US Student Visa: Myths vs Reality
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US Student Visa: Myths vs Reality

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Aishwarya
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Mar 30, 2023 22:16 IST

The number of students looking to pursue an education in the US is increasing every year, and so is the number of visa applications. Once the student has been accepted by the college or institution and before applying for a student visa in the USA, the school must send the proper documentation for enrolling the student into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is a web-based information system that keeps track of foreign students and other exchange program participants. This course also helps in information sharing among various institutes and government agencies.

Depending upon the programs a fee must be paid for enrolling self into SEVIS. Mostly the SEVIS fee for the students is $350. Then an appointment for a visa interview must be made by contacting the US Embassy or consulate. After that, the visa processing procedures may vary depending upon the US Embassy or Consulate, but all the students are given prior information regarding the visa interview schedule.

Myths vs Reality for USA Student Visa

Apart from many of those who apply for US visas believing in myths, the following is the reality behind these misconceptions -

Myth 1: The United States puts a limit on the visas issued to the foreign students

Reality: Visas issued by US embassies and consulates around the world are not limited to any number of students. If you are a qualified student visa applicant who has gained admission to a US university, the State Department is happy to let you pursue that opportunity.

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Myth 2: Improved visa chances upon hiring an education agent

Reality: Don't pay money or enter into an agreement with self-proclaimed visa "fixers". They don't have any special access to the US government.

Myth 3: A visa applicant needs to document a minimum income level

Reality: The student visa applicant must be able to provide the financial evidence required, for the parents or sponsors to have sufficient funds for tuition and living expenses during the academic tenure.

Myth 4: Only the academic superstars get visas

Reality: Visas are not reserved for outstanding students, but it certainly depends on whether the candidate has been accepted to a college or university in the United States or not. When you have been academically admitted to the institution or accepted as a participant in an exchange program, the academic institution will provide the appropriate form required by SEVIS. This form is required to submit when you apply for a visa. A demonstration to the consular officer will be required, who conducts your interview that you are a serious student who is well-informed about the admitting institution. You also need to show that you have a well-developed plan of study and are knowledgeable about the subject you are studying.

Myth 5: During the visa interview, the consular officer would like to hear the "right" answers

Reality: The consular officer will appreciate an honest description of the personal circumstances of the students.

Myth 6: English proficiency will decide the fate of the Visa

Reality: One does not need to show proficiency in English if they are planning to study in the United States. The consular officer will also evaluate the candidate on the basis of their language skills along with the overall competence of the student. However, sufficient English proficiency is a prerequisite for J1 exchange visitor visa applicants.

Myth 7: Visa will only be obtained if there's any relative in the United States

Reality: This is not true. The interviewing consular officer may ask about relatives in the US during the visa interview, just as he or she may ask about your family situation in your home country.

Myth 8: International students are not permitted to work on a student visa while visiting the United States

Reality: Some job opportunities are possible for students, especially in on-campus work-study programs with limited working hours. Check Part-Time Work Options in the USA for International Students.

Myth 9: Must have the entire future planned out to get a visa

Reality: A realistic plan will be discussed, but not a detailed plan for your entire career. 

Myth 10: Return to the home country immediately upon completion of your degree

Reality: Applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) will enable the students to work for up to one-year duration in their field in the United States to gain practical experience. Check out the Difference between OPT and CPT.

During a visa interview, the candidate must carry all the essential documents including payment receipt of the SEVIS fee, the visa-qualifying document supplied by your academic institution, financial support documents, the visa application processing fee and a properly completed visa application form.

Also, review the information provided on the embassy or consulate Web sites. The process of obtaining a visa is a bit complicated but it ensures the travel of a foreign citizen till the port of entry. Entry into the country is decided by US Customs and Border Protection.

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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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Kalyani
MBA Course in the US

Having Worked as an Academic Manager in Experiential Marketing earlier, Kalyani made her move to the study abroad vertical in 2017.Passionate about education and wanting to make a difference, Kalyani holds a B.Com d... Read Full Bio

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