Studying abroad is an expensive affair. In order to put yourself on a solid footing, it is really important that you start your financial planning well in advance. It requires you to formulate an effective strategy taking into consideration factors like living expenses, tuition fees, visa fees, fluctuating exchange rate, your lifestyle and incidental expenses pertaining to the host country. Actual costs will also vary with the institution and the program.
Your academic credentials, unfortunately, are not the sole deciding factor for you to get the Visa. The US government wants to make sure that you have sufficient funds to sponsor your education for the intended period of stay before issuing a visa. Your liquid asset balance and financial firmness are important factors and will play a crucial role in getting the much coveted stamp on the passport. Applicants for the F-1 visa must make sure that they have adequate funds to cover all the expenditures for the first year of study including the for visa. So, keep reading as this blog will help you ensure meticulous financial planning in terms of the cost of visa.
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Expenses Incurred for a Visa Application
The total expenses for a visa application cumulatively involve the following:
- Visa application cost
- Immigration health surcharge
- Evidence of finances
- Certain fixed amount of money for visa in bank account covering tuition fees + living expenses for at least one year
Managing the Cost for Visa
Expenses or money for visa can be in terms of showcasing funds, and applying for the actual visa itself. Not just the application fees, but specific evidence pertaining to funds required are equally important as the cost for visa.
Given below are the ways you can financially plan your visa application:
Overseas education aspirants must start their planning for admission a year in advance. This gives them sufficient time not only to look for ways to fund their education but also give them ample time to clear mandatory exams like GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT and TOEFL, IELTS specific to the university.
Parents on the other hand must plan and start putting money in the bank assiduously so that there is no last minute rush. Visa officers have discerning eyes and will be easily able to gauge the actual reason behind abruptly bloated account balance as a proof of money for visa.
Calculation of Liquid Assets
Any form of asset that can be freely and readily converted into cash within 7 days or less is considered a liquid asset. Liquid asset includes savings account, fixed deposits, equity and mutual funds, withdrawal portion of your provident fund, life insurance policy surrender value, investment in precious metals, etc. Gold (not in all forms though) also comes under liquid asset (with some caveats) and one has to get an evaluation certificate from a government approved valuer.
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Research on Alternate Ways to Fund your Overseas Education
Once you have a fair idea of the fund required versus your liquid assets, you can start looking for ways to raise money from alternate sources and cover the gap. You can think of applying for scholarships, fellowships and fee waivers. Several universities are extending financial aid to international students essentially based on their academic credentials. Some universities offer assistantships too. The sum and kind of assistance offered differs from university to university and also depends on the department you are applying for. Most prestigious universities have their own Scholarship service panel which decide on scholarship to be provided – either merit based or need based.
Once you identify the gap between funds available and funds required to pursue your study abroad, you can approach trusted banks for education loans. Many banks are happily extending flexible repayment options, tax benefits and free insurance cover with foreign education loans. They not only provide varied collateral options but also make the application process swift and stress free. Speedy sanction and disbursal of money sometimes even directly to the university makes life easy for the student.
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Banks are increasingly coming up with favourable interest rates for students going to top notch universities. Employability is a major factor that they would want to consider before disbursing a loan. Banks might also want to check the credit history of parents and make sure that there are no defaults against their name. While the bank wants to ensure timely repayment, students too must do a thorough comparative study of the loan options available and their financial consequences.
Higher study abroad is a wonderful privilege and a licence to an academically and professionally rewarding life. Right financial planning and money management makes it a delightful experience that pays off immeasurably. The cost for visa can be easily managed with a lot of available funds for both students and parents. You can even connect with our Yocket Counsellors to know more about visa fees, and other expenses related to studying abroad!