visa. Some universities do offer J1 exchange programs for graduate students, but you would have to inquire with the individual university.

Anmol asked, Thanks for the reply. Another question: We recently received some money of my mother arrears. So will the recent increse in the amount of funds in the statement a cause of worry. and how old can be the bank statements for the proof of funds.

Vice Consul M answers, You simply have to convince the officer at the time of your interview that you have sufficient available funds to cover your educational and living expenses while you are in the U.S. The officer may or may not look at your documents during the interview. Be ready to explain any claims you make.

Arjun1 asked, HI What is the difference between CPT and OPT ? and can i change my course after landing my University?

Vice Consul R answers, CPT is part-time training during your course of study. OPT is full-time training after your course of study. CPT does count toward your maximum time allowed in practical training status. Most U.S. universities do allow you to change your major after admission, but that is up to the individual school.

KLASH asked, How to obtain visit visa in states?

Vice Consul M answers, This is not a student visa question. However, I will direct you to the appropriate website. It is:

Nayar asked,  Hi officer, is it mandatory to cover health insurance before traveliing to US forstudy of FI VISA NAYAR.

Vice Consul R answers, Most universities do require a student to have health insurance, and many offer their own insurance programs at a specified price.

jas asked, I received my finger printing code 1 for I 485. But I am in india for last 6 months to 1 year. Now my H1 is expired and no other visa to go back. Which visa should I apply for or can I transfer my finger printing to India insteading of doing it in US local ASC ofice. What is process for transfering to India

Vice Consul M answers, This does not appear to be a student visa question. Please consult the USCIS website ( for further information on this particular issue. Do not worry, you are not the first person to run into this situation.

Anmol asked, If someone gets rejection of visa for not convincing the motive of study, then after how much gap can one apply again. Is it 7 days?

Vice Consul R answers, There is no minimum wait time to apply again.

Rihanna asked, Is it possible to secure 100% scholarship, if one gets accepted by an University in the US to pursue MS? If so, what is the eligibility criteria?

Vice Consul R answers, Yes, there are scholarships that fully-fund graduate study. You should inquire with the U.S. university about the application process. You can also look for private scholarships.

suresh asked, hi I am new to this. Can you point me to a site where all the eligibility criteria is mentioned coz I am working for a US concern and planning got pursue my studies in US.. Is there a hope?

Vice Consul R answers, Hi Suresh. You can consult our website, as well as for more information on the legal requirements for an F1 visa.

neomax asked, i was working the US for an year.i did get speeding ticket .i lost the ticket and i was not able to pay it as i returned to india.the local dmv office in USA has no information regarding the ticket.i am planning to apply for visa ?will this will cause a rejection of my visa?whom should i contact to solve this problem?

Vice Consul M answers, It's difficult to tell. It would be best to take care of the ticket. In most states and cities, it is not the DMV that handles tickets, rather it is the city or state law enforcement body (police, sherriff, state patrol, that sort of thing).

ptanwar asked, hi i have done in electronics and communication and having experience of 1.5 year. now i want to do phd in embedded system design or robotics n i m having experience in the same field. can i apply for phd after plz answer my question bkz i m not getting information abt it from anybuddy thank u

Vice Consul M answers, You can always make an application to whichever university or program you want to attend, however we cannot speak to the particular admissions requirements of any given universities.

Arjun1 asked, How many student Visas are alloted in a year ?

Vice Consul R answers, There is no limit! All applicants who qualify for a student visa will receive one. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of F1 students in the United States. Fifteen percent of foreign students in America are Indians!

vineeth asked, HI, how is the image of Northeastern university among visa officers?...Is it considered as a well reputed universty?

Vice Consul R answers, We don't decide on your qualifications for an F1 visa based on the university you'd like to attend. All applicants with a valid I-20 are evaluated based on their intent to study full-time and their financial ability to do so.

Bipin asked, Dear Sir, I am an Indian Citizen living in Germany from 2 years. I am planning to study in the US from Fall 09 and have to apply for a F1 visa. Would it be a negative thing to apply from Germany. What do you think? Should I apply from India or Germany. I already have a B1/B2 till 2017.

