If you are an MS aspirant, few things you tend to focus on more and few things are left behind. One of the things students ignore to pay heed is their preparations for getting a VISA for MS. No, in the beginning you don’t need to make any arrangements for VISA, but what’s prudent is to collect the information well in advance for future reference.
That’s the reason we bring in this topic to provide you with the detailed information about your VISA preparation. You don’t need to do a thing. Just read on and you would find that this information will turn out to be very helpful for your future aspiration of pursuing MS.
In the beginning
Preparation for VISA is the final stage. Once you shortlist the college you want to get admission into, you need to send your applications to them. Within 2-3 months you would receive response from the universities that whether you are being selected for the admission or not. Once you receive the response, this part is tricky to choose which university you should choose. First think about your aspiration and then validate it with the constraints you have – budget, cost, time, duration. Lastly talk to any alumni about the job prospect and then choose the university.
Once you choose the university, the university is supposed to send you a form called “I-20” form. It’s a special type of form which is being issued by the university stating that the selected students are granted admission and explains to the US Government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status.
Within 3-4 weeks since you receive the response from the University for Admission, “I-20” form should reach you. If not, you need to enquire in the respective university about the same. Because without “I-20” form you won’t be able to be eligible to receive F-1 Visa!
Many universities require few documents for verification before they send the “I-20” form. The required documents may be Affidavit, Financial Assistance, Bank Statement etc.
Procedure to apply for VISA
It is important for every MS aspirant to know about the procedure of applying for VISA so that in future you don’t need to face any critical or emergent situation.
Before August 2012, the VISA norms were different. But since August, 2012, the students are required to book an appointment for the Offsite Facilitation Centre (OFC) for Biometrics (photo plus finger prints) and for VISA interview.
We would discuss the procedure in short and lucid way so that it becomes easy for you to remember.
Step-1: Preparation for DS-160 Form
DS-160 form is for non-immigrant VISA application which needs to be filled before anything else. The purpose of US Government while getting this application form filled is simply to collect all the information about you and to ensure that the VISA you are seeking is for temporary travel to the United States.
You need to go to this website - https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and fill up the application. Once you fill up the application, take the print out of DS-160 barcode confirmation sheet and email the confirmation page to yourself for back up and future need.
Step-2: Registration with the bank/s
You need to pay certain fees for VISA Application. You would need to pay US $160 for VISA Application. Along with that you are required to pay VFS Service Charges and Bank charges. That means the total amount you need to pay for the complete procedure is Rs.9, 000 approximately.
You need to pay the amount via Cash or DD/Cheque. The most preferred banks are Axis Bank and Citi Bank.
After the payment, bank will issue a VISA fee receipt in duplicate where a 10 digit barcode number will be given. You need to use this barcode number for scheduling your appointment.
Know that the fees you will pay for VISA application will be non-refundable and you must appear for the VISA interview within 1 year (365 days). The year will start to be counted from the day you would purchase the fee receipt. If you fail to appear for interview during these 365 days, the fee receipt will no longer be valid.
Step-3: Pay SEVIS Fee
Not only for VISA Application, but you also need to pay SEVIS Fee which is a prescribed few required to pay for Service and Exchange Visitor Information System. The fee is US $200. Once you pay the amount don’t forget to print the receipt. You are required to click the following link for payment: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/
Step-4: Appointment for VISA
This is the last step in VISA application process. You need to schedule your VISA interview date using the barcode and fee receipt.
Once you schedule your VISA interview date you need to book another appointment with OFC (Offsite Facilitation Centre) at least one-two days prior to the VISA interview.
You can schedule OFC appointment using this link: https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=India
Required documents to carry during VISA & OFC Interview
The documents required for scheduling OFC and VISA interview are of immense importance. Without them you won’t be able to schedule any interview. Let’s look at the essential documents required for OFC and VISA interview.
Documents required for booking OFC interview
- The 10 digit barcode number you received from the DS-160 confirmation page
- You need to mention the date you paid the fee
- Finally your passport number
Documents required on OFC interview day
- You need to have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your desired period of stay in the United States. For example, if you would like to stay in US for 2 years, your passport should be valid for at least 2.5 years. There may be country specific agreements which may provide exemptions on the validity.
- You also need to carry your DS-160 confirmation page print out
- And lastly, your appointment confirmation page
Documents required for VISA interview day
- First of all, you need to carry a printed copy of your appointment letter
- You also need to carry DS-160 confirmation page
- A photograph of yours taken maximum 6 months prior, not more
- Your current passport and all old passports (if any)
- And finally the original VISA fee receipt (Make sure it’s original, not the Xerox copy)
The information discussed above is very critical for successful completion of your MS application process. Though it’s the final stage, but keep this information handy so that when you need to make quick decisions about applying for VISA you don’t need to go here and there for info. Just open A4Academics, click on this article and whatever information you need about VISA for your MS application would be at your fingertip.