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Study in the United States – A Quick Guide

Sep 09, 2021

Natasha has always envisioned herself schooling in the United States - the land of opportunities where dreams come true. Ever since she was a child, she had heard tales of the beautiful cities in the United States, conducive atmosphere, lovely terrain, exclusive achievements of the United States globally in sectors such as education, sports,  science and technology, and other areas. Another impressive thing about the United States is how valuable and globally recognized her Institutions and degree certificates are.

Indeed, studying in the United States will be a dream come true for Natasha. The only problem is, Natasha does not know exactly how to make this dream come true. 

If you are like Natasha, I have very good news for you. The United States is one of the most sought-after study destinations in the world. Research shows the United States has the world’s largest international students population. 

If you have dreams of studying in the United States, then this article is for you.

The United States can be described as the holy grail of international higher education. Statistics show that the United States has the world’s largest international student population, making it the most sought-after country when we talk about study abroad statistics.

The U.S boasts of top-notch world-class education and world-class institutions. About fifty percent of the world’s top 50 universities are located in the United States! Are you not entertained? 

Let me quickly take you through how you can get a U.S University admission and the steps to apply and get your student Visa approved!

Putting In An Application For Admission 

To get admission from a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school in the USA, depending on your level of study you need these documents for your application:

  • International passport.
  • High school certificate.
  • Bachelor certificate and transcript.
  • Masters certificate and transcript.
  • GRE/GMAT (depending on your school and program).
  • Your SAT /LSAT/MCAT scores (depending on your circumstance).
  • A statement of purpose.
  • English Proficiency Scores (TOEFL, IELTS, DUOLINGO, etc (for Non-English speakers and other circumstances).
  • An application fee.
  • Academic and professional reference letters.
  • Your CV/Resume

After Submitting Your Application 

With your application submitted, all conditions of acceptance are met, and now you have your acceptance letter approved, your school then asks for your financial statement to issue you an i20 which will be used for your visa application.

The I-20 form is issued by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school stating that you have been admitted to a full-time study program and you have demonstrated enough financial means to stay in the United States. 

The I-20 is officially titled the "Certificate of Eligibility" because, with it, you are "eligible" to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

You must also obtain a Form i-20 for any eligible dependents you plan to bring to the United States with you.

How do you prove that you have the funding for your studies to receive an i20? Let's see how we can show funding and how much we need to do that.

Showing Funding For Your Studies 

Before your school will issue your i20 you need to prove to them that you can afford your tuition fees, living expenses, and other miscellaneous costs.

You can have a self-sponsorship, family sponsorship, third party sponsorship, an organizational or government sponsorship. You can prove these by submitting documentation required by your school as means of proving your ability to afford your study or meet the minimum estimate of your expenses.

This could be a bank statement, a letter of sponsorship on official letterhead, or an official letter of certification from a leading institution indicating the specific amount for which you have been guaranteed if you will be funded by a bank loan.

Travelling With Dependents 

Some F-1 students travel to the United States with their families. The F-2 visa is for a dependent spouse or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21. F-2 status enables dependents to stay in the United States during the F-1 student’s program.

You must provide proof that, in addition to your tuition, fees, and living expenses, you also possess sufficient funds to cover the living expenses of your dependents while they live with you in the U.S. You must document funding for each dependent to cover the cost of

basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and health insurance.

You should be prepared to show additional funding for each dependent you take longer than the amount shown on your i20.

If you plan to take your family with you at the beginning of your study, you should submit your dependent documents and funding to your school as part of your admission process.

Now you got your funding right and have been issued with an i20. We can now begin our visa application.

Let’s see how that works.

Applying For Your Student Visa 

To apply for your U.S student visa, you need to fulfill these prerequisites:

-           You need to complete a Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form online.

-           Have One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm)digital photograph for the DS-160 form filling.

-           You need to pay for the $160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application fee.

-           You must also pay the $350 SEVIS I-901 fee.

-           Lastly, you must schedule an appointment for your visa interview.

Documents for Your Interview Appointment At The Embassy 

After scheduling an appointment at the Embassy, you will be required to report in person for an interview leading to your visa approval. You will need these documents with you on the day of your interview:

  • Your current passport as well as all old passports.
  • Confirmation page of online submitted Form DS-160 with CEAC bar code.
  • Your visa fee receipt
  • Any other fees are paid in advance before taking an appointment.
  • Original interview appointment letter.
  • Both pages of the bar-coded, original SEVIS generated Form I-20 signed.
  • SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt I-901.
  • Your financial documents.
  • Your certificates, Diplomas, SAT, and TOEFL scores.
  • Any other necessary documents to prove your case including birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.

How Much Finance Do You Need to Show During Your Interview

When your i20 is issued, Part 7 on the I-20 shows the amount of funding you must have available to cover your first year's expenses. The total amount includes tuition and fees, living expenses, expenses of dependents (if applicable), and other expenses (as applicable). 

You must prove to the visa officer that you have immediate funds available to cover the funds shown on the i20and that you have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study and have access to funds sufficient to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States.

For example, you are going for a 2-year master's program, you must show that funds are or will likely be available to cover the same amount for your second year as well.

Take note: 

  • F-1Visa is for students who have admission to academic programs in the United States at an approved school such as, an accredited U.S. college or university, private secondary school, or approved English language program, and those whose course of study is more than 18 hours a week.
  • M-1 Visa is for non-academic or vocational study or training students at a U.S. institution.
  • J-1Visa also known as exchange visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.
  • The F1 and J1 visas allow for the possibility of employment in the US during your stay, while the M1 Visa does not.
  • Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 qualify as dependents but not parents.
  • You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee to make a visa appointment. However, you need to make payment at least 3 days before your interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy.
  • F-2 dependents do not have to pay the SEVIS fee but will pay visa fees.
  • Your passport must have a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States to be valid for travel to the United States.

Sounds good right? Put in that visa application now and realize your study abroad dreams! 

If you will like to study in the USA, Findadmission has partner institutions in over 20 countries in the world. You can also apply from your location anywhere in the world. Our admission process is easy, fast and, convenient.

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