Sunday, April 21, 2013

MONEY MATTERS - US VISA


STUDY IN USA

This is perhaps the most worrying factor for Visa applicants and every case usually needs to be treated independently. I have attempted here to answer the most commonly asked queries.

How much funds I need to show for my Visa Interview?
For the entire duration of your stay which is equal to the duration of your program as mentioned on your I-20. This will be 24 months or 2 years for most of the programs and 16 months for some specific ones, which again is Univ specific. The estimates on the I-20 come with a 9-12 month period or a normal 12 month period, the latter being a common occurrence. So, thumb rule is twice the I-20 amount in most of the cases which should be covered by liquids and non-liquids. For cases where your program duration is 16 months, do your math and show an appropriate amount. 

What if your I-20 mentions a bloated program duration ?
For cases where your I-20 states something like your program duration as 36 months but its common for people to finish the program within or in 2 years, check if you can get a written communication from the Univ stating this or an e-mail version/soft copy of the same. Also, take supporting documents to back your claims that you need to finish the program in 2 years to maintain your F-1 status while you are at the Univ by taking appropriate credits each sem. The VO's have got every right to buy this argument or even reject them and hence be prepared for any sort of explanation that the situation may demand.

Showing Actual Source of Funds for Visa Interview : 

In several cases, the finances that you show for your Visa interview is not the actual source of funds you will be using for your education. While it is of course highly recommended to show your actual source of funds, this may not be a practical thing to do. Here are a few reasons why this may be the case :
1) The living expenses on the I-20 are much higher than what you will actually be spending. (This is true for almost everybody)
2) You will have some degree of reliance on on-campus jobs.
3) Your funds may not be readily available at the time of the visa interview, but will be ready by the time you have to pay the fees.
4) You are taking funds from a source which might raise suspictions for the Visa Officer (such as loans from US banks)
There might of course be more reasons.

How much money do I need to show at the Visa Interview?
This amount is dictated by your I-20. The cost estimate on the I-20 is for the first 12 months only. Hence it is important to consider the course duration mentioned on the I-20 while calculating the amount to be shown. Sometimes, the course duration on the I-20 is more than what it actually might take. In this case, you still should prepare sufficient finance for the written duration.

In what forms can these funds be shown?
Technically they say that funds for the first year must be shown in the form of Liquid Funds. Funds for the remaining duration of the course can be shown as Non-Liquid Funds. Also, its better to not show property as a source of funds as one hardly sells it for funding his/her studies. However, properties/lands can be shown as an asset to establish strong home-ties, a reason for the VO's to believe that you have a strong base in your native country and won't immigrate to the country for which you are requesting a visa. 
LIQUID FUNDS :

Liquid Funds are those funds which are at your instant disposal. The following is a list of sources which can be shown as Liquid Funds along with the necessary documents required for each of them.

1) Savings Accounts :
This is considered as good as cash in hand. 
But few people actually store huge amounts of money in Savings Accounts for obvious reasons. You will most likely be transferring money from a non-liquid source into your savings account to show for the visa interview. In this case carry documents as proof of transactions.
In any case, be prepared to justify any significant deposits in your Savings Account with necessary documents
Documents Required : Original Passbooks with transactions of atleast last 6 months, Bank statement (optional), Proof of significant transactions
Note : Some banks do not provide passbooks. In this case, you can do either of the following :
a) Get a printed transaction history of the past 6 months from the bank (Recommened)
b) If you have Internet banking, print the bank statements over the past 6 months.

2) Fixed Deposits :
A fixed deposit is a long term deposit with a bank which yields a higher rate of interest. You can show either the Principal Amount or the Current Amount of a Fixed Deposit as Liquid Cash. Current amount will be higher than Principal Amount due to accrued interest, but will require an official bank statement as proof. 
The Maturity Amount of a Fixed Deposit cannot be considered as Liquid Funds unless the Maturity Date is before the time when you will be needing the funds.
Documents Required : Original Receipts, Bank Statements for Current Value


3) Bank Loans :
A bank loan which has already been sanctioned can be shown as Liquid Funds. Maximum Bank Loan available in India = Rs. 20 Lakhs
Be ready to explain what was used as collateral to obtain the loan, if required.
I would strongly advise against showing a loan from a foriegn bank as source of funds.
Documents : Original Loan Sanction Letter with the name of the university mentioned

4) Scholarships :

Any monetary scholarship is also counted as Liquid Funds. These can be granted by various organizations, both from India and abroad. Make sure you are prepared to explain how you were eligible for the scholarship and your ties with the awarding organization.
Documents : Original Scholarhip Letter, Documents proving ties with the awarding organization (especially for caste specific trusts etc.)

