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Pointers to get your US student visa

Last updated on: October 13, 2005 16:26 IST
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Are you a student or a working professional headed to the US for further studies or a job.

Are you worried about your visa prospects. Like: how tough is it to get a US student/ work visa?

What questions can be expected at the visa interview? 

US visa regulations expert Dr Arun Vakil, in an hour long chat with Get Ahead readers, had all the answers.

Dr Arun Vakil has an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, and a PhD from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA. He was associated with the US consulate in Mumbai as an economist from 1974 to 1977. Dr Vakil conducts orientation courses for students going to the US, organised by the United States Education Foundation in India and the Indo-American Society. He also lectures on US visas and immigration laws. Dr Vakil has authored Gateway to America, in 1984.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part II: Top 4 visa interview questions

Part III: Want to settle in the US?

 grungy : Hi Dr. Vakil. I am Anupriya. I am currently studying at Oxford and was wondering what would I need to come back to India before I apply for a visa to US for further studies?

Dr Vakil : 
Normally, you have to apply for student visa from your permanent residence which is a city in India. However you can check at the US consulate, London, if they would allow you to apply from there if you can prove that you are not intending to emigrate.

rodeo : I have an L1 visa but no project . My term of contract expires in Feb 2006. Can I go to the US on the current L1 stamping without the knowledge of my employer?

Dr Vakil : 
It will not be right to go to the US on your current L1 stamping without your employer's knowledge.You must have a project on hand.

cookie : Hello Sir, I am a 27-ear-old girl, unmarried and I have got an admmission in wichita in a state university, can u guide me abt my student visa application ? what are my chances? i have a business in partnership running and i have house property and have an education loan, i am planning on doing the bachelors again cause i am not eligible for the masters(3 yrs eduction)

Dr Vakil : 
You have to prove through your documents that you have financial ties in India (family property) and you have a definite plan to return to India after your studies. I see no reason why your visa cannot be given.

grungy : Is it sufficient to have a confirmed admission offer from a US university for a visa or is full funding etc important as well?

Dr Vakil : You need to show that you have liquid funds sufficient to cover first year of study and have access to funds for later years.

grungy : I am at Oxford University and am struggling to decide whether to consider further studies in the US or at Cambridge, where I have a confirmed PhD position. I think I might be already too late for US applications...

Dr Vakil : 
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. I think you should go for a PhD at Cambridge.

rodeo : Dr Vakil, as a software professional is there any other option for me to go to the US currently? I know my L1 is a possibility, but since the term of contract expires in Feb. I dont want to stick around with the current employer? kindly assist.
Dr Vakil : You can locate an employer in the US who can file an H1 petition for you as temporary worker in a speciality occupation ie software competence.

However, H-1 has a quota and the next quota opens only on October 1, 2006. But applications would be received effective April 1, 2006.

cookie : What is the criteria for a student visa, specially for a girl?

Dr Vakil : 
The criteria for a student visa, irrespective of the gender of the applicant, is: (a)Valid admission in a US university which issues an I 20 form, (b) Proof of available finance for the entire duration of study, (c) Plan of action on your return to India.

cookie : are there any extra problems if u are above 25 and unmarried?

Dr Vakil : 
Not really, so long as you prove your genuine intention of study and plan of action on return.

fleur7 : Is it possible to get statistics for US visa approval at second attempt for Indian students?

Dr Vakil : 

Sanjay : Hello Dr. Vakil, Can u help me with regard to a non-immigrant visa (Not Student)?

Dr Vakil : 
There are scores of non-immigrant visas. It is impossible to tell you on chat. However, I suggest you refer to my book Gateway to America, available at the Indo-American Society, Mumbai.

For further details of the book, send an e-mail to

cookie : i want to study ecommerce and implement what i learn at the internet shop that i own in India, i mean branch out in that field, would that be a plausable intent? cause my business will be running with my partner managing and i will join back upon my return. Family property is there in my name cause i dont have my parents anymore only a brother.

Dr Vakil : 
Yes, this is possible. You need to show property (liquid and fixed) which would indicate your financial ties in India.

Balajivasudevan : I hold a bachelor of arts degree with 6+ years expertise in a relevent field. Will my visa be approved if applied

Dr Vakil : 
It depends on what visa you seek.

ravi : sir, for canadian visa, will the formal offer confirming the full scholarship do or should i take a bank educational loan?

Dr Vakil : 
It all depends on the amount of funds needed for study at your chosen university and the quantum of loan you are applying for.You need to show personal finance first and de-emphasise details about the bank loan because it may lead to other questions.

Paramjit : I have heard that there is a new procedure for taking appointments for visa interview. Can you tell us something about it?

Dr Vakil : 
Go to You will get all the information.Good luck!

pparkar : Hi Vikil my b1 visa was rejected twice. Now i am going to appear for h3 visa. Is there is any rule which can ban me for apperaing for visa if I failed to get visa for third time?

Dr Vakil : 
If you are applying for the H category of visa, then the previous denials are not taken into consideration. So, do not worry and jump ahead.

asif : hello sir my aunty is staying in the US for the past 20 years. So how can she help me for the visas,specially fo r the work permit visas

Dr Vakil : 
She can help you only if she is an employer having business of her own and can file a petition for you for an H1 visa. She can also send a sponsorship through an affidavit of support to enable you to go to the US as a visitor.

nimesh : hello it easy for an employer to file a H1B for a person who has 15 years of academic study with over 5 years of professional work experience?

Dr Vakil : 
Yes, provided the employer can prove that the applicant has special skills in certain areas for which the petition is filed.

vasu : I got B1 visa two times but haven't visited on those visas. When I applied third time it got rejected. Any reasons?. Now i am applying H1 will my background afftect my prospectus of getting H1

Dr Vakil : 
If you have a genuine employer for a specific job which will allow you to get H1 to work in the US, you should not have any problem even though you were rejected twice before.

Chandan : Sir, How tough is obtaining US visitor visa . m planning to visit US for 10 days. I have travelled to UK 4-5 Times in past 1 yr.

Dr Vakil : It is not tough to obtain a visitor visa to the US if you satisfy basic requirements.Visit for details.

ramesh : How long does it take to get a H1B after a 6 year stay in the US and how do they track an overstay

Dr Vakil : 
H1B visa is available to eligible applicants when the quota is available.You should have an employer in the US to petition for you.Overstay can be tracked from your passport.

Madhav : Hi, I have RL1 visa. I got it stamped from the Calcutta embassy. Can my wife attend dependant visa interview at chennai? we basically live in chennai consulate region.

Dr Vakil : Yes, you can try at Chennai but your chances of getting interviewed at the Kolkata consulate are quicker compared to the one in Chennai.

Part II: Top 4 visa interview questions

Part III: Want to settle in the US?


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