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What is a visa?
The visa is a document that grants you permission to travel to other countries, and also defines your status in that country.  For example, all students get an F-1 status, which defines that you are a student primarily in the country pursuing an academic program.

Where do I obtain my visa?
Visa’s can be obtained only from their respective Consulates.  You must approach the Consulate, designated in your region or the place where you have resided for the last six months or more for details on the visa procedure. 

What is the F1 visa?
The F1 Visa is a student visa.  The F1 visa is issued for the explicit purpose of studying for a degree program in the United States. This is a non-immigrant visa and is temporary in nature.

What is an I –20 form?
The I –20 forms is the document that you will receive from the colleges that you have been accepted into.  This will have the following details – your name and surname, date of birth, citizenship status and country of birth.  It will also mention your degree, the major and the estimated length of your program.  The financial expenses that you will incur, will also be mentioned on the I-20.

How do you get a visa?
Each Consulate has it’s own procedures for obtaining the visa, so check these thoroughly before starting out on your visa.

How long does it take to obtain the Visa?
Obtaining the US visa is a one-day process.  Once your interview is over you will know immediately if you have got the visa papers or not.

How long it will take for visa to be issued?
Your visa will cover the duration of your degree program as mentioned in the I-20 form.  Hence if you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree you will get a 4-year visa, master’s students get a 2-year visa and Ph.D. students get a 5-year visa.

What should I wear for my interview?
As you are applying for a student visa, dress in a manner that indicates that you are a student.  Jeans and T-shirts are preferable.  You can avoid wearing formal clothes or traditional Indian wear in the case of girls.

What is the balance that I need to have in my savings account?
You need to have a minimum balance equivalent to the first year’s fees that you will require to pay towards your educational expenses.

Do I need to carry original documents?
Yes, you must carry all original documents. Photocopies are not acceptable.  The visa officer will not keep or make any copy of the documents that you show him and these will be returned to you as soon as they have been read through.

What are the maximum assets that I need to prove?
There is no maximum or minimum figure.  Remember the US visa officer wants to know whether you are able to afford this degree and secondly whether you will come back to India.  The more you show, the easier it is for the visa officer to comprehend your ability to pay and your ties to India.

Is the visa fee refundable if I do not get the visa?
No. The visa fee is not refundable.

Can I work while on an F1 visa?
Yes.  You can work while on an F1 visa. But the types of jobs are limited to on-campus jobs, for a maximum of 20 hours per week.  You can work as an assistant, in the cafeteria, the library or any departmental office in the college.  You are not allowed to work off-campus.  Violation of this US law will result in deportation.

How soon can I transfer or change my university?
Once you have obtained a visa to attend a particular university, you can transfer or change your University only after a minimum of one semester.

Can I take my parents with me?
Your parents can apply for a tourist visa once you have received your visa. They can accompany you to help you settle down but will need to return back once the tourist visa expires.

Who is a dependent?
A dependent is one that is dependent on you for support.  As a student you are a dependent on your parents. If you are married, your wife and children become your dependents.

What is the F2 visa?
The F2 visa is a status given to the dependents of a student.  If you are married, your wife and children become your dependents and are eligible to apply for the F2 visa. Your parents are not your dependents and cannot apply for an F2 visa.

Can I take my wife and children with me?
Yes, you can take your wife and children with you.  They will need to first apply for the F2 visa, which is a dependent visa.

Can my spouse work while on an F2 visa?
No.  Your spouse cannot work while on an F2 visa status.  Violation of this US immigration law will result in deportation.

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