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United States – FAQ’s

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WHAT ADVICE & GUIDANCE WOULD YOU PROVIDE TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?

Students should seek advice and guidance from a qualified education agency. Students should not feel pressured into making any decision and invest crucial time to understand what area of study and country is most suitable for them. Pursuing an overseas education represents a significant investment in a person’s time, money, and future. Students who are unsure about what course they want to study or have reservations about their ability to pay should delay their plans until a sense of clarity emerges. Students can book an appointment to speak with a qualified student advisor by visiting www.studyoverseasnow.com

WHAT IS THE COST OF A STUDENT VISA?

The cost of a student visa is $510. A student visa should last for the duration of your studies. This information should be visible on all paperwork provided by the institution. If students do not complete the program in the required period, an additional fee may be mandated to extend their student visa.

CAN STUDENTS BRING A DEPENDENT {S} WITH THEM?

Students can bring dependants with them; however, students must ensure the level of their course and program length allows them to bring dependants with them.

CAN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS BRING A DEPENDENT{S} WITH THEM? Yes. WHAT IS THE COST FOR A DEPENDENT{S} VISA?

 A primary dependant visa will cost $160 + biometric fees. Additional dependents and children will incur fees. If the primary applicant brings children who require schooling additional finances may be required to cover these costs.

CAN A STUDENT WORK PART-TIME WHILST STUDYING?

Students should check the terms and conditions of their visas. The length of the study may determine if a student is eligible. The number of hours permitted to work may vary depending on key semester dates and holidays. Students must prioritize their studies over part-time work. Managing part-time work and full-time studies can be challenging. The number of hours a student can work in the US is capped at 20 hours per week on-campus and 40 hours per week outside of study.

CAN DEPENDENTS WORK FULL-TIME WHILST IN THE UNITED STATES?

No. However, children may be permitted to commence schooling.

WHEN CAN A STUDENT APPLY FOR A UNITED STATES STUDENT VISA?

It’s best to apply for a student visa as early as possible. This will ensure all documentation arrives on time. A delay can lead to students having to defer their studies until the next available intake. The earliest students can apply for a student visa is 120 days before course commencement.

IS THERE A STREAMLINED VISA PROCESS FOR INDIAN CITIZENS?

No.

WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF A VISA REJECTION & ELIGIBILITY  FOR A REFUND?

A noticeable increase in student visa rejections has been evident in recent months/years. Students should furnish the correct documentation when applying for a visa and invest the necessary time and effort in their SOP {Statement of Purpose} and financial documentation. A student’s financials and ties to their country of origin play a significant factor during the decision-making process. Students who receive a visa rejection will need to declare this when applying to any country for any visa. If students receive a visa rejection, a full refund of tuition fees will be provided. However, the cost of the student visa will not be refunded. Please note, that some universities may withhold an application fee.

DO STUDENTS HAVE TO PROVIDE PROOF OF FUNDS TO COVER TUITION FEES AND MAINTENANCE COSTS?

Students must demonstrate they have access to the necessary funds to pay for their studies and living expenses. It is common practice for all immigration departments and universities to request documentation to demonstrate how they intend to pay for the following: Tuition fees, Maintenance/living costs & Return flight tickets.

CAN STUDENTS APPLY FOR A POST-STUDY WORK {PSW} VISA FOLLOWING COURSE COMPLETION?

In most cases, students can remain legally in the country for a set {defined} period. The duration of stay back will vary depending on the student’s location, the course studied, and the length of study.

WHAT IS THE COST OF A POST-STUDY WORK VISA?

$85 or $200 for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension.

CAN STUDENTS STUDY ENGLISH PRIOR TO COURSE COMMENCEMENT?

Students can study English before commencing their primary course. This is typically referred to as a “Packaged Offer”. However, students studying pre-sessional English programs are more likely to obtain a visa rejection. The cost of studying English in the United States is considerably more expensive than studying in India.

WHAT ENGLISH TESTS ARE PERMITTED TO MEET VISA & UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS?

The English test is dependent on immigration guidelines and a universities admissions process/requirements. Some universities may accept a “medium of instruction” if a student completes their high school or undergraduate program in English. Students should consult with StudyOverseasNow.com or the university to establish if MOI is accepted. The United States accepts the following tests TOEFL and IELTS.

