Financial Requirements for a US Student Visa


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Mar 02, 2023 05:20 PM IST

Among the many steps in applying for a US Student Visa is to provide proof of financial stability to study in the country. In this article, we have discussed the different financial documents needed for US F1 Visa and other important US Student Visa financial requirements dictated by US consulates.

Financial Requirements for a US Student Visa

Financial Requirements for a US Student Visa: One of the biggest challenges faced by Indian students while planning to study abroad is the funds to pay for the tuition fees and manage living expenses in their desired study abroad country. Not only do the students need to raise the necessary funds to study abroad but they also need to prove, at the respective consulate, that they have enough money to complete their studies and manage their daily livelihood in a foreign country. One such country is the US, where all aspiring students must prove their financial capability to study at any one of the top universities in the US.

The US has been one of the top study abroad destinations in the world for decades now and continues to be the at top of any students' list. However, there are certain criteria that should be met when applying for a student visa in the US. Among these requirements, all aspiring students must satisfy the financial requirements for a US student visa, which is also one of the most crucial elements in the entire US visa application process.

Even if your admission to your desired university in the US is confirmed, along with holding the appropriate acceptance letter, you will still need to provide relevant financial documents when applying for the appropriate US study visa, failing which the student may not be granted the study visa. Thus, it is also an important factor in determining whether the dream of a student to study abroad will be fulfilled or not. In this article, we shall discuss the different financial documents you can submit for a US Student Visa, along with other financial requirements you need to keep in mind when applying. Or

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Important Facts About the US Student Visa 

Here are some of the important facts about the US Students visa that aspirants must know before knowing in deep about the financial requirements for a US student visa:

  • There are two kinds of student visas in the United States. The first is the M1 visa, which is intended for students pursuing vocational or non-academic courses.

  • The F1 visa is the second form of US student visa, and it is for students who desire to study at a recognised institution in the US.

  • When applying for a student visa, the student must ensure that he meets all of the US study visa requirements and completes all of the necessary documentation.

What is Form I-20? (NEW H2)

When you are accepted by any US university of your choice, the institution will provide you with a Form I-20, also known as a Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status - For Academic and Language Students. Section 7 of the I-20 form specifies how much money you must have to meet your first year's costs. Tuition, accommodation costs, and other additional expenditures are all included. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient finances to meet these costs. Preferably, you should demonstrate a quantity equal to at least double the I-20 amount in liquid and fixed assets. You must also consider things such as inflation, emergency travel, foreign exchange rates, and so forth while considering studying in the United States.

Financial Documents Required for a US Student Visa

Once the admission at a US University/School is accepted, the student receives an I-20 that is officially issued by the Department of Homeland Security, USA. The I-20 is needed to apply for a US study visa (F1 Visa). The I-20 contains the candidate's personal details, institute information, program of study and financial information. The financial information is used as a reference to confirm the financial requirements by the US consulate at the time of visa approval. It contains information like the estimated cost of study, duration of the course and students' funding information. In case, any scholarship is offered to the student, the same will be mentioned on the I-20.

Based on the details mentioned on the I-20, students must raise the necessary funds to study abroad and carry the following documents as proof of financial support.

Bank Statements

Colleges and Universities require international students to prove that they have sufficient funds to manage their tuition fees and living expenses in the United States. For this, the candidates need to submit a bank statement of the parents, guardians or relatives as a mandatory document while applying for a US student visa.

Most institutions require the candidate to demonstrate their ability to pay fees and manage expenses for one year. However, certain institutions require proof for more than one year. It depends on the type of course and the institute in which the candidate is enrolled in. Financial ability can be proved in any currency.

An alternative option for those who cannot produce a bank statement is a letter from an employer that shows annual salary credit.

Fixed Deposits (FD) or Provident Fund (PF)

Students who have fixed deposits can also show the relevant documents to the US Consulate. Apart from Fixed Deposits, Provident Funds (PF) having sufficient funds are also acceptable as financial proof to support their studies and living expenses in the United States.

Loan Sanction Letter

Education loans are one of the primary sources of funds to study abroad. Students who receive a loan from banks or NBFC are issued a Loan Sanction Letter. Students who are dependent on funds through loans must carry with them the Loan Sanction Letter issued by the authorities as proof of financial support.

Scholarship and Financial Aid

International students who have received any scholarship or financial aid to manage their study abroad expenses can demonstrate the same as proof of financial requirement.

The student must submit the official letter of receipt of the scholarship showing the amount of scholarship received and the name of the funding agency or organisation. The scholarship or financial aid can be government-based or it can also be received from a private agency or organisation.

Assets or Investments

International students can also demonstrate financial stability through mutual funds, property holders, assets or any other investments. The type of investment or assets accepted varies institute-wise.