NON - LIQUID FUNDS :
These are funds which are not available instantly, but can be made available in the near future if required.

1) Provident Funds :
There are several provident funds and it is beyond the scope of this document to discuss each one of those in detail.
Provident funds will pay you a certain amount of money at a given date. A percentage of this final amount is immediately available. Only this percentage can be shown as Liquid Funds. The rest is counted as Non-Liquid Funds.
There are also Public Provident Funds (PPF). Funds available through PPF can be shown as Liquid Funds.
Documents : Original Passbooks or Original Statements as applicable

2) Policies :
All policies are considered as Non-Liquid Funds. 
Documents : Original Policy Letter

3) National Savings Certificate :

NSC's are Non-Liquid Funds.
Documents : Original Certificates

4) Bonds :
There are again several kinds of bonds and each of them will have specific conditions. Unless you dissolve these bonds and transfer them to savings accounts, they are counted as Non-Liquid.
Documents :Original Bond Certificates

5) Shares :
The value of these assets is constantly fluctuating and hence have to be shown as Non-Liquid Assets. I would recommend you calcualte the value of the shares approximately one week prior to the Visa Interview. You can do this yourself also and do not need to pay any professional to do it.
Documents : Original Share Certificates (if possible), DMAT Account Statement

6) Mutual Fund Investments :
These are also constantly fluctuating in value and to be shown as Non-Liquid Assets.
Documents : Original Mutual Fund Investment document, Investment Portfolio (if you are investing through an agency)

7) Other Investments :
Any other investments not covered above or later can be counted as Non-Liquid Assets only.
Documents : As per investment

NOTE : Most of the above Non-Liquid Assets can be dissolved into Liquid Funds. If you do so, make sure you carry the necessary proofs for the dissolution of these assets so that you can explain the influx of Liquid Funds in your Savings Account.

PROPERTY :

Property is not directly included in Non-Liquid Assets since you will rarely be selling property to generate funds. 
While it is not compulsary to show property, it is higly recommended. There are two reasons :
a) It shows strong ties to your home country.
b) In case you are falling short of funds for 2nd year onwards, you can show property as a collateral for loan.
Documents : Original Proof of Ownership, Evaluation Certificate from a Registered Evaluator (Optional, Will cost money to obtain)

ANNUAL INCOME :

Along with all the above assets, you will also need to show the annual income of your sponsors. This is generally required to prove that your sponsors can sustain themselves while providing money for your education.
The annual income may include income from one of your Liquid assets such as FD Interest, or pay-offs from other investments. In this case, make sure that their income excluding these sources is sufficient.
Documents : Income Tax Returns of the past 3 years of each sponsor. If IT Returns of the current year have not been filed, carry salary slips, bills, receipts or any other proof of income over the past year as applicable.

How do I show these funds to the VO?

There are two ways :
1) Prepare a consolidated statement in tabular format. It should have three columns - Asset, Value in Rupees, Value in Dollars. Have four separate sections for all the above four forms of funds.
2) Prepare a Fund Flow Statement. State the funds required for your education semester-wise and the source of funds for each semester. So you will have three columns - Semester, Funds Required, Source of Funds
I would recommend option 1, since I have heard cases where VO's get suspicious about involvement of a counsellor on seeing a Fund Flow Statement.
You do not need to get these documents from any CA. You can make them yourself.

What other documents do I need from my sponsor?
The most important document you will need from your sponsor is an Affidavit of Support. Mention only the amount of Liquid Funds made available by each sponsor on the Affidavit. Do not mention Non-Liquid Funds.
Here is the format :

Quote:AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT
This is a Financial Affidavit of Support for Mr/Mrs/Ms. (Self). I Mr/Mrs/Ms. (Sponsor), (relation) of (Self), am willing and able to pay a sum upto USD XXXX/- equivalent to Rs. XXXX/- (In Words) for my (Relative's) education at (University Name).
Please find enclosed the necessary documents that support the same.
Sincerely,

(Sponsor)

The Affidavits must be printed on a stamp paper of minimum Rs.20 value and then signed and notarized. 
Alternatively, you can print the affidavit on a paper and get Franking done. Notarize it after that.
It is recommended that each sponsor have a separate Affidavit made, since each will have a separate set of documents.