WHAT IS THE TAX-FREE INCOME ALLOWANCE IN THE UNITED STATES?

All persons residing in the United States are afforded a tax-free allowance. This means students are sheltered from tax up to a certain limit. The amount can change throughout the year and StudyOverseasNow.com advises all students to retain the services of a qualified accountant before lodging their taxes. At present, the tax-free allowance is $12,200 per annum.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE HOURLY PAY IN THE UNITED STATES?

The amount varies depending on location, time of year, and supply vs demand. Students are unlikely to be offered a professional job whilst studying full-time. The rates in the retail and hospitality industry range from $12-15 per hour.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE GRADUATE STARTING SALARY?

The amount will vary significantly based on a student’s qualification level. In addition, pay will differ depending on the skills and area of study. Typically, students graduating from a STEM {science, technology, engineering, and maths} pathway will receive a higher remuneration package than those graduating from other fields. However, the average starting salary in the United States is $50,000.

CAN STUDENTS STUDY PART-TIME?

No. Students are required to study full-time. Failure to comply with this rule could result in a breach of visa conditions and possible deportation.

WHAT IS THE COST OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE AND IS IT MANDATORY?

Students are required to apply for health insurance prior to arrival. Ensuring students have adequate medical provisions will protect against significant costs associated with any medical care required. The average cost of health insurance per annum is $40 – 180 per month.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE?

This varies depending on the credit provided to a student and the area of study. For example, law and engineering are typically longer in duration than an Arts or Business program. However, the average length of an undergraduate degree in the United States is four years.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF A POSTGRADUATE PROGRAM?

This varies depending on the credit provided and the area of study. Students who have completed an honors degree or gained work experience might expect a shorter duration of the study. However, the minimum length of a postgraduate degree in the United States is two years.

WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT FOR A STUDENT VISA OVERSTAY?

Students should notify the immigration department as soon as they become non-compliant from a visa perspective and notify their education provider immediately. Significant penalties apply for visa overstays which include a 3 – 10 year travel ban to the United States.

CAN STUDENTS CHANGE EDUCATION PROVIDERS UPON ARRIVAL?

Ideally, students should be clear on the institution they wish to study at and conduct adequate research prior to acceptance. Any subsequent changes could lead to questioning from immigration officials. However, if students want to change education providers, it’s easy to do and quite common.

WHAT IS THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES?

328 million.

HOW MANY UNIVERSITIES ARE THERE IN THE UNITED STATES?

There are 5,300+ colleges and universities in the United States.

WHAT DOES “CERTIFIED COPIES” MEAN?

A certified copy is an original or photocopy of a document that has been signed, stamped, and/or witnessed by a pre-approved government authority stating its authenticity. Signatures should appear on the front of each page. In most cases, an approved education agent can provide certification.

CAN STUDENTS CLAIM CREDIT FOR PREVIOUS STUDIES?

A student may qualify for credit based on previous studies and/or professional experience. Typically, 50% of a course is the maximum amount of credit students can apply for. Students should be aware that lowering the amount of study time can impact their ability to remain in the United States following course completion.

DO STUDENTS NEED TO ARRANGE ACCOMMODATION PRIOR TO ARRIVAL?

StudyOverseasNow.com recommends all students organize accommodation prior to arrival. Accommodation can be arranged short-term whilst a more long-term option is sought. However, short-term rentals are more expensive and can cause unnecessary stress before course commencement. Please note, that immigration official may request a residential address prior to arrival. If students cannot furnish the necessary documentation this could lead to visa rejection.

ARE THERE HALAL OPTIONS IN RESTAURANTS, SUPERMARKETS AND AT UNIVERSITY?

The United States is a multi-cultural society and people of all faiths and backgrounds coexist peacefully. Students will find options available to them in major cities, and towns. Limited options/choices may exist in rural/regional communities.

ARE STUDENTS REQUIRED TO ATTEND ORIENTATION?

StudyOverseasNow.com recommends all students attend orientation. Orientation is an opportunity to meet with classmates, join clubs and societies and learn key information about the university and area of study. During orientation {O’Week} students can receive help opening a bank account, registering at a doctor’s surgery, and signing up for other important services. Students may find it difficult to integrate if they do not attend orientation or arrive late.

