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 the country. Not only do the students need to raise the necessary funds to study abroad but they also need to prove, at the consulate, that they have enough money to complete their studies and manage their daily livelihood in a foreign country. Financial requirements are needed to apply for a visa to study abroad.
Even if the admission is confirmed at the university and an offer letter is received, one needs to provide relevant financial documents to receive the 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.
While almost all countries require students to prove financial stability to study abroad, here we will focus on the United States, which is one of the most popular countries for higher education amongst Indian students.
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Financial Requirements for a US Study 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, the 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 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.
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 the 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 Requirement Needed While Applying for F1 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 I- 20.
In case, a candidate is not able to show the extra amount they must 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.
Also Read: USA F1 Student Visa Guide
Who Can Sponsor Study Funds?
Most of the students who pursue higher education abroad, have their funds sponsored. Answering the question “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, 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:
- I-20 (mandatory)
- ITR Statement
- Recent Bank Statement (mandatory)
- Statement for Chartered Accountant
- Scholarship Funds Letter
- Salary Slip of Parents, Relatives or Self
- Loan Sanction Letter
Either all or a combination of the above-mentioned documents can be carried at the US Consulate or Embassy.
For study abroad financial assistance and admission related queries, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.