How to prepare your financial documents ?
If you have been accepted to a university abroad, the next step is to apply for your student visa. For this, you need to get your financial documents together to successfully pass the visa interview and obtain the F1 student visa. You need to provide financial documents to prove that you have adequate financial resources to fund your study abroad which include paying for your tuition, books and living expenses and supporting yourself financially for the first year or two.
What are financial documents?
Financial documents mean an official document issued by a bank which proves that there are sufficient funds in a bank account to pay for the tuition expenses and living costs while enrolled in the university.
The amount of money that must be shown by the applicants’ financial statements varies depending on the university and the chosen course; therefore, it is imperative that applicants pay careful attention to their university’s requests.
The financial statements must be issued in English from the bank. Applicants must bear in mind that the English translation of a financial statement by the bank can take up to 1 week, and an additional fee may be charged.
Which Financial documents serve as proof?
- Bank statements, loan contract and any other information that is related to those who will finance your education. It could also be any financial aid that you have from the government or university.
- The employment history of the applicant or the employment history of the person providing them with financial support. This is to ensure that the student will have a consistent income.
- The source of the income used such as cash assets or a bank loan. This is taken into consideration so that the Department of Immigration knows where the money is coming from and if that is a reliable source of income.
- Parents or sponsors financial documents which include tax returns from the past three years, their pay slips, employment letters and liquid asset statement.
- If you have received a scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, grant or loan, it is necessary for you to provide a confirmation letter or form stating that financial aid will be given to you.
- If you have availed a loan from the bank to cover the tuition cost, you must ensure that you present the official documents which will verify the loan approval and not just the loan application.
- If your higher education is supported by an individual in the U.S., you will need to carry a notarized I-134 form along with three years bank statements and tax returns of that person (though not encouraged).
- Paying for the tuition expense in advance is also a good way to show proof of funds, but is not mandatory.
If the Visa officer finds some discrepancies or if they have any doubt regarding the financial stability of the student then, the student will have to provide more information.
- After you are admitted, the university will request for proof of financial support. You must provide evidence of financial support like bank statements and other documentation from a sponsor, financial aid as well as scholarship letters. You must check the University website as they may have specific requirements for acceptable documentation. You must note that though International students are eligible to work on campus, employment is limited to 20 hours per week. Thus, student employment cannot be taken into consideration for evidence of financial support because there is no guarantee that the student will have a job once he/she is on campus.
- On satisfactory review of the same, the University will provide you with a document known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, which is also called I-20.
- Section 7 of the I-20 form provided, will specify the amount of funds required to cover your first-year’s expenses. This includes tuition costs and fees, living expenses and any other costs. You must be able to prove that you have immediate funds available to cover this amount during the interview with the US Visa Consular.
- An international student must bring his Form I-20 from the university he plans to attend as well as evidence of financial support to his visa interview at the consulate. The Visa officer will review this information to ensure the student can finance his studies and living expenses abroad.
- A consular officer may request any information which he/she believes to be relevant to grant the F1 student visa. Every international student has to demonstrate that they have the ability to pay for their education abroad.
Thus, getting these documents together and preparing for the F1 student visa interview may seem like a stressful experience, but if you prepare well in advance and keep the requisite documents and forms organized and ready, then obtaining a student visa becomes plain sailing.