Prospective Students:

After Getting your Admit Letter:

Confirm acceptance by sending in the letter of intent to accept your admission offer. Email graduate secretary or admissions representative of your department about any scores / documents to be submitted and follow up getting your I-20s Apply for a date for the visa interview as soon as possible. Plan accordingly, as you will need your I-20 on the date of the visa interview.Apply for bank loan (if necessary) Enquire from the bank (Canara Bank, SBI, Indian Bank) by May end & apply by June. The red tape takes a month for loan approval. No security required for loans less than 1 lakh. (This might have changed or the amount without security can vary among banks. Check this out). You might need to take an LIC policy for the loan amount. Also banks usually give only 75% of what at u apply for. You need bills/invoices to claim a refund from the bank. Travel agents can give invoices for the amount you ask for. Enquire while booking. Make your passport valid for 6 months more than your stay indicated in your I-20.Contact MILAAP members (  contact us ) for specific queries.

VISA Procedures:

US Consulate websites

New Delhi: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov
Chennai: http://chennai.usconsulate.gov
Kolkata: http://calcutta.usconsulate.gov
Mumbai: http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov

F1 Visa:

The "F-1" visa is for USA academic studies for foreign students. It is a non-immigrant visa for a student that will permit the applicant to stay for a particular period of time in the United States to accomplish the purpose of studying. (While a non-immigrant visa limits a visitor to a particular length of time, an immigrant visa allows an alien to stay in the United States indefinitely.)

How to Apply:

Please visit www.vfs-usa.co.in for complete information.

SEVIS & BCIS:

SEVIS - STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR INFORMATION SYSTEM. Beginning January 30, 2003, all I-20 forms issued by academic educational institutions, must be created within the SEVIS system. As of January 30, 2003 all new I-20s issued on or after that date must be SEVIS compatible documents. First time students will be able to enter the U.S. with non-SEVIS documents issued prior to January 30, 2003. All continuing students must present a SEVIS-generated form I-20, if they are applying for a visa after January 30, 2003. These new forms are printed on a single sheet of paper and will have a large black bar code on the top right hand side of the form. SEVIS is basically a system to enable U.S. academic institutions to maintain accurate and timely data about foreign students, their dependents, and communicate this information to the now BCIS formerly known as U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Department of State in real time. BCIS: The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) became the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) on March 1, moving from itsorganizational home in the Department of Justice to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security.

Required Documents for F1 Visa :

They can be classified as follows.
A. Consulate Documents.
B. US University Documents.
C. Qualifying Test Documents.
D. Educational Documents.
E. Proof of Funds Documents

A. Consulate Documents::

1. Copy of Web appointment (TTS).
2. Form DS-156. (can be downloaded and printed back-to-back on a single sheet) - Download it from: http://travel.state.gov/DS-0156.pdf
3. Form DS-157 (only for all male applicants in the age group of 16 to 45 years) - Download it from: http://travel.state.gov/DS-0157.pdf
4. Form DS-158 (for applicants seeking visas in F category) - Download it from: http://travel.state.gov/DS-0158.pdf
Refer http://evisaforms.state.gov/ for the latest DS-156. Check for latest versions of the above forms.
5. Two Demand Drafts (details in the next section) 6. One Photo on form DS-156. (Photo guidelines are given below within this section. Kindly follow them as described.)
7. Passport - Each applicant must possess an individual passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least six months beyond the intended period of stay.

Demand Draft Details::

Please visit the site www.vfs-usa.co.in for details. Details will be posted here soon. Two separate Demand Drafts/Bank Drafts/Pay Order/Bank Managers Check taken for the following amounts from any Nationalized Banks and Local Branches of Foreign Banks. DD's drawn on Co-operative Banks are not accepted.

