About USA

You will find this section a useful guide about USA. It give you brief information about Social Custom, Religion, USA Map, Cultural Life etc.

The American calendar is filled with numerous holidays. The following table shows some of the more popular holidays. Important national holidays have been indicated in bold face. Most non-essential government offices will be closed on these days. (Fire, Ambulance and Police are always open.) Banks and post offices also tend to be closed on these days, and many businesses will give their employees the day off.

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Ground Hog Day February 2
Valentine’s Day February 14
President’s Day Third Monday in February
St. Patrick’s Day March 17
April Fool’s Day April 1
Patriots Day Third Monday in April
Good Friday Second Sunday in May
Mother’s Day Second Sunday in May
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Flag Day June 14
Father’s Day Third Sunday in June
Independence Day July 4
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Halloween October 31
Election Day Tuesday after the first Monday in November Federal holiday in years divisible by 4
Veterans Day November 11
Thanksgiving Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day December 25

Several US travel agencies specialize in student, and budget travel, including international travel. These include:

The International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) is the organization that sells the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Their web site includes a list of the more than 6,000 discounts available to holders of the ISIC card and a list of locations worldwide that issue the card. They also provide a home page for the Student Air Travel Association (SATA).

There are also several guides to discount travel on the web. The most popular guides are:

Air Traveler’s Handbook



When you arrive in the US, you will have to go through Customs and Immigration. They will ask you questions about your reason for visiting the US. Your answer should be “Student”. Keep your answers simple and direct. If they want to know the name of the school, tell them the name of the school, without any extra information. If they want more information, they will ask additional questions. For more information see the US Customs Service web site, which includes the brochure Customs Guidelines for Visitors to the United States. Immigration laws can also be found at the US State Department web site.

You may also be asked whether you are bringing in any food. Do not bring any food with you. Food you received on the plane should be left on the plane. It is forbidden to bring perishable foodstuffs, such as fruit, vegetables, and meat, or plants into the US. Also forbidden are articles made from certain protected species of animals.

If you bring in more than US$10,000 in US or foreign currency you must declare the amount to customs upon entering or leaving the country.

If you use medications that contain narcotics or which are administered by syringe, carry a signed prescription from your physician with the medicine.

The following map of the United States of America came from the US Government Information Exchange site, a good source of information about the US government.

Map of US

AK – Alaska AL – Alabama AZ – Arizona AR – Arkansas
CA – California CO – Colorado CT – Connecticut DE – Delaware
FL – Florida GA – Georgia HI – Hawaii ID – Idaho
IL – Illinois IN – Indiana IA – Iowa KS – Kansas
KY – Kentucky KY – Kentucky ME – Maine MD – Maryland
MA – Massachusetts MI – Michigan MN – Minnesota MS – Mississippi
MO – Missouri MT – Montana NE – Nebraska NV – Nevada
NH – New Hampshire NJ – New Jersey NM – New Mexico NY – New York
NC – North Carolina ND – North Dakota OH – Ohio OK – Oklahoma
OR – Oregon PA – Pennsylvania RI – Rhode Island SC – South Carolina
SD – South Dakota TN – Tennessee TX – Texas UT – Utah
VT – Vermont VA – Virginia WA – Washington WV – West Virginia
WI – Wisconsin WY – Wyoming
District of Columbia

There are a lot of shades to life in the US that you can only learn by living there. But,we shall see some of the more important cultural differences


Americans do tend to be more informal than people from other countries. It is common for Americans to wear casual clothing to school and to greet professors by first name. But, good manners and politeness are always appropriate. If you are courteous and polite, and dress a little more formally than your American friends, it will only reflect well on you.

However, there are situations and environments in which formality is the norm. Some businesses require their employees to wear a uniform or a suit. It would be inappropriate to wear a T-shirt and blue jeans to a job interview. Some of the more prestigious restaurants require a coat and tie. Americans tend to dress up for cultural events (the opera, theater and ballet) and to dress down for athletic events. Formal wear is required at weddings and funerals, or any other event with religious overtones.

Forms of Address

American names are written and spoken with the given name first and the family name last. So John Smith’s family name is Smith, not John.

In an informal situation, Americans will introduce each other by first name, without titles, and occasionally by just the last name. If you are introduced to somebody by first name, you can address him or her by first name the next time you meet. The only exception would be for someone who holds an important position, such as the university president. Unless they tell you otherwise, faculty should be addressed using their title and last name (e.g., “Professor Smith”).


Restaurants do not include a service charge in the bill, so you should tip the waiter 15% of the total bill.

Taxi drivers expect to get a tip equal to 15% of the total fare.

Business Visits

Business visits, on the other hand, tend to be extremely punctual. If you arrive late to a business appointment, it will reflect badly on you. So try to arrive on time, or even a little early. If you know that you will be arriving late, you should telephone ahead to let them know of the delay.

Telephone Manners

When you call someone, it is polite to identify yourself.


Most Americans eat three meals during the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast begins between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, lunch between 11:00 am and noon, and dinner between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. On Sundays “brunch” is a combination of breakfast and lunch, typically beginning at 11:00 am. Students often enjoy a “study break” or evening snack around 10:00 or 11:00 pm.

Breakfast and lunch tend to be light meals, with only one course. Dinner is the main meal.


If you wish to give a gift when you leave to return to your home country, the best gift is something that is unique to your country. It does not need to be especially valuable or rare, just reminiscent of your home. Possibilities include a book about your country, an inexpensive handicraft or piece of art, or something else that reflects your culture.

If you owe a debt of deep gratitude to an American host family, a common way of repaying it is to take the family to a form of entertainment, such as a baseball, basketball, or hockey game, the ballet, or to a good restaurant.


Smoking has become socially unacceptable in the US, in part due to the health risks. Smoking is prohibited in government and public buildings, and many businesses, especially restaurants, will not permit smoking on the premises. Those restaurants that permit smoking will usually have a separate section for customers who smoke. Your school probably has a ban on smoking within campus buildings or near building entrances.


In the United States, the number 13 is symbolic of bad luck. Tall office buildings sometimes skip the number 13 when numbering the floors.

The number 7 is symbolic of good luck.

Calendar Dates

In the United States, dates are written as month/day/year. This is the opposite of the British method, in which dates are written day/month/year. So while 4/3/67 would be March 4, 1967 in Europe, it is April 3, 1967 in the United States. It is best to write out dates using the month name in order to avoid confusion.

Time & Temperature

Climate varies considerably across the United States. You will probably need an umbrella, even in Las Vegas or Los Angeles. In the northern cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis you will need cold weather and snow gear. In the southern states, such as California and Florida, summers may be very hot and the winters mild. Depending on the part of the country, temperatures during the summer will run from the 70’s through the 90’s.

No matter where you are in the US, you will probably need a sweater or jacket for part of the year. If you will be living in an area that gets snow, you will need a good winter coat, boots, and gloves. If the coat does not include a hood, you will need a hat that covers your ears. But all this can wait until after you arrive in the US. Clothing is relatively inexpensive in the US, and it may be easier to find appropriate clothing at your destination. Wait until you arrive, and watch what the natives wear.

During Daylight Savings Time clocks are set forward one hour. It begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. The mnemonic “Spring Forward, Fall Back” will help you remember how to set your clocks.

Electronics Equipment

Most electrical outlets in the United States operate with a voltage of 110-120 volts, 60 cycles. If your equipment requires 220 volts, bring a transformer and plug adapter.

Videotapes recorded on foreign VCRs will not necessarily play correctly on American VCRs.

If you are thinking of buying a computer to bring with you, you may wish to wait until after you arrive in the US to get a computer. Computer and software prices are often less expensive in the US, and getting cheaper every day.


The US Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all faiths. You will almost certainly be able to find a church, synagogue, or mosque near school for people of your faith.

International Visitors Council

Your city may have an organization that tries to help international visitors during their stay in the United States and to help familiarize them with American customs. Some of the services typically offered include matching you with a host family who will spend an evening with you, tours of the city, visits to factories and businesses, and social events. They might also offer English lessons and holiday hospitality.

Ask your friends and colleagues whether the city has such an organization, or look in the yellow pages.

Temperatures are most often reported in Fahrenheit, and occasionally also in Celsius. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 and multiply the result by 5/9. The following table lists a few common temperatures:

°F °C Description
212 100 Boiling point of water
98.6 37 Normal body temperature
86 30 Very hot summer day
72 22 Room temperature
68 20 Mild spring day
50 10 Warm winter day
32 0 Freezing point of water
50 10 Warm winter day
32 0 Freezing point of water
20 -7 Very cold winter day

Climate varies considerably across the United States. You will probably need an umbrella, even in Las Vegas or Los Angeles. In the northern cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis you will need cold weather and snow gear. In the southern states, such as California and Florida, summers may be very hot and the winters mild. Depending on the part of the country, temperatures during the summer will run from the 70s through the 90s.

No matter where you are in the US, you will probably need a sweater or jacket for part of the year. If you will be living in an area that gets snow, you will need a good winter coat, boots, and gloves. If the coat does not include a hood, you will need a hat that covers your ears. But all this can wait until after you arrive in the US. Clothing is relatively inexpensive in the US, and it may be easier to find appropriate clothing at your destination. Wait until you arrive, and watch what the natives wear.

The United States has four main time zones: Pacific Standard Time (PST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), Central Standard Time (CST), and Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is 9:00 am in California (PST) it is 10:00 am in Denver (MST), 11:00 am in Chicago (CST), and 12:00 noon in New York (EST). California (CA) is 1 hour ahead of the center of the Alaska (AK). Hawaii is behind California in time. During Standard Time, it is two hours behind California time, and during Pacific Daylight Time, Hawaii is three hours behind California time. Puerto Rico is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, one hour after New York. Guam is fourteen hours after New York. If you are on the east coast of the US and calling someone on the west coast, they are probably still asleep at 9:00 am your time. If you are on the west coast and calling someone on the east coast, they are probably eating dinner at 4:00 pm your time.

If this is your first extended trip to another country, you may be a little nervous. Do not worry! The tips in this section will help make sure you arrive in one piece and with all your luggage.


The following checklist will help you make sure you have not missed anything important.

Money, credit cards, checkbook, traveler’s checks, financial records, PIN codes for your bank cards

Emergency Money (keep US$100 hidden somewhere on your person of an emergency)

Clothing, including shoes, coats, cold weather clothing, and rain gear

Official academic transcripts and English translations

Medical and dental records, including immunization and vaccination records and prescriptions, eyeglasses, insurance records

Marriage certificate and birth certificates of all family members

Passport and plane tickets, Form I-20

National and international driver’s licenses

A list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of key contacts

Books, including a dictionary and phrase book

Academic documents, such as the school’s course catalog and other material you received from the school

You should bring enough money with you to cover your first month’s expenses until you are able to transfer funds from abroad. This will be minimum US $1,500, but probably more (look at your budget to be sure).

Make two xeroxes of any important document. Leave one copy at home, and bring one copy with you, but keep it separate from the originals.

Before You Leave

Before you leave, let the international student advisor know about your travel plans and expected arrival date. Also, give your family members who are staying behind your contact information in the United States.