Vice Consul M answers, You may apply for a U.S. visa (student visa or otherwise) at a U.S. embassy or consulate wherever you are living. If you habitually live in Germany at present, it is reasonable to apply in Germany. If you habitually live in India at present, it would be reasonable to apply in India.

INDIRA asked, Is the health insurance taken in india is valid in US duirng MS Study onFIVISA INDIRA

Vice Consul M answers, The best resource for this would be the university or college where you plan to enroll as a student.

Srikanth asked, Sir, This is Srikanth. I received admission for Spring 2009 for doing my MS in US. I deferred my admission to Fall 2009 for the same University and the same course for which VISA was given during September 2008 (For the Spring Session). I wanted a confirmation whether I could use the same VISA as it is for the same University and Course

Vice Consul R answers, You can use the same visa if your SEVIS number on the new I-20 is the same. You should bring an official letter from the university stating you have permission to start in the next semester.

Rihanna asked, Many thanks for your response, Sir. What is a 'private scholarship'? and how can one secure it?

Vice Consul M answers, A private scholarship is a scholarship granted by a private individual or organization. Most students find these through internet searches or through community groups, etcetera.

DSW asked, If we don't get scholarship for starting year for MS course in US...How much possibility is there scholarship fr next year..or then we have to self-finance for next year also..

Vice Consul M answers, Before embarking on a course of study, it is best to assume you will have to pay for the entire course of study on your own, without the help of any scholarships or grants from someone else.

Sam asked, When coming to F1 interviews , sometimes they ask about how many universities has u applied.. which all admitted u and which rejected.. why is this question asked.. what if admit to reject ratio is high with rejects more

Vice Consul R answers, An officer will ask questions to evaluate whether an applicant seriously intends to be a full-time student. He or she might ask about all your applications in order to understand your criteria for applying to universities in the U.S. The officer wants to learn more about you! It doesn't mean much if you've been rejected from many universities; some schools are very difficult to get into, and we all recognize that. We want to know about your background and your academic interests.

shanker asked, hi,what is fee structure for the ms or mba program in us .what will be the overall cost to do so.

Vice Consul M answers, Different universities have varying programs with varying fees, etcetera. We cannot advise on this. Please contact the universities you are interested in enrolling at.

binoy asked, masters or mba?? i m confused..

Vice Consul M answers, MBA is a masters. It stands for "Masters in Business Administration."

studchd asked, Does the stature of University impress upon the Consul Officer ? For example is an admit from Stanford University say MS in Computer Science, enough to speak about candidate's academic brilliance and sincerity ?

Vice Consul R answers, Any student with a valid I-20 is eligible to apply for a student visa. We do not base decisions on the competitiveness of your intended program. You need simply to be able to explain why you like the program and what your goals are as a student. We are only evaluating your intention to study and your ability to pay for your education.

Freddie asked, I have completed two semesters of my studies in Fall 2008/Spring 2009 and came back to India for Summer. I'll be going back in August to continue with my studies. What are the documents that I would need to submit to the Immigration officer at the port of entry?

Vice Consul M answers, Assuming you are still enrolled as a full-time student (i.e. you just came back to India for the summer break), you will need your passport (undamaged) with your U.S. visa (un-expired), as well as your original I-20. Please bear in mind that an official at your university will need to have signed the I-20 within 6 months prior to your arrival in the U.S. to continue your studies.

Vice Consul R says, We've run out of time. Thank you for your participation! Many of you have questions regarding the admissions process and your qualifications for admission to U.S. universities. There are literally thousands of universities in the U.S., and we are not familiar with them all. You can consult the university's website for admissions criteria, as well as resources such as U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. You should also feel free to visit the U.S.-India Education Foundation's office at the American Center at 4 New Marine Lines. They are open from 9:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday, and can also be reached by phone at 22-2262-4603. Thank you, and good luck in your studies!