STUDY IN USA

 i20 amounts of universities for Fall 2012


CS :

University Name: University of Texas Dallas
Course Name: MS in Computer Science
I20 amount: $34700
Tuition & Fees: $20396
Living Cost : $13100
Medical Insurance: $1204
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name:Northeastern University
Course Name:MS in CS
I20 amount: 36744
Tuition & Fees:20634
Living Cost :10000
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) :9
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
University Name:North Carolina State University
Course Name: MS-CN
I-20 Amount = $34771
Split up : Tution = $18667
Living expenses = $16104
This is for F1 visa for 9 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: George Mason University
Course Name: MS in CS
I-20 Amount: $37,805
Tuition and Fee: $20,065
Living: $16,140
Others(Health Insurance): $1,600
I20 Duration: 9 Months 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
University Name: Rochester Institute of Technology
Course Name: MS CS
Total: $49,866
Tuition: $35,976
Fees: $240
Health Insurance: $900
Living expense: $10,800
Books and Supplies: $1,950
i20 duration : 12 months (3 quarters)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
University Name: Syracuse University
Course Name: MS CS (General)
I20 amount: $42,267. (no waiver)
Tuition & Fees: $29,812.
Living Cost : $11,455.
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Auburn University
Course Name: MS in CS
I20 amount: 35,461
Tuition & Fees: 19,126
Living Cost : 15,059
other(med) : 1,276
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 9 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: SUNY Stony Brook (SB)
Course Name: MS CS
I20 amount: $31,088
Tuition & Fees: $16,464
Living Cost: $13,478
Health Insurance: $1,146
I20 Duration (9/12 months): 12 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Course Name: Professional MCS
I20 amount: $46,481
Tuition & Fees: $27,656 
Living Cost: $18,825
I20 Duration (9/12 months): 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Indiana University Bloomington
Course Name: Computer Science
Tuition and Fees: $20,402
Living Expenses: $12,177
Misc: $3,184
i20 amount: $35,763 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Central Florida(UCF)
Course Name: MS CS (General)
I20 amount: $34,720 (no waiver)
Tuition & Fees: $20,720
Living Cost : $12,650
Health Insurance: $1,350
I20 Duration: 9 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: The Ohio State University
Course Name: PhD in CSE
I-20 Amount = $61,212.00
Tuition and Fees = $40,884.00
Living Expenses = $20,328.00 
I20 Duration: 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: San Jose State University 
Course Name: MS SE
Semester: Fall 2012
I20 amount: $28485
Tuition : $15510
Living Cost : $12000
Medical Insurance: $975 
I20 Duration : 12 Months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

ECE:

University Name: University of Pennsylvania
Course Name: MSE in TCOM.
I20 amount: $58039
Tuition & Fees:$33444
Living Cost :$24595
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of California Irvine
I20 amount: $45,939
Program: Networked Systems (MS)
Non-Resident Tuition/Fees (3 quarters): $29,939
Room/Board, Books, Supplies, Transportation: $16,000
I20 duration(9/12 months) : 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Course Name:MS in ECE
I20 amount: $42,000
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Wisconsin Madison
Course Name: MS in Computer Engineering(Embedded Systems)
I20 amount: $43787
Tuition & Fees: $25108
Living Cost : $12302
Medical Insurance: $1404
Books and Supplies : $1100
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Drexel University
Course Name: MS in Electrical Engineering
I20 amount: $45180
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Course Name: MS EE
I20 Amount: $38,253
(Tuition & Fees: $24,348
Living Expenses: $10,080
Other (Personal Expenses): $3825)
I20 Duration: 9 Months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Clemson University
Course Name: MS in ECE (DSP)
I-20 amount = $29848
Tuition Expenses = $16518
Living Expenses = $12240
Others (Books and Supp) = $1090
I20 Duration: 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Carnegie Mellon University
Course Name: MS ECE (Valid for all departments under Carnegie Institute of Technology)
I20 amount: $58,372
Tuition Fees: $38,900
Living & Misc. Expenses: $16,113
Books and Supplies: $2,212
Health Insurance: $1,147 
I20 Duration (9/12 months): 12 months
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
University name: Georgia Institute of Technology
I20 amount: $67,167
I20 Duration: 12 months