Attend the US Information Service’s pre-departure orientation session. It will provide a lot of helpful information.

When purchasing your tickets, always ask about APEX (Advance Purchase Excursion) fares, which offer significant discounts for tickets that are purchased several weeks in advance.

Air Travel

Keep in mind that air travel covering more than a few time zones often results in a disorientation called “jetlag”. Your body will initially have trouble adjusting to the time shift. During your flight, avoid caffeine and alcohol, but drink plenty of water. After you arrive at your destination, it is important to go to sleep at the normal time for your destination, and to walk around in the bright morning sunlight after you wake up. Most people take about 3 days to recover from jetlag.

For travel to the US, you should compare the fares on several major international carriers. Sometimes the US airlines are cheaper, and sometimes the major carriers serving your country are cheaper.

The United States still uses the English system of weights and measures. The metric system is available, but people think quarts and inches, not liters and centimeters. The following charts convert between the English and metric systems for the most commonly used measures.

1 inch = 2.54 centimeters (cm) 1 centimeter = 0.39 inches (in)
1 foot = 0.305 meters (m) 1 meter = 3.28 feet (ft) 1 foot = 12 inches
1 yard = 0.914 meters (m) 1 meter = 1.09 yards (yd) 1 yard = 3 feet
1 mile = 1.61 kilometers (km) 1 kilometer = 0.62 miles (mi) 1 mile = 5280 feet
1 ounce = 28.35 grams (g) 11 gram = 0.035 ounces (oz)
1 pound = 0.4536 kilograms (kg) 11 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds (lb) 1 pound = 16 ounces
1 pound = 0.4536 kilograms (kg) 11 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds (lb) 1 pound = 16 ounces
11 gallon = 3.7854 liters (L) 1 liter = 0.2642 gallons (gal) 1 miles/gallon = 0.42514 km/ liter
1 gallon = 4 quarts 1 quart = 2 pints 1 pint = 2 cups
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons 1 teaspoon = 5 ml

Education System In USA

This section takes you through the universities enrolment procedures process step by step. It starts with application procedure right till assistance available and bank loans. It also gives a helpful guide for studying in USA, Credential Evaluation services etc.

Advantages of a US Education

Studying in the United States offers numerous advantages that make it a popular destination for international students. Here are some of the key advantages:

Quality of Education: The United States is home to many world-renowned universities and colleges that offer high-quality education and are often at the forefront of research and innovation in various fields.

Diverse Range of Programs: The U.S. offers a wide variety of academic programs and majors, allowing students to choose from a diverse range of disciplines and tailor their education to their interests and career goals.

Research Opportunities: Many U.S. universities have strong research programs and state-of-the-art facilities, providing students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research and innovation.

Flexibility in Curriculum: The U.S. education system often allows students to design their own academic paths by choosing elective courses and creating a personalized curriculum.

Cultural Diversity: Studying in the U.S. exposes students to a multicultural environment, where they can interact with peers from different backgrounds, learn about various cultures, and broaden their perspectives.

Networking Opportunities: U.S. universities often have extensive alumni networks and connections to industries, providing students with valuable networking opportunities that can benefit their future careers.

English Language Proficiency: Studying in an English-speaking country like the U.S. helps students improve their English language skills, which is important for communication and career advancement in many fields.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The U.S. is known for its entrepreneurial culture and startup ecosystem, making it an attractive destination for students interested in business, technology, and innovation.

Internship and Job Opportunities: Many U.S. universities have strong ties to industries, offering students opportunities for internships, co-op programs, and practical work experience in their chosen fields.

Cultural and Extracurricular Activities: U.S. campuses often have a vibrant student life with various clubs, organizations, and activities that allow students to engage in hobbies, sports, arts, and cultural events.

Scholarships and Financial Aid: While education costs can be high, there are numerous scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available for international students, which can help offset the expenses.

Global Recognition: Degrees from U.S. institutions are widely recognized and respected around the world, which can enhance your career prospects and open doors to opportunities in various countries.

Personal Growth: Studying abroad challenges students to adapt to new environments, become more independent, and develop problem-solving skills that can contribute to personal and professional growth.

Access to Resources: U.S. universities often have extensive libraries, research databases, and other resources that support students' academic endeavors.

It's important to note that while there are many advantages to studying in the U.S., there are also challenges such as adjusting to a new culture, managing finances, and dealing with potential visa and immigration regulations. Before making a decision, it's recommended to thoroughly research and consider your academic and personal goals, as well as the specific details of the universities and programs you're interested in

The US educational experience is the best globally. Many US colleges and universities are known worldwide for the quality of their academic programs. Private institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and public institutions such as University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are familiar to students, educators, and business leaders everywhere. Additionally, to the more well-known institutions, the US has hundreds of other high quality public and private colleges and universities. The depth and breadth of options is amazing.

You will find that a US higher education adds considerable value to your professional development. A US education can enhance your career and prepare you for leadership in your country. It widens your horizons and gives you a variety of perspectives, the latest technology, and state-of-the-art research and training. A degree from a US college or university is a stamp of excellence that marks you for life.

If you are a graduate student, a US education can help you make contacts with colleagues in the US. This may lead to collaborations with leading international researchers after you return to your home country. Even undergraduate students will find a solid network of support because the US is a “melting pot” of diverse cultures and there are more international students in the US than anywhere else. So you will get help not just from the foreign student advisor, but also from people in the local community

With the large number and variety of colleges and universities in the US, you are certain to find one that matches your specific needs.

On the other hand, a US education is extremely expensive. Financial aid is very limited. You may be able to obtain similar training in your own country at a much lesser rate. You will have to balance the cost against the prestige and quality of a US education.

Calendar & Checklist

The following calendar and checklist will help you with your college admissions planning. It begins 24 months (2 years) before your planned enrollment date.

When What
September (24 months) Begin your search for colleges. Visit the nearest educational advising center and the library. Explore college sites on the web. Talk with family, friends, and acquaintances who have studied in the US. Write to 10-15 schools for information
October-November (22-23 months) Start preparing for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests (e.g., GRE, GMAT, or SAT).
December – May (16-21 months) Register for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests.
January (20 months) Choose the schools to which you will apply. Request application materials if you have not already.
March – June (15-18 months) Take the TOEFL and other admissions tests. You must take the tests before November, or you will miss the deadlines at most universities. Taking the tests now gives you a chance to improve your scores by taking them again in October.
May (16 months) Select the teachers you will ask for letters of recommendation.
July (14 months) Read the college applications and backtrack the deadlines to allow enough time to complete them. Remember to allow for delays in the mail. Narrow your list of schools to 10.
August (13 months) Write a draft of your application essays and statement of purpose. Get feedback on it from friends and an English teacher.
September (12 months) If you want to try improving your scores on the TOEFL and other exams, register for a second set of tests.
September (12 months) Ask your teachers to write letters of recommendation for you. Given them the necessary forms and a stamped, addressed envelope.
October (11 months) Complete your essays and application forms, including the financial aid application forms. Airmail them. Ask your schools to send certified copies of your academic transcripts.
October (11 months) Take the TOEFL and other exams again, if required.
November (10 months) Check with your teachers and the school to make sure your recommendations and transcripts have been posted.
December (9 months) Respond promptly to any requests for additional data.
April-May (4-5 months) You will start hearing from colleges. Contact the admissions office if you do not receive anything from them. Accept one school’s offer, and notify them and the others of your choice. Ask the school to send you the I-20 or IAP-64 form. Make permanent accommodation arrangements if you will be staying on-campus, temporary housing arrangements if you will be living off-campus. Apply for a passport if you do not already possess one.
June (3 months) Apply for a visa. Attend pre-departure orientation programs in your country. Make travel arrangements. Plan to arrive at least 15 days before orientation (2 months if you have to take an English course).
July-August(1-2 months) Have a nice trip!

Academic Entrance Examination

All schools require English language exams like Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Persons Test of English (PTe).

Schools may also require tests of general academic preparation, such as the SAT or ACT for Undergraduate and GRE, GMAT for Postgraduate programs.

All of these tests are standardized, multiple choice tests, written in English. If you do not have a high level of English proficiency, you will not do well on these tests, no matter how strong your academic background.

About one month after the examination, your scores will be sent to the institutions you mentioned on the application form. It will take an additional 2 to 4 weeks for you to receive your copy of the score report, so it is best to not wait to see the scores before sending them to the schools to which you have applied.

For more information about the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and other standardized exams, please see below.

Admission Testing

For all Admission Testing related assistance, contact us here


ACT produces and administers the ACT Assessment test. For more information write to American College Test, 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, Iowa 52243-0168 USA.


Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is an entrance exam for admission to undergraduate courses at various international universities and colleges. Indian Universities that are a part of the India Higher Education Global Alliance initiative of the College Board also accept SAT for admission

Educational Testing Services (ETS)

ETS produces and administers several standardized assessments of educational preparation, including the SAT, Achievement Tests, GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL exams. These sites include tutorials and practice questions.

For more information about the TOEFL, visit http://www.toefl.org/ call 1-609-771-7100, fax 1-609-771-7100, write to ETS – TOEFL iBT Registration Office, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, or send email to toefl@ets.org.


The Graduate Management Admission Test is a computer adaptive test intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as a Master of Business Administration program.

Requesting Application Materials

Schools usually have different application materials for international students, so it is important that you identify yourself as an international student when you contact the admissions office.

So possible differences are:

The need to include certified translations of your education credentials

No eligibility for early action and early decision programs

Application requirements and deadlines are usually the same. However, you should allow extra time for applications to arrive, because the international postal system introduces delays. Expect it to take 4 to 6 weeks for you to get a response to inquiries. So allow plenty of time. Get information from web sites and by email and facsimile. You should begin the process at least a year and a half in advance of the application deadline, and no later than August of the year prior to the academic year in which you plan to enroll.

Your initial inquiry should be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate applications, to the Department Chair or Dean of the Graduate School or Director of Graduate Admissions for graduate applications. Your initial inquiry should either include a preliminary application form obtained from the nearest educational advising center, or at least the following information:

Your name, indicating which of your names is your personal or given name and which of your names is your family name. It is helpful if you underline the family name or write it in all capital letters. You should spell your name the way it appears on your passport. When corresponding with a school, it is important to always use the same spelling of your name. If you change the spelling of your name, some of your records might get lost. If some of your documents will contain a different spelling of your name, attach a note giving your name as it will be used on your application form

Your date of birth, written with the month first, followed by the day then the year, using the Gregorian calendar system. Spell out the name of the month instead of using numbers, because date conventions differ from country to country. For example, 4/3/67 is April 3, 1967 in the United States, not March 4

Your mailing Address

Your citizenship and the name of the country issuing your passport

Your marital status and the number of dependents

Your entire education, listed in chronological order, including all secondary schools, colleges, and universities you have attended. Include examination results, grades, and class rank if available

Your intended program of study and the month and year in which you hope to begin studying in the United States

A summary of the total funds you have available to meet your educational and living expenses during each year of study in the United States. Give as much detail as possible, such as the sources of these funds. Otherwise the admissions officers will refuse to issue the certificates you need to request a visa to study in the United States

A list of your TOEFL scores and other admission tests. If you have not yet taken the tests, list the dates on which you are registered to take the tests. Also mention where you studied English and the total number of years of English language study

If you do not provide this information, the school will respond with a preliminary application that requests it. Otherwise, if you meet their preliminary criteria, they will send you a full formal application for admission with instructions.

