Since the day I saw my uncle head to USA when I was a kid, I had an aspiration to go there for my own studies. Last year, I got admitted to the University of Texas at Austin and was delighted to have started with living my version of that dream. I soon realized, getting into a university and even getting a scholarship was relatively easier than figuring out the visa application process. For a moment I felt that it was an additional test put up by their immigration authorities for filtering out candidates!
I connected with a ton of students who had been to my about to be and I got a thorough understanding of the visa application process. Here are four pro tips I will give you, that will help you with your visa application process:
I made an error in judgement and thought I will be able to handle the visa application process all by myself. Sure, I could’ve done that had I wanted to; but it would’ve taken me considerably more amount of time and anxiety to get through the process. Also, I started my visa application process after I got admitted. When I say started, I mean I started the research on it quite late. If you get a visa consultant early in the process, you will have a very clear understanding of what you are supposed to finish up by what timeline. In the end, the time you save and the ease with which the process ends will be much more valuable than the minute fee you would pay the consultant.
I got quite a lot of information about the process and about the lifestyle in the country I was about to visit, for almost no extra charges. This was where I got to know about Airport Assistance and even student discount cards.
I trusted my visa consultant. Yet, I would check the immigration website on an everyday basis. I was always on the hunt for any new updates to their policies and processes. By the end of the first week of doing this, I had the process on my finger-tips. That was when the application process started seeming more logical. I have to admit – my visa consultant still had more nuanced knowledge than I did.
No matter how perfect you’re with everything else – the visa application process will take its time. And, guess what, if you get late with filing your papers – the school you have been admitted to with all this grace, will not wait for you to start the lectures. You might miss out on some very valuable initial lectures and networking opportunities. Hence, it is recommended that you start as early as a year before your actual application process and be ready with all the documents you may need. Most consultants don’t charge a fee for the initial consultation to help you understand the process and the documentation. Use this information to your advantage.
This is less advice and more a productivity hack. There are a ton of papers, and many of them are required multiple times, sometimes even in copies. I was never an organized person and I saw it from a mile, that this may turn into a nightmare. Hence, I made a scanned copy of each document and uploaded it on Google Drive. Now, I was prepared with easy access to all the documents, and immune from any slowdown I would’ve caused due to loss of documents. That obviously does not mean you let your documents lose!5