CAN STUDENTS STUDY PART-TIME?

No. Students are required to study full-time. Failure to comply with this rule could result in a breach of visa conditions and possible deportation.

HOW MUCH CASH SHOULD STUDENTS BRING WITH THEM?

Unlike India, most places of business will accept debit/credit cards. StudyOverseasNow.com does not recommend students carry large amounts of cash with them. Money should be deposited in a bank and accessed via card payments. Please note, that Amex cards attract a higher fee and a minimum spend is usually required. If students arrive in the United States with an amount greater than $10,000 in the local currency they have to declare this to an immigration official upon entry.

SHOULD STUDENTS LIVE IN HALLS OF RESIDENCE {HoR}?

Students traveling overseas for the first time would benefit from an HoR experience. Most HoR is situated on-campus making it easier to get to and from class. Students will have the opportunity to join clubs, societies, gyms, and extracurricular events. Most HoR has full-board options available where meals are provided as part of their package. The majority of HoR students find it easy to make friends as they are surrounded by like-minded students in a similar environment. HoR can be a little more expensive than living off-campus; however, students will save time and money on transport and other associated costs.

WHAT IF A STUDENT FAILS A CLASS / UNIT / SUBJECT?

Students will need to retake exam{s}, unit{s} or subject{s} they fail. Students will need to pay for the cost to retake. In addition, the student visa may require extending to clear any backlogs. Students should do everything possible to limit any failures/backlogs. Failing a subject can prove costly and time-consuming. If a student fails too many units/subjects, their student visa may be revoked.

SHOULD THE WEATHER PLAY A FACTOR WHEN LOOKING FOR STUDY OPTIONS?

A student’s primary motive should be their studies and career goals. However, large parts of the United States can register below -20 Celsius during winter months and +30 Celsius during summer months. Students should consider these factors if adverse to extreme weather; be it hot or cold.

ARE STUDENTS GUARANTEED A JOB AND / OR BUSINESS VISA FOLLOWING COURSE COMPLETION?

No. Some universities will help students with internships and have established links with employers; however, no university can guarantee a full-time job or provide business visas. Students hoping to study overseas should be skeptical if they receive information to the contrary

WILL MY QUALIFICATION FROM THE UNITED STATES BE RECOGNISED GLOBALLY?

Yes. Institutions that StudyOverseasNow.com represent will be recognized internationally following course completion. Some programs/areas that require accreditation; for example, law, project management, engineering, and actuary studies are dependent on the university having the appropriate accreditation through an official / designated awarding body. Speak to StudyOverseasNow.com to find out if the university or area of study provides accreditation.

DO INSTITUTIONS ACCEPT THE INDIAN 10+2+3 EDUCATION SYSTEM?

Most countries have postgraduate options available to students who have completed the standard education system in India. Some universities/countries may provide direct entry whilst others offer a postgraduate certificate/diploma. High-ranking universities may request a lengthier undergraduate degree or an internationally recognized high school qualification. Universities may require the completion of a college aptitude test; for example, ACT, GMAT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.

DO STUDENTS NEED TO ATTEND A MEDICAL EXAMINATION?

No students are not required to attend a medical appointment as part of the admissions process; however, some universities may require students to have proof of immunization. This can be done in the US; however, it can be expensive and often cheaper to do whilst in India. Contact the college/university to discuss this further.

DO STUDENTS NEED TO OBTAIN A POLICE CERTIFICATE FOR VISA PURPOSES?

No.

DO STUDENTS NEED TO PROVIDE THEIR BIOMETRIC DETAILS?

Yes, this will be conducted prior to the consular interview.

CAN A STUDENT APPLY FOR A VISA IN THE COUNTRY?

No. StudyOverseasNow.com advises all students to apply for a student visa offshore. Applying onshore as a tourist could lead to questioning from the immigration department as to the nature of such a change.

WHEN CAN STUDENTS ARRIVE IN COUNTRY BEFORE THEIR STUDIES COMMENCE?

Students should arrive no more than 30 days prior to course commencement.

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