In addition to completing the application and essays, you will have to provide certified copies of your original educational credentials (diplomas, grade reports, test scores, comprehensive exam scores), certified English translations of these documents, TOEFL exam scores, scores for any required academic entrance examinations, financial information, letters of recommendation from teachers, and the application fee. Put all the items requested, or your application will be considered incomplete. The admissions office will not review your application until it is complete, and the onus is on you to make sure they receive all of the required documents. If a requested document is not available, include a letter stating this and explaining why the document could not be provided.

Following are some detail points which required to prepare the Application

The transcripts of your educational records should be sent directly from your former schools. This is to prevent forgeries and modifications to your transcripts. The admissions office will also want explanations of the grading and class ranking system and descriptions of the courses

Do not send your original documents, since they will not be returned. Copies should be certified with the school’s official seal or by a notary public. English translations, if necessary, should be done by a professional translator and also certified. The translator should not be your relative. Information about professional translators can be found in the credential evaluation section of this site. US embassies and consulates do not certify documents

The application will ask questions about your academic background, your hobbies and extracurricular activities, and your educational and career plans. It will also require your state of purpose essay. The purpose of the essays is partly to see an example of your English writing ability, and partly to provide an opportunity for you to express yourself in a more open format

One of the essays may be a statement of educational purpose. Use this essay to explain why you are pursuing an education in your field, describe your experience and strengths in that field, and outline your plans for the future. Weave the strands of your life together into a tapestry that shows where you have been, where you are now, and where you are heading. Your essay should be cohesive and well-organized. Give specific examples to support any general statements. Edit your essay for spelling and grammatical errors before writing it on the application form

Pay careful attention to the deadlines, and allow enough time for mailing. Submit your completed applications 2 or 3 months before the deadline. Send the applications as early as possible

Keep a copy of everything you send to the admissions office. If your application is lost in transit, this will help you resubmit it

Create a chart showing all the deadlines and important dates, and keep a record of the date you mailed each application. This will help you track your progress. When asking for letters of recommendation, choose teachers who know you well. If a teacher taught you for 2 years, that is better than a teacher who taught you for only 1 year. Ask teachers who will give you a good letter of recommendation

Provide your references with a copy of your completed application or a summary of your qualifications. This will remind them of your skills

The best letters will present a truthful appraisal of your abilities, highlighting both weaknesses and strengths. A letter from a teacher who taught you in a challenging course is more valuable than a letter from a teacher who taught you in an easy class. The purpose of the letter is to evaluate your background, motivation and promise, and not to offer useless praise. When admissions officers get letters from a teacher for several students, praising each of them as the best he has seen in his career as a teacher, they ignore them. The result is a negative mark against the students, not a positive one. It is better to be balanced in presentation, so that the admissions officer can learn to trust a teacher’s opinion over the years

Your teachers will want to mail their recommendations directly to the university. Provide them with a stamped airmail envelope with the correct address, and write your name in the lower left hand corner of the envelope

Applications from international students are increasingly being reviewed in a need-sensitive manner. Competition among international students is tough, most schools can get enough qualified students who do not have financial need. As a general rule, it is still worth applying for financial aid. If you need financial aid and do not apply for it, the school might admit you without offering any aid at all, giving the same result as an outright rejection. Many international students have sent email reporting that they have been offered admission to a US university but do not have enough financial resources to pay for the cost of education, even when the schools provide some financial aid

Once you have submitted your applications, you have to wait for several months before hearing anything. If you do hear anything in that time period, it will usually be a request for additional or missing items

If you are lucky, you will be accepted by multiple institutions. They will send you a letter of admission. Accept one (and only one) of the offers of admission, and confirm your acceptance according to their instructions. You will probably have to write a letter to the admissions office confirming that you will enroll and include a non-refundable deposit of several hundred dollars. They will then send you the form you need to apply for a student visa (Form I-20). If there are any additional forms, submit them in a timely fashion

Once you have accepted one of the offers, send a letter to the other schools declining their offers. Not only is it polite to do so, but it allows them to reallocate the funds they offered you to other applicants

Credential evaluation services provide objective evaluations of the US equivalents of foreign education and work credentials. For example, a credential evaluation service would indicate that the Spanish word bachiller is equal to a US high school diploma, even though the literal translation is bachelor.

Fees for the evaluation of US education credentials mostly range from $50 to $250 per document, contingent on the amount of details required and the response time. Some companies will also translate the documents. Others will require that the documents be accompanied by English translations. There may be extra fees (typically $20 to $50 per page) for document translation services. The student is responsible for paying for the credential evaluation and translation fees.

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is the national professional organization for admissions and credential evaluation. AACRAO also offers their own credential evaluation service.

There is also the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES), a small membership association of private credential evaluation services.

The following table lists credential evaluation services, including all NACES members.

Credential Evaluation Services
Name Description Contact Information
AACRAO Foreign Credential Evaluation Service AACRAO’s own credential evaluation service provides evaluations of educational credentials worldwide AACRAO – Office of International Education Services Foreign Credential Evaluation Service One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036, USA.
Tel: 1-202-296-3359
Email: ies@aacrao.org
for Applied Research Evaluation & Education, Inc. Member of NACES. Center for Applied Research Evaluation & Education, Inc.PO Box 20348Long Beach, CA 90801, USA.
Tel: 1-562-430-1105 Fax: 1-562-430-8215
Email: evalcaree@earthlink.net
E-Valuate E-Valuate provideeducation and work experience credential evaluation for US immigration purposes. E-Valuate13003 New Austin Court, Suite 101Herndon, VA 20171, USA.
Fax: 1-703-709-7783 Email: danand@e-valuate.com
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) ECE gives a variety of credential evaluation services and publishes a Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
series of guides to the educational systems of other countries. Member of NACES PO Box 514070, Milwaukee,
WI 53202-0970, USA.
Tel: 1-414-289-3400
Fax: 1-414-289-3411
Email: eval@ece.org
Education Evaluators International, Inc. Member of NACES. Education Evaluators International, Inc.P.O. Box 5397, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-5397, USA.
Tel: 1-562-431-2187 Fax: 1-562-493-5021
Education International, Inc. Member of NACES. Education International, Inc. 29 Denton RoadWellesley, MA 02181, USA.
Tel: 1-781-235-7425 Fax: 1-781-235-6831 Email: edint@gis.net
Educational Records Evaluation Services (ERES) ERES provides credential evaluation and translation services. Member of NACES. Educational Records Evaluation Service 601 University Avenue Suite 127 Sacramento, CA 95825-6738, USA.
Tel: 1-916-921-0790 Fax: 1-916-921-0793
Email: edu@eres.com
Evaluation Service, Inc. (ESI) Member of NACES. Evaluation Service, Inc.PO Box 85 Hopewell Jct., NY 12533, USA.
Tel: 1-845-223-6455Fax: 1-845-223-6454 Email: esi@frontiernet.net
The Foreign Academic Credentials Service, Inc. Member of NACES. Foreign Academic Credentials Service, Inc., PO Box 400 Glen Carbon, IL 62034, USA.
Tel: 1-618-288-1661
Foreign Credentials Service of America Foreign Credentials Service of America 1910 Justin Lane Austin, TX 78757-2411, USA.
Email: FCSA@jump.net
The Foreign Educational Document Service Member of NACES. The Foreign Educational Document Service, PO Box 4091, Stockton, CA 95204, USA.
Tel: 1-209-948-6589
Foundation for International Services, Inc. Member of NACES. Foundation for International Services, Inc. 19015, North Creek Parkway, #103 Bothell, WA 98011, USA.
Tel: 1-425-487-2245Fax: 1-425-487-1989 Email: fis@mail.com
Global Credential Evaluators, Inc. (GCE) GCE Southwest Global Credential Evaluators, Inc.PO Box 9203, College Station, TX 77842-9203, USA.
Tel: 1-512-528-0908 Fax: 1-512-528-9293
GCE Mid-Atlantic Global Credential Evaluators, Inc.PO Box 36, 28 Westhampton Way Richmond, VA 23173-0036, USA.
Tel: 1-804-639-3660
Email: gce@gcevaluators.com
International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. Member of NACES. International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.109, Barksdale Professional Center Newark, Delaware 19711
Tel: 1-302-737-8715 Fax: 1-302-737-8756
Email: icd@icdel.com
International Education Research Foundation Inc., Credentials Evaluation Service (IERF-CES) Member of NACES. International Education Research Foundation, Inc.Credentials Evaluation Service, PO Box 66940, Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA.
Tel: 1-310-390-6276Fax: 1-310-397-7686 Email: info@ierf.org
Josef Silny & Associates, International Education Consultants Member of NACES. Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
International Education Consultants, 7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173 USA.
Phone: 305.273.1616
Fax: 305.273.1338/Translation Fax: 305.273.1984
Email: info@jsilny.com
Knowledge Company The Knowledge Company
10301 Democracy Lane, Suite 403 Fairfax, VA 22030-2521, USA.
Tel: 1-703-359-3520 Fax: 1-703-359-3523
Email: tkco@knowledgecompany.com
Spantran Educational Services, Inc. Spantran provides credential evaluation and translation services. Member of NACES. Spantran Educational Services, Inc.7211 Regency Square Blvd., Suite 205, Houston, TX 77036-3197, USA.
Tel: 1-713-266-8805
Word Communication International Word Communication International, 4501 N. 12th St.Phoenix, AZ 85014, USA.
Tel: 1-602-265-0678 Fax: 1-602-265-2335
Email: evaluations@earthlink.com
World Education Services (WES) In addition to performing credential evaluation services, WES publishs a newsletter on international education topics, World Education News & Reviews. They also publish a booklet of suggested grade conversions for higher education in 120 countries. Member of NACES. World Education Services PO Box 745, Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0745, USA.
Tel: 1-212-966-6311 or 1-800-WES-3895
Fax: 1-212-966-6395 Email: info@wes.ors

Financial Aid For International Student

US education is very expensive. Tuition, room and board at an undergraduate institution will cost from $15,000 to $40,000 a year, contingent on the school. A graduate education can be even more expensive.

There is very little financial aid for foreign nationals to study in the US, with the possible exception of citizens of Canada and Mexico. Most grants, scholarships, and loans from public and private sources are restricted to US citizens.

As a result, international students will find very little information about financial aid for international students. This site presents more information about financial aid for international students than any other publication. This information originally appeared as part of the FinAid site.

Below you will find a description of how to access what aid is available, and a discussion of some of the problems you may face as you pay for a US education.

Many universities in the United States offer scholarships specifically for international students. These scholarships can vary widely in terms of eligibility criteria and coverage and are purely on the basis of merit. Check the websites of universities you're interested in to see what they offer.

