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What Are Student Visa Requirements? - United States
By:Shilpi Ganguly

F-1 Student: F-1 students must have form I-20, which is a United States Department of Homeland Security document issued by colleges, universities, and vocational schools that provides supporting information for the issuance of a student visa or change of status.

Evidence of satisfactory funding for the first academic year at least is also necessary. Financial evidence should be in the form of a bank financial statement. Those who are submitting a personal US bank account are recommended to provide monthly bank balance statement indicating they have a continuous account.

In case some has a US sponsor, it would be better if they brought the sponsor's yearly income tax return in addition to a bank statement and personal letter showing sponsor's letter to fulfill obligations. In case parents of students are paying for expenses, documents from their work place demonstrating they can pay the cost of the first year expenses in US will be required. If duration of study is for more than a year, then evidence of continuing income in order to support the same will be needed.

It is easier to obtain visa for a university of repute, than for smaller community colleges of US. The visa application is also obtained more easily if students are able to demonstrate their intent to return to their home country after the completion of the study program. If after their course students have to continue with practical training, then that should also be indicated.

F-2 Dependents: An F-1 student who is married and has a dependent spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years can obtain F-2 status for them. F-2 dependents can remain in the US during the course of the F-1 student's study period. They may also involve themselves in any lawful activities other than employment and full-time post-secondary studies.

F-2 dependents should be able to prove their relationship to the F-1 student in terms of official documents, that is, marriage and birth certificates. They should also have filled the I-20 form indicating that they are dependents and should give estimates of their expenses. Along with that, they should be able to show sufficient financial support in addition to what is required for the F-1 student.

In certain cases F-2 dependents can also be asked to provide a resource of financial support for the entire period of stay in the US as indicated in the F-1 student's I-20 form. In case personal funding from a US bank is being used, monthly balance statements showing a continuous account need to be shown to authenticate the account. If the source of funding is through sponsorship, the F-2 dependents, like in the case of F-1 students, need to provide letter clarifying their relationship to the sponsor and an official bank statement demonstrating the ability to provide the sponsorship.

Chances of getting a visa will improve if the F-2 dependents are satisfactorily able to prove their intent to leave the US upon the completion of the F-1 student's course.

M-1 Student: M-1 category is for those students who want to pursue a full-time course at a reputed vocational or other recognized non-academic institution (other than language training program) in the US. F-1 students are granted the visa at port of entry for the duration of the study program, but M-1 students are eligible for visa only up to a certain date for the study period as indicated in form I-20 MN, plus 30 days, or 1 year, whichever is less. M-1 students also cannot be involved in employment of any kind except for post-completion practical training.

Shilpi Ganguly is a blogger who frequently writes on various topics. Find more of her tips on studying abroad. http://www.eliteindian.com/

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