“Applicants’ honesty a sure way to get U.S. visa”
Vice-Consul gives useful tips to students at education fair
Nov 15, 2008: Will I get the visa, or not – this question troubles many students who aspire to study in the United States. A mantra that will ensure a smoother ride is, “Honesty is the best policy,” said Kelly Kopcial, Vice Consul, Consulate of the United States in Chennai.
She was speaking at a USA Education Fair organised by Bite Consultancy, an institute that provides personalised counselling and related services to Indian students seeking higher education overseas. The Consultancy is an arm of the British Institute of Technology and e-Commerce, an institution involved in research, consulting and education.
Janet Foxcroft, General Manager, Bite Consultancy, said that there are lots of institutes offering a wide variety of courses in the U.S. Depending on what suits the student, the decision has to be made.
Being associated with around 300 U.S. universities, Bite Consultancy helps students shortlist six universities according to their requirements. The universities are chosen such that the student can choose depending on location and budget needs, said Ms. Foxcroft. Apart from this, the consultancy also helps in every stage of the admission process, from processing applications to settling in the university. In addition to this, the consultancy has a tie-up with State Bank of India to arrange loans and those who register with the consultancy can obtain free coaching for the standardised tests, such as GRE and GMAT.
Ms. Kopcial said that academic strengths, research capabilities, size and location are some parameters that need to be considered while choosing a university. The website of the university, faculty and students there could be sources of information. The idea is to “get a total picture of the school,” she said.
The admission process involves taking standardised tests such as GRE and TOEFL and sending resumes, statement-of-purpose and other such documents. Once the admission process is complete, the university sends an I-20 card. This card is a must for obtaining a visa, said Ms. Kopcial.
“You can apply for a visa 120 days before the start of the programme,” she said. All visa appointments can be fixed through the VFS website. Before the interview, the fee for SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) needs to be paid and the receipt needs to be brought to the visa interview.
Along with the I-20 and the receipt for SEVIS, the student should also be able to demonstrate that she has enough funds to support her stay in the U.S. “You need to have credible and sufficient funds to pay for your first year outright,” said Ms. Kopcial. And, you should be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funding for subsequent years. Other documents, such as standardised test scores and degree certificates help present a legitimate case to the consulate.
There are no fixed rules that can be applied to guarantee a visa. “It depends…,” said Ms. Kopcial, talking about how her answers always start with these words because every person presents a unique situation.