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Student visa FAQs: What is the right time to apply?

May 08, 2014 17:58 IST

Image: May 20 to June 15 is the best time to apply for a student visa.
Photographs: Reuters Courtesy

If you carefully time your visa application, you'll be at an advantage. Read on to find out what's the best time to apply and how it will benefit you.

Applying early for visa is the best decision you will make to evade unnecessary hold-ups.

Planning in advance helps you save time, energy and resources thus making your visa application process less taxing.

From experience we have seen that most students apply between May 20 and June 15, which is why we decided to share this piece of advice with you.

We've compiled answers to some of the most common questions asked by candidates to help give you a headstart on the process.

What is the most appropriate time to apply for F-1 student Visa?

1. Once you decide on the college you will be attending

After you get favourable decision from universities you have applied to, take a final call on which college you want to attend.

Once you receive your I-20, an official endorsement of your academic acceptance by the chosen university, you can apply for F-1 Visa.

2. 120 days before your programme commencement date

As part of US visa guidelines, visas cannot be issued more than 120 days before the programme start date indicated on your form I-20.

Usually, the FALL courses at most universities in the USA start in August-September and hence, you can apply anytime after April-May correspondingly.

Do note that some courses start in summer (June) and in such instances we do have people applying way early.

3. After thorough preparation of your financial documents

Part 7 of I-20 indicates the amount required to cover the first year's expenses. This may be on the higher side.

It includes not only tuition fees and living expenses, but also incidental expenses.

A solvency certificate issued by your bank to get your I-20 may not be sufficient to show to the visa officer.

Visa officers may want to look at annual family income plus the liquid assets of the sponsors to ensure that the student will be able to support her/his study and living needs in the US till her/his programme ends.

If there is still a shortfall, you can apply for an education loan from a trustworthy bank. Also make sure not to deposit a large amount of money abruptly in your account as visa officers may smell a rat and question its source.

Once your financial documents are in place, you can proceed with the visa interview.


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Tags: I-20 , F-1 , USA , FALL , US

Student visa FAQs: What is the right time to apply?

Image: If you get your visa on time, you'll save on your air ticket.
Photographs: Catherine Benson/Reuters

Visa application process is cumbersome and therefore it is important to start the application process as early as possible.

Summers are the busiest months as many students are applying for visa at the same time.

Applying for visa ahead of the time of departure brings in a lot of benefits to you.

A. Helps you in case visa is rejected

You must always have some time at hand in case your visa gets rejected.

Your visa is likely to be rejected if you are not able to convince the visa officers of your intention of returning back to your country after completing your course.

Your application might be turned down even if your financial documents are not in place.

If you face a rejection when your travel dates are close by, you will start panicking.

It is therefore advisable that you keep some buffer time.

Also read: 5 reasons why your student visa will be rejected

B. Helps you get a better travel deal

You must proactively book your flight tickets early, for closer you get to your trip, more expensive the flights become. Here again getting an early visa is key to getting lucrative travel deals.

C. Helps you decide your roommates

Getting an early visa leaves you with ample time to touch base with students going to same university and select compatible roommates.

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Student visa FAQs: What is the right time to apply?

Image: Be sure to have all the required documents handy before applying for a visa.
Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Before you go ahead and schedule a visa interview, please make sure that you have completed the following five steps:

1. Paid the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) fee

2. Completed online DS-160 form and secured barcode confirmation number

3. Paid MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee and secured payment receipt number

4. Have your SEVIS number from the Form I-20 handy

5. Have a passport valid for six months after your programme end date

Careful planning and fool proof documentation can make the process of obtaining visa both pleasant and exciting. All the best.