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Student Visa of USA
by Sudhir Shah

Fifty-two years after Indian independence, our population has grown from 400 million to 1 billion. Unfortunately, our colleges have not increased by 150 percent. Realizing the importance of college education, now, students from villages and small towns also desire to take higher education. This has also increased the necessity for more college seats. The daily increase in percentage of reservation policy adds to this scarcity. As a result of all this, a student securing even 90% marks finds it difficult to get admission in an engineering or medical college. At postgraduate levels a student finds it extremely difficult to pursue his/her desired subjects. Dwindling standards of our universalities, lack of infrastructure, pathetic conditions of laboratories, empty libraries and ever-changing educational policy adds to the misery of students. No wonder, in this situation, talented and capable students are attracted towards the colleges abroad providing better education and ultra-modern facilities.

Every Indian newspaper carries daily advertisements from different universities abroad inviting our students to study with them. Many offer on-line admissions and some also go to the extent of visiting India and admitting students on the spot. Though foreign universities are eager to accept our students, the foreign governments are not and our students find it very difficult to obtain a student visa to go and study abroad.

Each country has its own immigration policies, laws, rules and regulations. However, basic requirements of all the countries are the same. Before granting a student visa, an Immigration Officer of any country, whether of USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Australia or New Zealand would normally consider if the person applying for a student visa is really desirous of prosecuting studies or is intending to use the student visa as a means to enter the country and illegally work there. An Immigration Officer of any country would require a student to show that he/she has procured admission for studies in a recognized university and has funds available at his/her disposal to meet the education and lodging and boarding expenses during the course period and that he/she will not be required to work to meet those expenses. The Immigration Officer would also require the applicant of a student visa to demonstrate that he/she has sufficient ties in his/her home country in the form of family ties and financial ties which will make him/her return to his/her country upon the completion of studies. A pending application for a permanent residence in the country of which student visa is applied for may dis entitle a person obtaining a student visa. Near relatives overstaying, rejection of an application for visas earlier under other categories, denial of visas of any other country, active participation of the applicant in any political or religious movement, engagement in trade union activities, any past criminal record, opting of a course of study not in consonance with the educational qualifications or the field of work in which the applicant is engaged, the applicant being a mediocre student, availability of the same course in home country and lack of adequate knowledge of the English language are a few of the instances on which a student visa may be denied.

Practically all countries' immigration laws require an applicant of a student visa to satisfy the Immigration Officer that the intention of the applicant is nonimmigrant, i.e the applicant has no intention to permanently reside in that country and would return to his/her home country upon the completion of studies. In general, along with an application for a student visa, the following documents should be submitted:

  1. If the applicant is an income-tax payer, last two years Income-Tax returns.
  2. Bank Statements or Bank Passbook. (Not a certificate stating the balance in the account)
  3. Insurance Policy, Fixed Deposit Receipts, Shares, Securities, etc.
  4. Documents showing the ownership of all movable and immovable properties owned by the applicant.
  5. If the expenses of the applicant are to be born by his/her parents or guardians, their Income-Tax Returns, Bank Statements, Insurance Policy, Fixed Deposit Receipts, Shares, Securities, Pension Plans, documents showing ownership of their properties and affidavits stating that they would bear the applicants expenses.
  6. If the applicant has obtained financial assistance to meet his/her expenses from a bank and/or company, all documents showing the same.
  7. If the applicant and/or his/her family members are members of any clubs, social institutions, organizations and/or if they have achieved any distinction in any field, all documents showing the same.
  8. If the applicant is offered a job upon completion of his/her studies, a letter from the employers to that effect.
  9. A letter stating how the course which the applicant intends to pursue will help him/her in his/her home country.
In short, the applicant should produce for the Immigration Officer's satisfaction all documents showing that applicant is a person who himself/herself and his/her family is well settled in his home country which will make the applicant return back to his home country. If the Visa Officer is satisfied about the same there would not be any difficulty in obtaining a student visa.

About The Author

Sudhir Shah is the Proprietor of Sudhir Shah & Associates, a law firm in Mumbai, India of more than 30 years standing. He advises Indian clients on US Immigration Laws. Mr.Shah regularly answers readers questions on Immigration related issues in "Economic Times on Sunday." His articles on US Immigration laws are regularly published in two leading vernacular language newspapers of India. Since the recessionary trend started in US and post September 11,2001's attacks he has been invited on several occasion by CNBC TV Channel to participate in panel discussions to give his views on the events affecting US Immigration Laws. His website is and e-mail address is

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