It’s that time of year when students have received acceptance letters from their colleges and universities. Once they’ve narrowed down their schools and confirmed admissions, the next step is to apply for a F-1 international student visa to get government authorization to study in the US.
If you are one of these students, then it is important to know about the proof of funds requirement that you’ll be asked when you visit your local US embassy. All prospective foreign students are required to demonstrate that they have the financial capability to support him or herself while studying in the US. This includes covering tuition and fees, living expenses, and any dependents – without working during your studies.
To meet the Proof of Funds requirement for your F-1 visa, you will either need to present proof of funds for yourself, or do so through a sponsorship (such as a relative financially backing your education). It is important that you check directly with the consulate as this may vary by country and agency, but here are some general considerations and documents you should bring during your visit.
Proof of liquid assets. The consulate will want to see that you are able to cover your education and living expenses. While there are generally no specific documents that prove this, there are some commonly used documents that help support proof of funds including:
- Original tax returns from the last three years (Form 16)
- Three years of bank records and/or fixed deposit statements of your sponsor (which can also be your parent)
- Pay slips, employment letters
- Chartered accountant statements
- Scholarships (which should be indicated on your I-20)
- Property documents
The US government is concerned more with liquid assets such as savings accounts and checking accounts since they want to ensure that you have easy access to these funds. Investments with fluctuating values and property deeds are not generally recommended as proof of funds. The embassy is looking to see that you have immediate funds to cover the first year costs of your education, and that you’ll have access to funds for the following years needed to complete your degree.
Additionally, it is important that all of your documents are original, in English (or an official translation attached), and official. Your bank documents should be on bank letterhead with the name of the account holder, account number, and the total amount of funds indicated on the forms.
Sponsorship. If you are planning to study in the US but do not have sufficient funds, you can have a sponsor support you instead. Many international students have a sponsor, such as a family member, to help cover their educational expenses. Sponsors can be located inside or outside the US:
- If the student is sponsored by a US citizen, they would need to complete the I-134 Affidavit of Support Form that requires the sponsor to cover any expenses that the student cannot afford.
- If the student is sponsored with funds outside the US, then the embassy would check to see if there are any fund transfer restrictions from the specified country. If there are any restrictions, the student must be equipped with evidence that the student will be able to access these funds during the period of study.
The final determination of sufficient proof of funds is determined by the consulate or embassy. Even if you provide these documents they can still deny the student visa. Be sure to check with your school and consulate to make sure you have all the proper forms necessary when arriving for your F-1 student visa interview.