International Education Financial Aid

This site contains a free searchable database of 870 scholarships and awards for international students. Most are restricted to use at specific universities.

Bank Loans are easily available for higher studies anywhere in the world. Loans should be preferably taken from a Nationalised Bank. The term & condition for educational loans may vary from Bank to Bank.


All Professional / Technical job oriented courses offered by reputed Universities.

Loan Amount

Maximum Rs.20 Lakhs.


For Loans up to Rs. 7.5 Lakhs, no collateral security is required.

For Loans above Rs.7.50 Lakhs Collateral Security is required.


Course period + one year or 6 months after getting a job, whichever is earlier. The loan is to be repaid in 5-7 years after commencement of repayment.

Rate of Interest

Government and Private Banks: 8%-10%

Non Banking Financial Institutions: 11%-13%

Upto Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR

Above Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR + 1%*

Documents Required

Loan application

Admission Letter from College/University

Academic documents of the student

Photograph, Residence proof of borrower and guarantor

Covering letter stating sources of owned funds

Fee receipts or proof of payments made

Title Deeds of the ownership property to be mortgaged as security

Copy of passport & Visa, if student is going abroad for higher education and related documents

Income proof of the applicant in the form of last 3 months salary slip/Certificate or copy of the last 3 years IT returns filed with computation details of personal assets & liabilities

Two guarantors with their latest salary Slip / certificate in case guarantor belongs to service class or latest income tax returns filed with the computation of income in case the guarantor is a businessman, professional or self-employed

Simple interest will be calculated during Repayment Holiday / Moratorium period.

Living in USA

You will find this section a useful guide to living in the USA throughout your stay in USA. It explains everything from the basics, such the USA climate, monetary and banking system, to the intricacies of clothing, Travel and Transport etc. It also includes tips on how to stay safe, secure, and healthy.


One of your first jobs after arriving in the United States will be to find a place to live. This section provides you with a few tips to make your search a happy one.

Temporary Accommodations

When you first arrive on campus you will need a place to live while you look for permanent accommodations. Many schools will provide temporary housing for international students who arrive before the semester begins. Ask the foreign student advisor or housing office for information about temporary housing.Another option if you know a student at the school is to ask them to let you stay with them for a few days. New graduate students, can often find someone in their department with room for a temporary guest. You may have to sleep on a couch, but at least you will have a roof over your head. You will also be able to ask questions of someone who is familiar with the area.Most major cities have a Council for International Visitors or similar organization to help incoming international visitors. They can often arrange for you to stay with a local family for a few days, but such arrangements must be made in advance. They also are a good source of information for international students and may provide hospitality and social events. Look for them in the telephone book, or ask at the Traveler’s Aid desk when you arrive. Every major airport, bus station, and train station has a Traveler’s Aid desk. Many cities also have a youth hostel. Hostels are a good place to stay for a few days while you look for a permanent place to live. They provide dormitory style accommodations, sometimes with bunk beds in large rooms. The cost is $5 to $25 a night. You will be able to stay at the youth hostel at low cost if you are a member of the International Youth Hostel Federation. The US branch is called Hosteling International – American Youth Hostels (HI-AYH). A one year membership is $25 ($10 if you are under age 18). For more information, call 1-202-783-6161, fax 1-202-783-6171, or send email to hiayhserv@hiayh.org. Your travel agent should be able to help you become a member. A good source of information about hostels is the Internet Guide to Hosteling. Lastly, you can always stay in a hotel or motel. This is the most expensive option, and you will need to make a reservation with a credit card to guarantee a room. Parking is expensive at hotels, and there is often a large tax on long distance telephone calls placed from your room.

Permanent Accommodations

The available options include renting an apartment, renting a house, or buying a house. Most international students cannot afford to buy a house, so we will not discuss this option. Most university students in the US live on or near campus. Students who live off-campus generally find a place less than a mile or two away. Not only is this convenient for getting to and from campus, but much of the social life occurs on campus. The US educational experience is not confined to the classroom, and you will find yourself learning as much from your fellow students as from the faculty. If the school offers on-campus accommodations for international students, you should seriously consider living on-campus, at least for the first year. Since this is probably your first trip to the United States and your first time living alone, on-campus housing will help soften the transition to life in the United States. Later, when you are more familiar with the neighborhood, you can consider moving off-campus. Renting a house is usually a viable option only if you will be sharing it with several roommates. You will certainly get more for your money if you rent a house. But most communities have limits on the number of unrelated people who can live together, with most cities having a limit ranging from 3 to 5. These laws are intended to prevent overcrowding for health and safety reasons. In any event, the process for renting a house is similar to renting an apartment. The cost of renting an apartment varies considerably depending on the part of the country and the local supply and demand. A one bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh might cost $400 a month while the same apartment in Boston or San Jose will cost $1,200 or more. The school’s housing office or financial aid office can provide you with an estimate of the annual cost of renting an off-campus apartment.

Finding an Apartment

Some schools provide on-campus housing for international students. Most, however, do not. If your college provides on-campus housing for international students, we strongly recommend taking advantage of it, even though the rent may be higher than an off-campus apartment. This will give you time to become familiar with the neighborhood before committing to a lease. Most schools have an off-campus housing office to help students find an apartment. The housing office will have listings of available apartments and information about the neighborhoods near campus. They may provide a bulletin board for students looking for roommates and run social events to help you find a good roommate. They will probably have pamphlets with information about popular restaurants, shopping areas, parks and recreation, and public transportation. The public library will also have information about local neighborhoods. Ask for this information at the reference desk. You should do a few things before you begin your search for an apartment

Ask the housing office and current students which neighborhoods are safe and which should be avoided

Decide whether you want to save by sharing an apartment with a roommate or two

Get a detailed street map for the neighborhoods you are considering. You should be able to buy a map in the college bookstore. Another good source for maps is the AAA (American Automobile Association). AAA maps and guidebooks are free to members, one of many reasons to join the auto club even if you do not drive a car.

Spend a few hours walking around the neighborhood to familiarize yourself with the area. Note the location of grocery stores and restaurants, since your most frequent trips will be to school and to buy food. Also note the location of bus stops and other public transportation. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk a mile and 5 minutes by bike.

When looking for an apartment, ask friends and fellow students if they know of a good apartment. Sometimes they will know someone who is moving out of a good apartment or may be moving themselves. Such good apartments are rarely advertised because they are rented very quickly.

The school may have a bulletin board with apartment listings. The bulletin board may be on a wall near the housing office, on the campus computer. It will include listings from local landlords as well as students looking for someone to sublet or take over their lease.

The local newspaper will also have apartment listings. Buy a copy of the Sunday newspaper. It will have more apartment listings than a mid-week issue of the newspaper. You may be able to buy the Sunday newspaper as early as Saturday afternoon. There may also be a free weekly advertising circular that lists apartments. You can usually find such apartment listings at grocery stores, newsstands, and real estate offices.

The last resort is to contact a real estate agent. You are often better off going through the classified advertisements yourself. Under no circumstances pay for a list of available places, since such lists are often out-dated.

You will probably need to look at only 3 or 4 apartments before you find one that you like and which matches your budget. But if you do not find a good apartment quickly, keep trying.

The best time to start looking for an apartment is the first Sunday in August.

In the US, house numbers tend to be even on one side of the street and odd on the other. Other than that, there is usually no rhyme or reason to the addressing scheme.

Understanding Apartment Listings

Rental costs depend primarily on the size, condition, and location of the apartment, and whether utilities are included. Larger apartments and apartments which are closer to the school or shopping will cost more. The first distinguishing characteristic is the size of the apartment. The different sizes are defined as follows:

Sleeping Room – A sleeping room is a single room, usually furnished, located in a private home, with a shared bedroom and kitchen. This is the least expensive option, but provides little privacy.

Efficiency – An efficiency is a single room with a private bathroom. The room will include a small space that serves as a kitchen and should provide a stove, refrigerator, sink, and cabinet space.

Studio – A studio is somewhat larger than an efficiency, and has a separate kitchen and eating area.

One, Two, or Three Bedroom – Regular apartments include a separate kitchen, bathroom, living room and/or dining room, and the number of bedrooms advertised.

The next important consideration is what is included in the rent and what is not

Utilities – If the advertisement says that utilities are included, that usually means electricity, heat/gas, and water/sewage, but not telephone or cable TV. If the advertisement does not specify any utilities, presume that you will be responsible for paying for them. Heat will cost you an extra $500 to $1,000 a year in the snow belt and electricity a similar amount. If heat is included, this sometimes means that the landlord controls the temperature, not you. Water and sewage fees are usually paid by the landlord, except if you are renting a house.

Furnished or Unfurnished – A furnished apartment will include a bed, chest of drawers or dresser, a couch or sofa, and a dining room table and chairs. A furnished apartment will also include a stove and refrigerator. An unfurnished apartment will include a stove and refrigerator but nothing else. A furnished apartment will cost you an extra $50 a month. You are probably better off renting an unfurnished apartment and buying used furniture. Graduating students often sell their furniture to incoming students. Most apartments are rented unfurnished.

Parking – If you intend to own a car, an apartment that includes a garage or off-street parking is better than one that does not. It is sometimes difficult to find a parking space on the street, especially if many students with cars live nearby

You should also ask whether there are any laundry facilities. In apartment buildings there is usually a coin operated washer and dryer, but not always.

Expect the rent to increase by about 5% per year.

Leases – A lease is a written contract between the tenant (you) and a landlord which allows you to use a dwelling for a specific period of time in exchange for monthly rent payments. The lease outlines the restrictions on the use of the dwelling and the responsibilities of tenant and landlord. A lease is a legal document and should be read carefully before signing.

The lease should specify at least the following:

The amount of the monthly rent and when it should be paid. The lease might mention how the rent will increase in subsequent years. Whether utilities are included in the rent, and if so which ones. Heat and electricity are the most important

The time period covered by the lease, usually one year

Restrictions on the number of unrelated people who may occupy the dwelling

The amount of the security deposit, which must be paid in addition to the first month’s rent when you sign the lease

Restrictions on pets, children, and noise. Many landlords do not permit pets because of the potential for damage and noise. The lease may also contain a provision prohibiting noise from musical instruments, stereo systems, loud parties, and other sources

Landlord responsibilities, such as repairs to heating and plumbing facilities and fire or water damage

A clause about terminating the lease

A clause about eviction proceedings. This clause describes the rights of tenant and landlord should the landlord want to force the tenant out of the property during the term of the lease. The most common reasons for an eviction include failure to pay the rent when due or causing significant damage to the property

If the lease includes a wear and tear clause, this allows the landlord to charge you for repainting the apartment at the end of the lease.

When you pay for the rent and security deposit, get a receipt. Get a separate receipt for the rent and security deposit. It is best to pay the rent by check, and to use a separate check for the security deposit. You will need this at the end of the lease in order to recover your security deposit. To get your security deposit returned when you move out, return the key to the landlord and provide a forwarding address. We recommend sending this by certified mail, return receipt requested, so that you have proof the key and forwarding address were received by the landlord. The landlord then has 30 days to return your deposit or send you a list of the repairs, their actual cost, and any money left in the security deposit.