Important::Please write your complete name and passport number on the back of each draft

Photo Guidelines:

One photograph with following rules. The photograph must be an un-mounted full-face photo taken within the last six months. The photograph must be full front view, taken facing the camera - no side or angled views are acceptable. The most important goal of the photograph is that it identifies the person. The photograph should measure 2 inches x 2 inches (roughly 50 mm x 50 mm) with the head centered in the frame. The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo. The photograph must have a white or off-white background. Photos with colored, dark or patterned backgrounds will not be accepted. For those who wear glasses, there must be no reflection around the eyes. Photos with reflections will not be accepted. A photograph wearing a traditional facemask or veil that does not permit adequate identification is not acceptable. Head coverings or hats are acceptable only due to religious beliefs and then only when the applicant's face is completely exposed. Since a separate visa is issued to each qualified applicant, an individual photo is required in all cases. Group photos are not acceptable. Please follow these instructions carefully. If photographs presented do not meet these requirements, the visa may be refused. For more information photo requirements: http://travel.state.gov/photorequirements.html

B. US University Documents:

An I-20 Form, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, obtained from a U.S. college, school or university. Please be sure to submit both pages of the I-20 form, signed by you and by a school official. Degree certificates or provisional degree certificates, mark sheets, and transcripts from all previous institutions attended. ( See below under Educational Documents) Scores from U.S. standardized tests such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, wherever applicable. ( See below under Qualifying Test Documents) Financial evidence showing you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. You must demonstrate that funds are immediately available to cover the first year's costs, and show evidence that funds will be available for all subsequent years

Regarding I-20s:

(As of January 30, 2003 all new forms I-20 issued on or after that date must be SEVIS compatible documents. First time students will be able to enter the U.S. with non-SEVIS documents issued prior to January 30, 2003. All continuing students must present a SEVIS-generated form I-20, if they are applying for a visa after January 30, 2003. These new forms are printed on a single sheet of paper and will have a large black bar code down the top right hand side of the form.)

Note:

If a student receives More than one I-20, he/she should take all the received I-20's to visa interview. If the visa officer asks for the proof of more I-20's then you can show them to VO. But unless the VO asks for them don't show. Just keep them with you.

C. Qualifying Test Documents:

Original Score Reports of 1. TOEFL 2. GRE/GMAT

D. Educational Documents:

1. Original Degree of Graduation or any other available highest degree as per the specifications applicable to individual cases. What if Degree certificate is not available?

Kindly follow the following FAQ available with Chennai consulate website.

Q. What if I have not yet received my degree certificate?

A. Yes - you may still apply, but please be sure to include your mark sheets and provisional certificate if available.)

2. Intermediate or (10+2 exam) original certificates or as applicable to your case.

3. SSC / CBSE - (+10th standard) original certificates or as applicable to your case.

4. Original Degree Consolidated marks list (if available and applicable to your case.)

E. Proof of Funds Documents:

Proof of ability to finance the education

A. Scholarship letters,

B. Bank letters,

C. Salary slips of parents and other sponsors if any,

D. IT returns for last 2-3 years etc of parents and other sponsors if any.

E. Rental receipts of own shops or buildings if any with revenue stamps.

F. Sponsors Business P/L Account duly certified by a CA if sponsor is a businessman.

G. Pension Papers - if sponsor is retired.

H. 6 months of Bank records - i.e. Bank statements or Bank Passbooks of sponsors.

I. Chartered Accountant Statement of Monetary worthiness of the sponsors.

J. Affidavit of supports by sponsors and student separately.

K. Loan approval letters (if you want to show loans.)

Regarding loans kindly look into FAQ's given below.

Note : As a matter of fact you need to show the funds available with you as liquid cash, liquid assets and properties and other immovable assets and annual income.

Liquid Cash : This can be certified by the Bank in which the sponsor is having an account on bank's letterhead and duly stamped along with a seal. It can be supported by 6 months Bank statements or Pass books whatever available with Bank.

Your sponsors bank account should contain cash for first year funds of university fee + Living expenses + insurance + misc expenses + airfares to USA and + reserve cash funds for second year. Generally it will be 15-20 lakhs and sometimes up to 30-35 lakhs depending upon the university expenses.