The investments and assets accepted depend solely on the average cost of study and living expenses for a definite period of time. The institutes only accept liquid assets for financial proof i.e the assets that can be easily converted to cash.

Minimum Fund Requirements for a US Student Visa

The total financial expenses including the tuition fee and average living expenses are already mentioned in the I-20 financial information section. International students must try to prove the maximum funding amount which is more than the one mentioned in the I-20. Ideally, it should be 1.5 times more than the expenses mentioned in form I- 20.

In case, a candidate is not able to show the extra amount they must at least prove the minimum funding amount as mentioned in the I-20. The funds must remain in the bank account for at least two months after the visa has been accepted.

For example, the sum stated on your I-20 for the first year is USD 25,000. Then, display a figure close to USD 38,000.

Who Can Sponsor Study Funds?

Most of the students who pursue higher education abroad have their funds sponsored. Answering the question of who can sponsor the funds? the parents, guardians or blood relatives of the candidate can finance their study abroad funds. Additionally, banks can sanction loans to study abroad.

Note: Financial proof in the form of stocks, or solvency letters from banks is not acceptable by institutes. In other words, any non-liquid financial proof is not acceptable.

Financial Documents Required While Applying for US Study Visa

Along with the Transcripts, offer letter, passport etc, students must carry the following documents to prove their financial stability to study in the United States:

  • Your sponsor's original affidavit of support.

  • Genuine bank records (bank statements or passbooks) and/or fixed deposit statements from your sponsors for the last six months.

  • Original tax returns over the last three years (specifically form 16).

  • Sponsors' proof of work, such as pay stubs and/or job letters.

  • If your sponsor is a businessman, you must produce a balance sheet for the last three years.

  • If your studies are sponsored by your home government, you may be eligible for financial help.

  • University financial assistance in the form of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship (TA/GA/RA). If the applicant decides to demonstrate this, they must provide proof that equivalent financial assistance will be available for the duration of the programme.

  • Statement of Insurance Policy (as applicable).

  • CA Announcement containing a brief overview of the evidence of money.

  • If you are employed, please provide a salary slip (as applicable).

  • If you are working, you must file income tax returns (as applicable).

Either all or a combination of the above-mentioned documents can be carried at the US Consulate or Embassy.

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How much money you will need in order to qualify for an M1 student visa?

Just like the F1 student visa status to study, if you will be studying in the US under an M1 student visa which is a vocational student status category for international students, your resources must fund your whole 12-month (or shorter) study term in the country.

How much money you will need in order to qualify for an F1 visa?

To qualify for an F1 visa, your financial resources must clearly support a 12-month academic term. You will also need to demonstrate that your further years of study will be covered. The US government does not expect you to be able to pay for all of your years of study right away, but it does require you to demonstrate where the money will come from ultimately. 

What are the acceptable sources of financial support while studying in the USA?

Personal funds; readily convertible personal assets or property; pay from labour done as part of a fellowship or scholarship; or specific amounts from other people or organisations can all be sources of financial support while studying in the US. As part of the visa application procedure, you will need to collect documents that prove the existence of these items.

How to make sure support from non-family members is counted toward US student visa eligibility?

To make sure support from non-family members is counted toward US student visa eligibility, utilise any of the related pieces of evidence for family members, including a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. The US government official who chooses whether to issue your visa will be perplexed as to why someone unrelated to you would wish to pay for your pricey school. Non-family members should also write a sworn statement explaining why they are so willing, capable, and motivated.

What is the Form I-20?

A Form I-20, also known as a Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status – For Academic and Language Students is something the university provides you with after you are admitted. The form is issued by accredited colleges or universities in the US for international students on an F-1 student visa or M-1 student visa.

What does Section 7 of Form I-20 specify?

Section 7 of the I-20 form specifies how much money you must have to meet your first year's expenses. Tuition, living expenses, and other additional expenses are all included. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient finances to cover these costs. Ideally, you should demonstrate a quantity equal to at least double the I-20 amount in liquid and fixed assets. You must also consider things such as inflation, emergency travel, foreign exchange rates, and so on.

How much will studying in the USA cost?

On average, international students or aspirants who wish to study in the USA spend around USD 25,000 to USD 45,000 per year at public universities and USD 30,000-USD 55,000 at private colleges. Some private colleges charge between USD 60,000-USD 70,000 a year, depending on the course you choose to study.

How much bank balance is required for I-20?

If the duration of your degree on I20 is 24 months, you should have finances for the amount specified on I-20 for the two years, which is double the amount specified on I20. If the I-20 states that you need USD 25,000 for the first year, you will need USD 50,000 for the length of your studies. 

How much does F1 visa application cost?

F1 visa applications cost roughly USD 510, and you should apply for it at least three months before your course start date. Part-time employment is severely prohibited on an F1 visa. You might be able to work on-campus at your preferred university, but hours are limited and jobs are in high demand.

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