Moving In Utilities

If the rent does not include utilities, you will have to get the utilities turned on when you move in. The landlord can provide you with the name and telephone numbers of the gas, electric, and telephone companies that service your apartment. They may be able to schedule service over the phone, or they may require you to visit their offices. If you do not have a good credit history, they may require you to pay a security deposit. The security deposit will be refunded (with interest) after one year if your bills are paid promptly.

The gas and electric companies typically provide two payment options. The first requires you to pay the full amount due each month. The other lets you pay an estimated budget amount each month, with any difference being reconciled at the end of the year. Some people find this more convenient, since gas and electricity bills can otherwise vary considerably during the summer and winter months.

Most utilities have programs which allow you to have the monthly bill automatically deducted from your bank account. You still receive a copy of the bill, but save the cost of a stamp to mail in the payment.

US Monetary System

The US Monetary System is a decimal system, with one dollar equal to one hundred cents. One dollar is written as $1 or $1.00. One cent is written as 1¢. One dollar and twenty-five cents would be written as $1.25. Dollar amounts are written with a comma every three digits, so one thousand dollars would be written as $1,000.00. Paper currency is used for amounts of $1 or more, and coins are used for amounts under $1. The most common coins and their dollar equivalencies are as follows:

Coin Value (Cents) Value (Dollars)
Penny 1 cent 0.01 dollars
Nickel 5 cents 0.05 dollars
Dime 5 cents 0.10 dollars
Quarter 25 cents 0.25 dollars
Half Dollar 50 cents 0.50 dollars
Dollar 100 cents 1.00 dollars

Paper currency is most often circulated in the following denominations: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Occasionally you will encounter a $2 bill. The denomination of all currency is clearly marked on the bottom of both sides of the bill, and on all four corners. Some stores will not accept bills larger than a $20

Checking Account

You will need a checking account to pay bills, such as rent and utilities. It is not safe to send cash through the mail. It also is not safe to carry large amounts of cash on your person, so you should pay for most of your purchases using a check or credit card

To open a checking account, visit a bank and ask to open a checking account. You will need to deposit money into the account when you open it. You can deposit cash or traveler’s checks, or arrange for a wire transfer from your home bank (cost around $35). American Express also offers a variety of services that make it easy to withdraw money from your checking account back home. Additional deposits and withdrawals may be made at any time

The bank will ask you for your Social Security Number. If you are exempt from this requirement, fill out an IRS Form W-8, which you can obtain from the bank

If there insufficient funds in your account to cover the check, the check will “bounce” and your account will be overdrawn. This means that the bank will refuse to honor the check and will return it to the depositor. In addition, the bank will charge you a bounced check fee of $15 to $35, so it is important to make sure you always have sufficient funds in your account to cover any outstanding checks

If you want your bank to honor checks even when your account is overdrawn, you must ask for overdraft protection. There is an extra fee for this service, and the amount your account is overdrawn up to a limit is treated like a short-term loan. (You pay interest on the balance due.)

When writing a check, the amount of the check is written twice, once using numerals and once using words. If you were writing a check for $23.35, you would write the words as “Twenty-three and 35/100 dollars”, where the word “and” separates the dollar amount from the cents. You would write $23.00 as “Twenty-three and NO/100 dollars”. Draw a horizontal line through any leftover space, to prevent someone from adding extra digits to the amount

At the end of the month the bank will mail you a statement showing all deposits and withdrawals from your account, as well as the current balance of the account. They will also return to you any cancelled checks. Cancelled checks are checks you wrote that have been processed. They are stamped (cancelled) to indicate that the money has been withdrawn from your account. Cancelled checks should be saved, since they provide proof of payment. This is especially important when you need a receipt of payment, such as for the security deposit on your apartment. You should reconcile the statement against your checkbook to make sure there are no errors

Most banks offer a variety of checking accounts. Some banks will offer a “free” checking account with no monthly service charges if a minimum balance is maintained in the account. Typically the minimum balance is $1,000, although some banks require as little as $500 and some banks as much as $2,500. If your visa allows you to work and you receive a regular paycheck, you may be able to avoid the monthly service charges by having your paycheck direct deposited into the account. Also, certain checking accounts will pay interest if a minimum amount of money is kept in the account. Such accounts are known as “Checking with Interest” or “NOW Accounts”. But the interest rate on these accounts is very low compared with other investments, so you are better off putting your savings elsewhere

When you deposit checks into your account, there is a waiting period of a few days before you can withdraw the money. The length of the waiting period depends on the bank upon which the check is drawn. Local banks will have a shorter waiting period than out-of-town banks. This delay is to protect the bank in case the check bounces

Most checking accounts will include a debit card you can use to withdraw money from your account at any ATM, 24-hours a day. This lets you make deposits, withdrawals, and other transactions at any time, even when the bank is closed. ATM’s are very convenient because they are located throughout the city near shopping areas and sometimes even inside grocery stores. Most people do not carry a lot of cash, because they can get cash from an ATM when they need it. ATM’s limit the amount of your daily withdrawals to a maximum of $300, as a safety measure

If your ATM card is ever stolen, notify the bank immediately. Your liability for a stolen or lost card is limited to $50 if you report the loss promptly

Be careful in selecting an ATM to use, because the bank that owns the ATM can charge a fee in addition to any fees your own bank may charge for ATM withdrawals. So it is best to use your ATM card to withdraw money only from ATM’s owned by your bank. Although you can make withdrawals from almost any ATM, deposits should be made only at your bank’s ATM’s

Some banks offer a debit card that combines the features of an ATM card with a credit card. You can use it like a regular Visa card, except the charges are directly debited from your checking account. This is in contrast to regular credit cards, which provide a grace period of 20 to 25 days for you to pay the bill before interest is charged. On the other hand, it helps avoid the temptation to carry a balance on the card. If you don’t already have a credit card, it is worthwhile because international students sometimes find it difficult to qualify for a credit card after arriving in the US

In recent years, utility companies have started offering direct debit services, where they deduct the monthly bill directly from your checking account. There is no charge for this service, and it saves you the cost of a postage stamp. It is recommended that you sign up for the direct bill payment services offered by the utility companies

All of your bank accounts are insured against loss up to $1,00,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC is a federal agency that protects you against losses caused by bank failure

Most students choose the bank that is most convenient for them. This may be the bank with a branch closest to their home, a bank located adjacent to the grocery store, or a bank near school. Another consideration is the fees charged by the bank (especially for ATM card usage) and the minimum balance required for waiving the monthly service charge

Bank lobby hours typically run from 09:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some banks open as early as 08:00 a.m. or as late as 10:00 a.m. Some banks are open on Saturdays. Very few banks are open on Sunday. Most banks are closed during national holidays

Credit Cards

If you pay for purchases at retail stores using a check, they will want to see some form of identification, such as a driver’s license or a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). A passport can also serve as a photo identification, but it is not wise to advertise that you are an international visitor. Also, checks are only accepted if they are drawn on an in-state bank, so you cannot use them if you travel out of state

Credit cards are such an ingrained part of the American way of life that you will have trouble making certain purchases with anything other than a credit card. If you want to place an order by phone, cash a check, rent a car, or buy airline tickets, you need to have a credit card

So it is better to use a credit card to pay for purchases. But you must take care to pay off your balance in full at the end of the month. Otherwise you will incur interest on the balance. This can considerably increase the balance due

Many international students find it difficult to get a credit card in the US, because they do not have an established credit history. So if you already have a major credit card such as a MasterCard, Visa or American Express, it is a good idea to bring it with you. American banks can check your credit limit on the foreign card, and this may make them more likely to issue you a credit card. Also, if you opened a checking or savings account with a bank that offers credit cards, it may be easier to get a credit card from that bank since you have money on deposit with them

The Bank Rate Monitor and CardTrak web sites also provide information about the least expensive credit cards

The major credit cards in the US are Visa, MasterCard,and American Express, Visa and MasterCard are offered by many banks and financial institutions. American Express is offered by only one financial institution, but are accepted by many businesses

Traveler’s Check

Traveler’s Checks are one of the safest ways to transport money. If the traveler’s checks are lost or stolen, you can easily get them replaced. Do not countersign the checks until you are ready to use them

If you bring traveler’s checks with you to the US, you should bring traveler’s checks that are denominated in US funds. Most businesses will accept US-denominated traveler’s checks. Taxi drivers and bus drivers will not accept traveler’s checks, so you should bring some US currency with you as well

Within the US, you can purchase traveler’s checks from many travel agencies, banks, Thomas Cook, and American Express offices for face value plus a 1% commission. The American Automobile Association (AAA) sells them to members without charging a commission

Aside from the AAA, the three largest sources of traveler’s checks are American Express (1-800-221-7282), Citicorp (1-800-645-6556) and Thomas Cook (1-800-223-9920)

Exchange Rates

Some banks will exchange foreign currency for a fee but no bank, however, will exchange foreign coinage. You can also exchange currency at the airport or at a major hotel. You can also exchange currency through Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange. Call 1-800-287-7362 for the closest location.

Exchange rates are usually printed on the financial pages of the local newspaper. You can also get daily exchange rates from several web sites.

Universal Currency Converter from Xenon Laboratories

It is a good idea to read the advertising circulars that accompany the Sunday newspaper carefully, to familiarize yourself with current prices on a variety of products. This will help you learn to think in dollars, and to distinguish a bargain from a rip-off. It is also helpful to measure the cost of items relative to a common expense, such as the cost of a candy bar or can of Coca Cola. You can use this to get a close feel for the cost of an item. For example, a $5 lunch is inexpensive and a $20 lunch is expensive

International students sometimes run into trouble because of fluctuations in the exchange rate. If your home country’s currency is decreasing in value, it is strongly recommended that you conduct all transactions in the currency of the country in which you will be studying. For example, try to get loans issued in the foreign currency. Otherwise, if the value of your country’s currency drops, you could find that you have much less money than you expected.

Unlike other countries, The United States does not provide socialized medicine. Because medical care can be very expensive, it is important to have health insurance, even if the school does not require it.

General Condition

You will need a checking account to pay bills, such as rent and utilities. It is not safe to send cash through the mail. It also is not safe to carry large amounts of cash on your person, so you should pay for most of your purchases using a check or credit card.

AIDS is as much a problem in the US as in other countries. College students are a particularly high risk group because of unsafe sex practices and unrealistic beliefs about HIV transmission.

Medical Emergencies

If you need an ambulance or emergency medical care, dial 911 on any phone 24 hours a day. You can also dial 0 to reach the operator. They will send an ambulance to transport you to a hospital emergency room. The hospital will need the name of your health insurance company and policy number, so you should always carry your health insurance card with you.

Your school may have a health center on campus for minor health issues. Most such health centers are staffed by a nurse practitioner, with a doctor on campus only one or two days a week. For genuine emergencies, however, you should go directly to a hospital emergency room.

Medical Records

Bring a copy of your medical records with you to the US, including immunization and vaccination records and prescriptions. It is generally a good idea to visit your doctor before you leave for the US. Some schools will require you to complete a physical upon arrival.