Liquid funds also covers any Fixed deposits + Bonds + Shares + NSC + Mutual funds + Gold + Jewellery etc. In fact it's better to show Fixed deposits in our opinion. They carry much weight. For everything you intend to show get a latest valuation certificates based on which CA will be giving his certificate.

From bank you need to produce -

A. Bank Letter stating the funds available with sponsors account and how much it will be equivalent in US$.

B. Fixed Deposits Original certificates.

C. 6 months Bank statements and Pass Books and any other related documents.

2. Properties:

There's no uniformity in these issues. Generally it should be around 70-80 lakhs. These may be Buildings, plots, flats, shops, agricultural fields, farm houses etc any immovable property. All these should be evaluated and certified by a CE - Chartered Engineer or Tehsil or concerned metro officials etc to give their certificate of opinion on the value of these immovable assets.

3. CA statement:

A Chartered Accountant will give his certificate of Monetary worthiness of sponsors basing on the documents he is having related to sponsor. His certificate mentions all the Cash, liquid assets and immovable assets available with the sponsor, which can be available for immediate use for the applicants study in USA.

The usual dollar amounts recommended:

a) Make a draft for the fees that you need to bring (usually the first semester) in US Dollars say $6500 in the name of University at Buffalo. This $6500 is an approximate fees for the first semester fees. They accept it even if it is not the exact amount, they can return cash, or hold it for the next semester if it is in excess or you can pay by cash / US check from your bank account if the amount is in deficit.

b) Take travellers' checks (TCs) from American Express, Bank of America, Thomas Cook or any other travel company for the initial living expenses. Look for a place where there is 0% commission for Students or very less commission. Around $1500 to $2000 should be sufficient for around the first 2-3 months. Each months expenses in Buffalo comes to $450/month. Includes your rent, grocery, some basic expenses, etc. Most of the students but Laptops very soon after the semester begins. On an average, a laptop costs $800. If you intend to buy a laptop, please bring an extra $800.

c) Get $500 in cash, but around $200 should be enough. Do not carry a lot of cash. . Request as many $20s, 10s, 5s and $1s possible. And lower denominations will help you convert them to quarters (25 cents) , dimes (10 cents) and nickels (5 cents) at the airport. It will also be easier to pay at your transit airport like London, or Paris, in case you want to buy some food, or call up your parents using a pay-phone. If you have an international credit card, you can use it for calls in most airports.

Once you are here,

a) Keep the money and checks safely in different places.

b) Go to the bank and open an account. Take your Passport and I-20 with you to the bank.

c) Deposit all of the Travelers checks and extra cash into your bank account.

d) Pay up your fees in time.

e) If you get funding after coming here and don't need to pay the fees. Then you have two options - You can either return the draft of fees back to your folks in India and they can cancel it and get the amount in Indian rupees or you can submit the draft to the university. They will cash it for you and then will refund your fees in US Dollars (This may take some time....from 1 to 2 months).

Partial Payment option (available to all International students) : You have to enroll in this plan after you come here and have decided if you want to take this option. You can go to the Student Records and Registration office in Second Floor Capen to pick up a form and ask about the details.

First you register for courses -- Funded Students have to take 9 credits (min) and unsupported have to take 12 (min) . Accordingly if you are funded don't read ahead as everything will be taken care of by your department secretary.

For those who are not supported .......Register for 12 credits. You will get a bill via mail.

If you can Pay in Full: Pay within a month (they give you the last date of payment)

Else Pay by Partial Payment Plan --> Can pay within 3 to 4 installments within current semester.

If you get funding immediately on arrival, and your forms are processed before the due date of the payment of fees then it gets adjusted, but you have to check with the student records office.

Else if (your forms don't get processed well in time) then you have to pay first and then get it refunded.

The key point is that if you are not supported "YOU MUST BRING the fees for at least 12 credits (first semester) with you when you come.

Details about the apartment search

Details about getting a car

Details regarding doctors

Details about Income Tax

Details about Coming to US

Details about Culture shock

Details about shopping

Details about Indo-America

Details about packing checklist

Details about Time zone and Currency

Details about Social Security Number

Details about transportation

To do list