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


IE :

University Name:SUNY Buffalo
Course Name:Industrial Engineering
I20 amount: 31150
Tuition & Fees:18485
Living Cost :12665
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) :9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: North Carolina State University
Course Name: MS Industrial & Systems Engg
I20 amount: $34,771
Tuition & Fees: $18667
Living Cost : $16104
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Clemson University
Course Name: MS IE
I20 amount: $29,848
Tuition & Fees: $16,518
Living Cost: $12,240
Other : $1,090
I20 Duration (9/12 months): 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

MISM/ISOM/MIMS/MIS :

University Name:Carnegie Mellon University
Course Name:MISM 16 month track(Aug batch)
I20 amount: $59924
Tuition & Fees: $43821(tuition+book+health insurance)
Living Cost : $16113
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Florida
Course Name: MS ISOM
I20 amount: $45205
Tuition & Fees: $29XXX
Living Cost : $16XXX
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of California, Berkeley
Course Name: Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS)
I20 amount: $51,629
Tuition & Fees: $33,629
Living Cost : $18,000
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Rochester, Simon School of Business
Course Name: MS in MIS
I20 amount: $75322
Tuition & Fees: $55,000($1506 / per Credit- 37 Credits)
Living Cost : $19600
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Texas Dallas
Course Name: MS in IT Management
I20 amount: $34700
Tuition & Fees: $20396
Living Cost : $13100
Medical Insurance: $1204 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other branches :

University Name: Purdue University
Course Name: MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics
I20 amount: $42,816
Tuition & Fees: $29,986
Living Expenses : $11,500
Other expenses ( Books ) : $1,330
I20 Duration : 10 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Course Name: MS in Civil (Structural) Engineering
I20 amount: $60,610
Tuition & Fees: $40,100
Living Cost : $18000
Medical Insurance & Books etc: $1200 + $1310
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Course Name: MS Engineering Mechanics
I20 amount: $34,000 ( approx )
Tuition - 23000$
Living - 9000 $
Misc - $2000 
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Common for all branches :

Arizona State University
course : MS (All branches of engineering)
Tuition : $18,386
Living expenses : $17,962
Health Insurance: $1,628
Program fee for all engineering courses : $800
Total : $38,776
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: The Ohio State University
Course Name: MS Mechanical Engineering
I20 amount: $45909(Common for all Engg braches)
Tuition & Fees:$30663
Living Cost :$15246
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 9 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Columbia University
I20 Amount: $ 72,039
Tuition and fees: $43,239
Living Cost(Including Summer semester): $21,600+$7,200= $28,800
I20 Duration: 12 months and 24 credits(2 Semesters)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name:University Of Utah
I20 amount: 39,536
Tuition & Fees: 22,164
Living Cost : 17,372
I20 Duration (9 / 12 months ) : 18 credits (2 semesters)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name:Cornell University
Course Name: MEng (all branches)
I20 amount: $62,638
(Tuition Fees: $43,185
Living Cost: $17,190
Health Insurance: $2,182
Student activity fee: $81 )
Course duration : 9 months
I20 duration: 9 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name:SUNY Binghamton
Course Name: MS (all branches)
i20 amount: $30,200.00
Tuition - $13,380.00
Fees - 3,570.50
Room - 7,980.00
Board - 4,282.00
Books/Supplies - 800.00
Incidentals - 187.50
I20 duration: 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: NYU Poly
Course Name: MS (all branches)
Minimum ESTIMATED i20 amount: $ 35,704.00
Tuition - $ 22,464.00
Institute Fees - 1,508.00
Room and Board - 7,650.00
Health Insurance Fees - 732.00
Books and Supplies - 450.00
Personal Expenses - 1,900.00
Travel - 1,000.00

I20 duration: 12 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Name: University of Southern California - Los Angeles
Course Name: MS (All Departments)
I-20 Amount: $51,751
Tuition and Fees: $31,828
Living Expenses: $19,923
I20 Duration: 9 months 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

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