Health Insurance

International students should note that in addition to tuition, fees, room and board, and living expenses, they will have to pay for health insurance. US law requires universities to verify that international students on a J-1 visa (and their J-2 dependents) have health insurance before allowing them to enroll. The federal government does not require students on an F-1 visa to have health insurance, but the school may set its own requirements. Many schools require all international students to have health insurance, regardless of the type of visa.

Your school will probably offer a group health insurance program to students who do not have their own health insurance

There are a variety of student health insurance programs that are available to international students

Academic Risk Management offers the International Student Health Insurance Plan. Their plans meet the F-1 and J-1 regulations and are affordable. For more information, call 888-308-7320, fax 817-421-9432.

Student Insurance Division (SID) offers a variety of student health insurance programs, including several that are open to international students. For example, they offer a health insurance program for graduate and professional school students that is endorsed by the NAGPS. For more information, call 1-800-237-0903.

Insurance for Students, Inc.. For more information, call 1-800-356-1235.

Rust and Associates Premier International Health Insurance Plan. For more information, call 1-800-336-0747, fax 1-515-292-7684.

Time Insurance Student Select. For more information, call 1-800-296-6565

Champion Insurance. Champion Insurance provides short and long-term health insurance for full-time students at US colleges and universities, including international students and their dependents, temporary health insurance for recent US graduates, and health insurance for US students for study or travel abroad. For more information, call 1-410-879-4577, fax 1-410-836-7441, write to Champion Insurance, PO Box 1050, Bel Air, Maryland 21014-7050.

CNA Cultural and Educational Exchange International Student Insurance Program

Although it is possible to purchase dental insurance coverage, most schools do not include dental coverage as part of the school’s health insurance program. So you will probably have to pay for any dentist bills yourself. If your school is located near a dental school, the school may offer a low cost dental clinic where dental students treat patients under close supervision of dental professors. If you want to know the locations of nearby dentists, call 1-800-DENTIST (1-800-336-8478).

Finding a Doctor

If you need help finding a doctor, call the campus health center. You should receive a list of local doctors that participate in your health insurance program when you enrolled.

Culture Shock

One consequence of traveling to another country is culture shock. The stress of a new situation, confusion due to language difficulties, and a myriad of small cultural differences add up to culture shock. You might feel depressed, be homesick for your country and family, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and avoid contact with others.

If you experience these symptoms, try talking to someone. Talk to the international student advisor, a friend, the staff at the campus counseling center, or your neighbor. It also helps to participate in social activities. Write a letter to home. Take a walk in the park. Read a book. Watch a movie. Eat a good meal at a fancy restaurant. Visit the museum or an art gallery. Play a game with some friends.

Business Hours

The hours of operation depend on the store, and can vary from city to city. Most stores will open between 09:00 am and 10:00 am and close at 05:00 pm or 06:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Some stores will open as early as 08:00 am and some will close as late as 09:00 am or 10:00 pm.

Banks tend to close at 03:00 pm or 04:00 pm, restaurants at 08:00 pm or 09:00 pm, and bars at 11:00 pm to 01:00 am. Stores in shopping malls keep longer hours, with the typical mall store being open 10:00 am to 09:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and noon to 05:00 pm on Sunday.

When most stores in a shopping area close at 05:00 pm or 06:00 pm weekdays, there will usually be one day a week when they are open late. The day varies from community to community.

Some stores will be open on Saturday. A smaller number of stores will be open on Sunday. Stores with Sunday hours tend to open between 10:00 am and noon, and to close at 05:00 pm or 06:00 pm, even if they are open until 09:00 pm or 10:00 pm the rest of the week.

Large grocery store chains are usually open 24 hours a day, except possibly on Sunday. Some pharmacies will also be open 24 hours.

Sales Tax

There is no national sales tax in the US, but each state has its own sales tax. The sales tax is charged as a percentage surcharge on purchases, and is printed on the receipt. Rates differ from state to state. Rates may even differ within a state. For example, Pennsylvania charges 6% sales tax in (city of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities where the sales tax rate is 7%).

Unprepared food such as groceries is exempt from sales tax, but prepared food purchased in a restaurant is not. Clothing and medicine may also be exempt from sales tax.

Many airports have duty free shopping areas, where sales tax is not charged. This is only worthwhile when you are traveling to a country with a high sales tax rate. The average state sales tax rate in the US is 3%. You can usually find the same items on sale in the US for a lower price, even when sales tax is taken into account.

Saving Money

Major department stores frequently have sales in which merchandise is sold at a discount, anywhere from 5% to 25% off the normal price. Not everything in the store will be on sale. Sale prices are usually advertised in the Sunday newspaper. Stores will use almost any excuse for a sale, such as holidays and end-of-season clearance. The Christmas shopping season officially starts the Friday after Thanks giving, but some stores will offer sales starting the weekend before Thanksgiving. The major department store chains are Sears, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and JC Penney.

Supermarkets are large grocery stores, often part of a chain of stores. It is generally less expensive to shop in a supermarket than in a small local grocery, and the selection is larger. The major grocery store chains advertise their sale prices in circulars that are distributed by mail toward the end of the week, and sometimes as an insert in the Sunday newspaper. The Sunday newspaper will also include collections of manufacturer cents-off coupons which you can clip and give to the cashier to save on purchases. Some supermarkets will double the value of manufacturer coupons. For non-perishable goods, it is worthwhile to stock up when the item goes on sale. The supermarkets may also have their own brands which sell for less than the popular name brands. Some supermarkets have membership cards which the cashier will scan to give you automatic discounts on some items. The supermarkets use the cards to track your purchases, enabling them to better target their promotions.

Discount stores sell name brand merchandise at prices which are less than the prices charged by department stores. The largest discount stores are Wal-Mart, K Mart, For electronic goods you can also go to Circuit City. For computer equipment, you can visit a CompUSA store, but you’ll probably be able to buy it at lower prices by mail order from CDW, PC Connection, or Insight. Micron Electronics and Gateway sell high quality computers through mail order as well. For toys, go to a Toys R Us store. For discount clothing stores, there is, and Marshalls.

Department stores may have a clearance section, where merchandise they no longer stock is being sold at a discount.


All stores will accept US currency. No stores will accept foreign currency. Many stores will accept US-denominated traveler’s checks. Traveler’s checks in foreign currency will be refused.

Most people, however, do not carry around large sums of money. Instead they pay for purchases with a credit card or personal check. Most stores will accept the major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). Even grocery stores are starting to accept credit cards.

The larger department stores will try to encourage you to open a charge account at the store, often by offering a 10% discount on your purchases the day you open the account. Store charge cards work similarly to credit cards,

For more information on credit cards, please see the Money and Banking section of this site.

Paying for Purchase

Clothing stores often have trial rooms. It is strongly recommended that you try on any clothing before buying it, since clothing is tailored differently in the US and clothing sizes are not consistent.

Clothing sometimes uses approximate size measures, such as XS (Extra Small), S (Small), M (Medium), L (Large), and XL (Extra Large). These letters are especially common on T-shirts. Each letter may represent a range of two or three numbered sizes.

Dress sizes depend on both height and figure type. A junior size corresponds to a height between 5’2″ and 5’5″ with a slender figure. A misses size corresponds to a height between 5’5″ and 5’7″ with a well proportioned figure. A women’s size corresponds to a height between 5’5″ and 5’8″ and a fuller and rounder figure.

This section describes the local transportation options available in most cities. Traveling from a foreign country to the United States is discussed in a separate section of this site.

Traveler’s Aid International

Traveler’s Aid International is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to help travelers in need. They have Traveler’s Aid desks at every major airport, bus station, and train station. They do everything from answering traveler’s questions, to serving as a lost and found, to helping the homeless. The Traveler’s Aid web site includes a directory of local Traveler’s Aid societies.


You probably don’t need to own a car during your stay in the United States. A car is certainly convenient, but only cost effective if you use it almost every day. If you live near school, you will find walking, biking, and public transportation to be reasonable alternatives.

If you decide to purchase a car, you can get a 10-year-old used car for $1,000 to $2,000 and a 5-year-old car for $5,000 to $8,000. It will probably need to be repaired frequently, but the total cost will be less than a new car. Used cars are advertised in the classified advertising section of the local newspaper. After you take the car for a test drive, you can usually bargain with the seller, knocking 10% to 15% off the price. If you haven’t previously owned a car, bring along a friend who knows something about cars. You may want to pay a mechanic at the local gas station to inspect the car for you before buying it. An alternative is to buy a used car from a car dealer. Such cars often come with a 90 day guarantee, but cost more than the ones advertised by individuals.

If you want to buy a new car, ask friends about their experiences with different automobiles. Consumer Reports regularly reviews new and used cars, and is one of the few consumer magazines worth subscribing to. You can also read it in the local library.

You can also find new and used cars for sale on the World Wide Web. Some of the more popular web sites include Autobytel, AutoConnect, AutoVantage, AutoWeb, CarSmart, Edmund’s Automobile Buyer’s Guides, and Microsoft CarPoint.

We strongly recommend getting a local driver’s license instead of relying on an international driver’s license. Traffic laws and driving habits in the US differ so much that it is best to take a driving class and get a local license. Some states will require you to get a local license.If you decide to get a local driver’s license, leave your national and international driver’s licenses at home. Otherwise, you will have to turn them in when you receive a local driver’s license.

If you do not already know how to drive a car, you will need to get a Learner’s Permit. This allows you to learn how to drive while a licensed driver is in the car with you. After you have learned how to drive, you will be able to take the driving test. We recommend learning to drive through a driving school.

Driving laws differ somewhat from state to state and considerably from what you are accustomed to. Here is a list of some of the more significant differences.

Speed Limits: Speed limits are designated in Miles Per Hour (MPH), not kilometers. Within cities the speed limit is usually 25 mph (40 kph). Highways have a speed limit of 55 mph (88 kph). Penalties for speeding are severe and can result in higher insurance premiums and license suspension in addition to large fines.

Driving on the right: Unlike the UK, Asia, and Australia, in the United States cars drive on the right side of the road, and steering wheels are located on the left side of the car.

Even if you don’t drive a car, you need to be aware of this rule. As your mother always said, look both ways before crossing the road. Every year a few international students are hit by cars because they step off the curb into the path of oncoming traffic. On most streets cars will be coming from your left, not your right.

Liability Insurance: Most states require you to maintain certain minimum levels of liability insurance on your car in case you are involved in an accident. The insurance covers your liability for damage to the other car and injuries sustained by all people involved in the accident. We strongly recommend getting insurance that covers more than the legal minimums. You can also get collision insurance to cover the cost of fixing your car and comprehensive insurance if the car is stolen, but this is only worthwhile for a new car. If you do not have car insurance, you will not be able to register the car.

International students often find that many insurance companies will not issue them a policy because they do not have a driving history in the state and they also don’t have an existing insurance policy from another state. If you do succeed in getting a policy, it will probably be through the state’s assigned-risk program, which automatically classifies you as a high-risk driver. If you are under age 25 you will also be classified as a high risk driver, especially if you are male. So your premiums will probably be fairly high.

