Dr. Voyageur - Travelling in the US and Canada

. Sunday, April 19, 2009

My friend shared this extremely useful link that gives budget travel tips. The website's name is Dr.Voyageur. A must visit for international students who are planning to visit either the States or Canada.

Visa Processing

. Thursday, April 16, 2009

The last few weeks were very hectic as I had officially resigned from my job, and had to pack my bags (and 8 years worth lugguage) and bring it back home. Needless to say, goodbyes are not really my speciality. But now that I am at home, I realised how much more work I have to do. 

Meanwhile, I have applied for the Canadian Student's Visa. The one-stop shop for Visa related details is VFS-Canada

The Canadian Visa processing consists of the following stages:
- Supporting Documents collection by the candidate 
- Application and Passport Submission
- Health Check up request from the High Commission, and resubmission of the passport upon completion of the same.
- Interview (if need arises)
- Receipt of the stamped passport! 

To be honest, I was very concerned about the visa processing, but based on my experience, I can safely state that this is the easiest stage. Once your documents are in place, the visa processing pretty must goes in auto-pilot mode. 

Supporting Documents collection by the candidate
This, by far, is the most rigorous part of the visa application stage. I call it rigorous because it takes about 1 full day to get all your documents in place. Some of the documents that are needed are:
- A CA certificate that evaluates all your (and your sponsor's) assets. This is inclusive of property, monetory savings, investments, education loan, and a host of other assets. For a sample certificate, please email me at g.shivnarayan@gmail.com and I can share a certificate.
- An affidavit that states that your sponsors are willing to sponsor you. Again, email me for a sample.
- Your bank loan sanction letter (if you have applied for an education loan). 
- Family banking records for the past 24 months (bank books and statements, accompanied by bank certificates dated within last three months)
- Income Tax documents for yourself and your parents (for past 2 years) (Form 16s that belong to you and your sponsor).
- Proof of employment from each of your parent's and your employer (salary fund statement, provident funds statement, employment contracts). Please also provide letters of employment from each of your parent's employer, including the company's full name, the address and the telephone number of the employer/supervisor, the length of service and the salary details). Basically, a copy of your offer letter, most recent salary hike / promotion letter, offer letters of previous organizations.
- A copy of the checklist is present in the VFS site.

Application and Passport Submission
The IMM1294B (or the student information form), Personal information form are the two forms that we need to fill. In addition, we have to sign a consent form and a student questionnaire form. The student questionnaire form has a few questions like why you are pursuing the course, why Canada, and what are your career plans. These are questions that can be answered from your SoP / essays. 

Upon submission of the passport, one has to make a payment of about Rs 6000. This includes the consulate charges and VFS charges. Please note that I submitted 2 passport size photographs (2 Inches X 1.5 Inches) along with the first package.

Health Check up request from the High Commission, and resubmission of the passport upon completion of the same
After about a week of submission, I received a letter from the High Commission requesting me to perform a heath checkup. The letter also had my passport attached. The health checkup again consists of three stages: A general health checkup (Height, weight, eyes, medical situation etc), a blood and urine test for HIV and a few other diseases and an X-Ray test. I had to submit 2 passport sized photographs along with their negative. Getting a negative can be a little difficult in this age of digital photography. I had to run to atleast 6 studios and pay a bomb to get a negative. But more on that later. :)

The health checkup was hazzle free. Upon completion of the tests, I resubmitted the passport to the VFS office. Again, I had to fill a form that listed the documents I was submitting. 

Interview (if need arises)
The interview stage is not a mandatory stage. If the High Commission deems it necessary to conduct an interview, then one has to travel to Delhi. So far, none in my batch had to undergo an interview. 

Receipt of the stamped passport
At the time of posting, I have not yet received my stamped passport. But, I understand that the stamping takes about 1 week from the time of re-submission of the passport. Shall update the post with the documents I received with the stamped passport soon.

Loan Documents 101

. Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good news after quite a bit of wait. I have received my loan sanctioned and have applied for my visa. Often, getting the loan documents in place can take much more time than you can imagine.  

In my case, it took 3 weeks from the time of submission. I had applied to the Corporation Bank of India for their education loan. 

Outlined below is the list of documents that one must have in place for applying for a loan in any bank in India. This list might vary from bank to bank, but what I have listed is a possible list of ALL documents that one might need:

1. 2-4 copies of passport size photograph
2. Proof of Identity (passport/PAN card/Driving license etc.)
3. Proof residence (electricity/telephone bill/ration card)
4. Statement of Bank A/c for last six months
5. Exiting loan statement for last six months.
6. Signature verification from the Banker
7. Income Tax Return for last two years (with form 16 for salary person)
8. Balance Sheet for last three years.
9.Last three months salary slips.
10. Details of fund available from family sources for the course.(attach Xerox copies)
11. Statement of Assets & Liabilities.
12 Career Profile/Employment details of the 10 years
13.Sales Tax Registration, Shop Establishment Act Certificate etc.(for Businessman) 

1. Agreement to sale with Builder if first owner
2. Agreement to sale with previous owner if flat is resale. All previous agreement to sale upto first owner & builder.
3. Registration certificate of society.
4. conveyance deed between building society.
5. NOC from society.
6. Share Certificate of society.
7. Latest maintenace charges bill.

1. Two / Four copies of passport size photograph
2. Proof of Identity (passport/PAN card/Driving license/College ID Card etc.)
3. Proof residence (electricity/telephone bill/ration card)
4. Statement of marks: SSC, HSC, FY, SY, TY, Final year  of Degree
5. Degree certificate Graduation, Post Graduation, Diploma
6.Statement of extra curricular activites
7. Copies of letter conferring scolarship, freeship, studentship etc.
8. Documet evidencing the duration of the course & commencement thereof Viz Prospectus or certificate from the competent authority of the institution.
9. Proof of admission to the course (I-20)
10. Schedule of expenses for the course.
11. Copy of the mark sheet of qualifying examinationViz. CAT,TOEFL,GRE,ILTS etc.
12. Statement of Bank A/c for last 12 months through which major transactions are routed (if employed)
13. Signature verification from the banker (if employed)
14. A declaration/ an affidavit confirming that n loans are availed from other banker(if employed )
15. Letter giving reasons if in case of gap in the course of education. 
16. Letter indicating that you have officially resigned from your job.
17. In case of any personal loans, a letter indicating your payment schedule, amount to be repaid and expected months of repayment.

I understand that this list can be quite daunting. Again, this is a comprehensive list of ALL documents I was asked to furnish by most banks. I approached as many as 4 banks (3 nationalized and 1 private banks). Since a loan is almost mandatory for an international education, I would recommend that an MBA aspirant works on getting these documents in place as soon as he/she has applied to a school, rather than wait for the result, and then applying for the loan. Once the documents are in place, upon receipt of the admission offer, the candidate can make his loan processing much easier. In my case, I had exactly 2 months from the time of receiving an admission offer to the course start. Within this space I had to make a decision, apply for loan, visa and book tickets. This can be extremely hectic. 

Lesson learnt was it is never too early to get your documents in place. On the contrary, it would be wise to do so.