Stop Signs and Yield Signs: You should come to a full and complete stop at both signs and wait until it is safe to continue driving. At a four-way stop, cars may proceed in the order in which they arrived at the intersection. So you should allow the cars which were there when you arrived to go before driving.

Yield to Emergency Vehicles: If an emergency vehicle approaches with sirens and flashing lights, pull over to the side of the road to allow it to pass, even if it is approaching from the other side of the road.

Turn Signals: Automobiles in the US are equipped with turn signals that cause the front and rear lights to blink to indicate an impending turn. The left lights blink to indicate a left turn and the right lights blink to indicate a right turn. It is important to indicate your intention to turn left or right or to change lanes by using the appropriate turn signal at least 25 feet before the turn or lane-change. If you do not use the turn signals, you may cause an accident.

You should become a member of the American Automobile Association (AAA, pronounced “Triple A”). The cost is modest, and they offer numerous services that make it worthwhile. They offer free maps and guidebooks, will transfer a car registration without a notary fee, and provide a free emergency road service, among other services. They also sell American Express traveler’s checks without a commission. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357) for more information.

Some states have unusual driving laws and customs. You should ask a local driver for information about any driving laws and customs that are peculiar to their state.

If a police officer stops you for speeding, pay the fine by mail. Do not try to give the money to the police officer, since bribery is illegal.

Car theft rates in the US are very high, especially in urban areas. Do not leave valuables or packages in sight on the seat, since that may tempt a thief to break the window. Lock valuables in the trunk. Buy a steering wheel lock, such as The Club, and use it whenever you park the car. Don’t leave your driver’s license or wallet in the car, and keep a copy of your license plate number, car registration, and vehicle identification number in your wallet. This will help in case your car is stolen.

In recent years there has been a new type of car theft called carjacking, in which an armed thief steals the car while you are in it. For example, they might steal your car while you are stopped at a red light. To protect yourself from carjacking, keep your doors locked at all times, do not open the windows more than an inch, and avoid driving in bad neighborhoods.

Most schools have a limited supply of parking spaces, with staff and faculty getting priority. Graduate students are next in line, followed by undergraduate students. If you are an undergraduate student, do not count on being able to get a parking space on campus. The annual fee will range from $700 to $1,500, depending on the school.

Most car rental places will not rent you a car unless you are at least 21 years old, and some only if you are 25 years old or older. If you are a member of the AAA, the minimum age sometimes drops to as low as 18 years old. The major rental agencies.For renting a truck, call U-Haul (1-800-GO-UHAUL). Check whether your credit card provides collision and comprehensive insurance when you charge the rental to the card. Between credit card coverage and your own auto insurance policy, you will probably be able to turn down the CDW (collision damage waiver) surcharge.

Petrol is known as gasoline or gas in the United States. Gasoline is much less expensive in the United States. Current prices are around $1.00 a gallon. One US gallon is the equivalent of 3.8.

Taxi Cabs

If you do not live far from school, you may find it less expensive to pay for an occasional taxi than to own a car.

You can find the telephone number for the local taxi dispatcher in the Yellow Pages. Call the dispatcher at least half an hour before you need the cab. It is best to call at least an hour in advance, especially on busy days.

When calling for a taxi, let the dispatcher know if you have a lot of baggage. If you have more than 3 or 4 large bags, ask for a station wagon.

You can also pick up a taxi at the local airport, train station, bus station, and in front of major hotels. It is also possible to hail a cab downtown or on major streets, but you may get a quicker response by calling for a cab. To hail a cab, raise your hand and arm at a 45 degree angle to your head with the index finger (the finger next to the thumb) extended as a taxi approaches. If the cab does not have a passenger and is not traveling to pick up a passenger, it will stop.

Taxi fares are metered in most cities and based on the distance. After an initial “flag down” fee for use of the taxi, the meter will charge a fixed amount per mile, typically $1.00 to $2.00 per mile, depending on the city. There may be extra charges if the taxi driver has to lift your bags for you. It is customary to give the driver a tip equal to 15% of the total fare.

If someone approaches you at the airport or bus station offering to undercut the taxi fares, don’t accept. These are illegal and unsafe. They aren’t licensed by the city and do not have insurance. In some cases international students have taken rides with strangers only to be robbed of their belongings and money, and dumped in a remote location. Only take taxis with identifiable markings (name of the cab company and cab number) and colors (typically yellow) at an official taxi stand.

Many hotels have free or low cost shuttles from the airport. If a hotel is located near the school, this can be an inexpensive alternative to taking a taxi. Such shuttles usually leave on the hour or half hour, but you may need to call upon arrival at the airport to make a reservation.

Bus fares range from $1.00 to $2.00 for a one-zone ride, depending on the city. If you need to change buses, transfers can be purchased for 25 cents in most cities. You give the transfer to the driver on the second bus instead of paying a second fare. Transfers can be used for a return trip, if you will be returning within the time limit. Bus drivers do not carry change, so you will need to bring exact change with you when you get on the bus. Most cities also sell monthly bus passes, which provide you with unlimited travel for a set fee. Bus passes will save you money only if you take the bus every day. Bus passes can usually be purchased from the local grocery store or supermarket.

Some subway systems use tokens or farecards, which are sold at the station. Subway fares may depend on the time of day or the distance traveled. For example, the Metro system in Washington, DC, uses farecards, with higher fares during rush hour.

Some cities have you pay as you get on the bus, some when you get off the bus, and some depend on the time of day. Some will have different rules depending on whether you’re headed inbound or outbound. If the bus driver puts his hand over the pay box as you enter, it means that you should pay when you get off the bus. If you are confused, ask the driver.

Just before the bus reaches your stop, you should alert the driver by activating the “stop requested” signal. Otherwise the driver may skip the stop. You can activate the “stop requested” signal in most buses by pulling on the horizontal wire above the windows. Trolleys do not have such a mechanism because they stop at every station.

Intercity Buses & Trains

If you need to travel from one city to another within the United States, there are four options:


Driving yourself

Intercity bus


Taking a bus or a train is usually much cheaper than taking a plane, and much less stressful. However, it also takes much longer. For every hour of non-stop air travel, the corresponding road trip will take about five hours.

Greyhound offers Ameripass to international visitors for unrestricted travel on Greyhound.

Train travel in the US is not as high quality as in Europe, although it can be more comfortable than traveling by bus. The Amtrak web site includes a list of international sales offices.

Newspapers & Magazines

Every city has one or two daily newspapers. These represent a good source of local information. There may also be several ethnic newspapers specific to the interests of a culture or religion.

There are also a few national newspapers: ,USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Major weekly news magazines include Time, Newsweek, and US News & World Report

Television (TV)

Each US city has a half dozen or so free broadcast television stations. As many as 100 television stations, however, are available from cable TV or satellite TV, depending on the level of service purchased. These stations included specialized stations for news, weather, home and garden, children, sports, science fiction, movies, and everything else possible. They also offer the broadcast stations, but with better reception.

Telephone Services

When you arrange for telephone service, you will have to choose a long distance carrier. The major carriers are AT&T, MCI, and Sprint. You can change the carrier later. After your service is installed, call each of the carriers and ask about their discount calling plans. You will need to be persistent in asking for the discount plan that offers you the greatest savings based on your calling patterns. Remember to mention that you will be making international calls.

The telephone company will ask you how you wish to be listed in the local telephone directory. We suggest asking them to list your full last name but only the initial of your first name. You can also ask to have your number unlisted, but there will be an extra charge for this service.

You will also need to get a telephone. You can get inexpensive telephones from discount stores, department stores, pharmacies, and the ubiquitous Radio Shack store. A basic telephone will cost between $15 and $45. Be sure to get one that provides touch tone service.

Soon after you arrange for telephone service, you will receive free copies of the local telephone directories. The telephone directories are known according to the color of their pages. The White Pages list the telephone numbers of residents, organized alphabetically by name. The Blue Pages, often part of the white pages, contain a list of government telephone numbers. If you need the telephone number for the local immigration office, look in the blue pages. The Yellow Pages contain listings and advertisements for businesses organized both alphabetically and by type of business, product, or service.

The white pages provide instructions for making local, long distance, and international calls. Local telephone numbers have 7 digits. To make a long distance call you need to dial 1, the 3 digit area code, and the seven digit telephone number. To call an international telephone number, dial 011, the country code, the city code, and the telephone number. Omit any leading zeros from the country code. You can find a list of country and city codes in the white pages.

Toll free numbers are like long distance numbers, but with an area code of 800, 888, or 877. Telephone numbers with an area code of 700 or 900 are for pay services and usually involve substantial per minute charges. We recommend asking the telephone company to block access to 700 and 900 numbers on your phone lines.

If you need someone’s telephone number but do not have a telephone book, you can call Directory Assistance for the number. They will ask for the name and city of the listing, and tell you the telephone number. They will charge you for each time you use this service. To reach local directory assistance, dial 555-1212 or 411. To reach long distance directory assistance, dial 1, the area code, and 555-1212. To find the toll free number for a major company, call 1-800-555-1212; there is no charge for this call. There are also several free searchable directories on the world wide web, such as WorldPages and Yahoo People Search.

Payphones charge 25¢ to 35¢ for a one-minute local call. Charges for long distance calls are much higher. Most payphones accept credit cards, either directly or by dialing a toll free number. For example, dial 1-800-CALL-ATT to charge a telephone call using AT&T long distance to your credit card. You may also purchase prepaid phone cards from many businesses, such as grocery stores and gas stations.

To make a collect call (reverse the charges), dial 0 followed by the area code and telephone number. Tell the operator that you are making a collect call. You can also make collect calls by calling 1-800-CALL-ATT (1-800-225-5288) or 1-800-COLLECT (1-800-265-5328).

Telexes can be sent by Western Union. Call 1-800-325-6000 for the nearest location. You can also use Western Union to send money, but the fees are very high. Call 1-800-225-5227 for more information.

Internet Services

Your school may provide dialup numbers that let you access the campus computer network and the Internet from home using a computer with a modem. Otherwise, the telephone company or any of a large number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can provide unlimited Internet access at modem speeds for fees of about $20 a month. Internet service allows you to browse the web and to send and receive email. If your friends and family back home has access to email, sending email can be one of the most cost effective methods of communicating.

Higher speed Internet access is becoming available in many major US cities. There are two main methods of providing high speed access, one using the telephone wiring (ADSL) and one using cable television wiring (cable modems). Both provide high bandwidth incoming and somewhat lower bandwidth outgoing by using the wiring’s underexploited transmission capacity. The incoming bandwidth is at least twenty times faster than modem speeds. Of the two, ADSL is a bit more secure and will ultimately provide higher bandwidth.

Mailing Letters & Shipping Packages

Letters and packages can be mailed using the US Postal Service or one of several private delivery services.

US Postal Services

The US Postal Service delivers letters and packages and sells stamps and postal money orders. They deliver mail both domestically and internationally.

Letters weighing up to 16 ounces with the appropriate postage affixed can be deposited in the blue mailboxes located throughout the city. Mail is removed from these boxes twice daily. You can also mail letters and packages directly from the post office. International letters and packages must be mailed from the post office and must be accompanied by a customs form.

Addressing Mail

When addressing mail for delivery within the United States maintain the zip code.

For more information on addressing mail and other topics, please see the Consumer’s Guide to Postal Services & Products.

If you do not know your address in the US before you leave, mail for you can be sent “General Delivery” to your name at the main post office in your destination city. It is a good idea to write “Hold for 30 Days” on the front of the envelope. General Delivery mail will not be held for more than 30 days. You will need proof of identity, such as a passport, to pick up your mail.

US Post

There are four main types of mail, each with a different set of postage rates:




Parcels and Packages: The cost of mailing a package depends on the weight of the package, the distance mailed, and the class of service. The maximum weight allowed is 70 pounds and the maximum size is 108 inches (length and girth combined). Within the United States packages can be sent by first class mail or parcel post. Parcel post is somewhat slower, but also less expensive. Packages sent by parcel post travel by surface transportation (truck or train) and arrive within 7 to 10 days. Books can also be sent by third class mail (book rate) at a significant discount, but will take much longer to arrive.

Additional information can be obtained at the post office or from the US Postal Service’s Rate Calculators

First Class Mail
United States All Other Destinations(Airmail)
Letters 33¢ for first ounce22¢ for each additional ounce $1.00 for the first ounce40¢ for each additional half ounce
Postcards 20¢ 55¢
Aero grams N/A 50¢

Other Postal Services

Other services offered by the post office include:

Express Mail

Certified Mail

Return Receipt

Insured Mail

Registered Mail

Federal Express (FedEx). FedEx is the world’s largest express transportation company. They are well known for delivering letters overnight, but also deliver packages with guaranteed on-time delivery

United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS is frequently used for shipping packages because they are often less expensive than the US Postal Service, especially for heavy and bulky packages. They are the first choice for shipping by many mail order companies. They also offer guaranteed overnight delivery for letters.

With any of these services, including the US Postal Service, it is important to package fragile items carefully. Insurance will cover damage to the item only if there is visible damage to the outside of the box. Use the four-foot drop rule: the article should be packed so that it can survive a drop of four feet without damage. This means wrapping fragile items in bubble wrap and using Styrofoam packing “peanuts” to cushion the item within the box. Use enough packing material so that the item doesn’t shift or compress the packing material in transit, or the carton may be damaged upon arrival. Paper may be used for wrapping items, but should not be used as filling around the items. If there is more than one fragile item they should be wrapped individually, so that they do not touch each other. You should have at least 2 or 3 inches of packing material around the contents of the box. This will minimize the likelihood of breakage. The carton should be made of sturdy corrugated cardboard, with no string or wrapping paper on the outside of the carton. It is best to ship appliances and electronic items in their original boxes and shipping materials. Use shipping tape, not cellophane or masking tape. Reinforced filament tape is best.

Remove any old shipping labels from the box. Include the origination and destination addresses on both the inside and outside of the box. This is in case the address on the outside of the box gets obliterated.

If you need boxes, many of the delivery services will provide shipping materials for free. If your item doesn’t fit in one of the standard sized boxes, you can buy boxes from any stationery supply store such as Office Max, Office Depot, and Staples. Peanuts, bubble wrap, and other packing materials are also available from these stores. You can also get boxes for free by speaking to the manager of the local grocery store.

An International shipping company in the US is: DHL Worldwide Express

This section describes the Entertainment, Tourist Attractions in US etc.


Major cities often have one or more guidebooks that list the local attractions. It is worth buying a copy of this book. You should be able to find it at local bookstores. The AAA provides free guidebooks for members. The Sunday newspaper will include a section on arts, music, theater, movies, and other forms of entertainment.

Addressing Mail

Many museums and tourist attractions offer discounted admission to students. You will need to show your student identification card. A college ID works fine. You can also get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) for $20. Membership includes a booklet listing available discounts and a 24-hour help-line (1-800-626-2427).

Tourist Attraction

During your stay in the United States, you may wish to do a little touring. The US has a lot to offer the international visitor.

Tourist season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the off season the attractions will not be as crowded and hotels won’t be as full. But some attractions, such as amusement parks, shut down when school is in session.

Some of the more famous attractions for international visitors include:

Niagara Falls

The Smithsonian Institution

Disney World

The Grand Canyon

Yellowstone National Park

Statue of Liberty

Maine Lobster

Mall of America

There are also several cities worth visiting for their rich of museums, culture, events, attractions, and history. They include:

Boston, Massachusetts

Chicago, Illinois

Hollywood, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

Miami, Florida

New York City

San Francisco, California

Washington, DC

Test Requirements For USA

This section provides information about Exam Requirements







Studying Costs In USA

This website provides average costs as a guide. It also provide Financial Planning Worksheet, Source of Financial Aid etc.

When calculating the annual cost of a US education at a particular college or university, add at least $6,000 Approx. to the published cost of tuition, fees, and room and board. The College Board publishes college costs, required admissions tests, and other useful information in The International Student Handbook of US Colleges.

When preparing a budget, you will need to account for the following costs:

Application fees about $75 to $100 per school

Academic entrance examinations will cost you around $150 to $200 per examination, and most students take at least 2 tests. Assume that you will be spending at least $500 on tests

Tuition and fees will cost between $30,000 and $50,000 approx. per academic year (9 months), depending on the type and quality of institution

Books and study materials will cost $ 2000 to $ 4,000 approx. per academic year

Travel costs to the US vary, but will be between $500 and $2,000 Approx. Travel costs within the US will be between $300 and $700 Approx.

Room and Board will cost between $10,000 and $17,500 Approx. annually. Allow an extra $1,000 to $2,000 for vacation periods when the dormitory might be closed

If you will be living off campus, the cost of renting an apartment will be between $300 and $600 a month, but could be much higher contingent on the location of the school. Meals should cost about $2,500 a year, assuming that you do not eat in restaurants too many times

Clothing will cost $500 or more annually

Health insurance will cost $300 to $500 Approx. a year per person, $2,000 to $3,500 Approx. per family

Personal expenses will cost around $2,000 Approx. per year

If you bring other family members with you, assume that your annual expenses will increase about 15% or $5,000 Approx. for each additional family member.

If you wish to buy a car, assume that it will cost you around $4,000 a year.

If you will be traveling during the summer, assume a cost of $50 to $75 Approx. a day for touring. If you will be continuing your education during the summer, add half the figure you calculated for the full year.

Assume that your costs will increase by about 5% per year due to inflation. Do not forget to include an allowance of about 10% to account for changes in exchange rates.

Use the financial planning worksheet to estimate your costs for a year of study in the US. Be realistic when estimating costs for personal expenses.

Financial Planning Worksheet

Format of TOEFL
Expense Estimated Cost
Application and Test Fees $____________
Tuition and Fees $____________
Books $____________
Travel to US $____________
Room and Board $____________
Expenses when school is closed $____________
Clothing $____________
Personal expenses $____________
Health insurance $____________
Summer study or travel $____________
Additional family members $____________
Other $____________
ANNUAL TOTAL $____________
Multiply the total by the number of years in your program (___) $____________

Because sources of financial aid to study in the US are scarce, you will have to be resourceful and explore all possibilities. In addition to the sources listed below, we recommend searching the FastWeb database, because it is free and has good coverage of the awards available for international students.

Help from Your Home Country

One of the best sources of financial aid to study in the US is organizations in your own country. The nearest educational advising center may have information about local sources of support.

Your own government may have financial aid available. (Usually this support requires that you return home after your education is complete.) Contact the cultural section of your embassy or your ministry of education for more information, since there are many awards which require you to be nominated by your government.

There may also be private organizations in your home country that provide support for study in the US.

Aid from International Organizations

Of the few private scholarships for international students, most require that you apply from your home country. If you are already in the US you might not be eligible. So you should search for financial aid prior to arriving in the US.

Some international organizations offer funding for graduate students to study in the US. These include the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), AMIDEAST, the International Maritime Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, the League of Red Cross Societies, the Soros Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the World Council of Churches. These awards are very competitive.

Ful bright scholarships are awarded to about 4,700 graduate students worldwide each year. Applicants are required to take the TOEFL and GRE or GMAT exams. Professional education, such as medical studies, is not eligible. Fulbright students are required to be on J-1 visas for the duration of their sponsorship. For information about applying to the Fulbright Program in your country, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, Fulbright Commission office, or educational advising center. The US Information Agency maintains information about studying in the US, the Fulbright program, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, in the Educational and Cultural Exchange section of their web site, including Fulbright Commission contact information for most countries. For more information, call 1-202-619-4355, fax 1-202-619-6988, write to United States Information Agency, Office of Public Liaison, 301 4th Street, SW, Room 602, Washington, DC 20547, or contact Geebee Education.

Aid from the US Government

Please note that the US government student assistance programs, including the Pell Grant, Stafford and PLUS loans, and work-study programs, are not available to international students.

However aid may be available from the US government for students from specific countries. Your best bet for finding out if there is any financial aid from the US for students from your country is to contact your embassy, the US Department of State, and the US Information Agency. You should also write to the Agency for International Development, Office of International Training, Washington, DC 20523 or contact Geebee Education.

Financial aid for international undergraduate students is extremely rare. Foreign graduate students have significantly more opportunities for financial aid than foreign undergraduate students. The amount of financial aid for foreign graduate students is very limited.

For more information, please see the list of schools with financial aid for international undergraduate students.

Some US schools have direct exchange programs with their counterparts in foreign countries. Such exchange programs often include financial aid for the international student. To find out about these programs, ask your local university.

International students who intend to enroll in a graduate or postdoctoral program at a US University should contact the schools that interest them. Ask the relevant departments and the university’s Financial Aid Office about financial aid for international students. Most support for graduate study in the US by international students is provided by the schools themselves in the form of teaching and research assistant ships. These assistant ships are based on academic merit, not financial need. The school will probably require you to pass the Test of Spoken English (TSE) to qualify for a teaching assistant ship.

Financial aid is not available for English as a Second Language courses, so you should have a TOEFL (iBT) score of at least 105 to qualify for financial aid. If all else is equal, the student with the better English skills will get the financial aid.

Aid from Private US Organizations and Sponsors

There is very little financial aid for international students available from private sources, such as foundations and individual sponsors.

Assistance from Your Family

You may most likely have to rely on your own assets, your parent’s money, and contributions from relatives.

Schools with Financial Aid for International Undergraduate Students

Some US schools are more likely than others to offer financial aid for international undergraduate students. The lists below indicate which schools offer aid (including grants, loans, and jobs) to the largest numbers of international students. The lists are based on a list compiled by Douglas C. Thompson, Associate Vice President for Enrollment, The Culinary Institute of America.

For inclusion, the schools must have an average award that is greater than 1/5 of the cost of attendance. The financial aid may include grants, loans, and jobs, and often includes both merit and need-based awards. Within each group, schools are listed alphabetically.

If a school is not listed here, it probably does not have much financial aid for international students.

Schools with Awards to More than 150 Students
Arizona State University (AZ) Illinois Inst. of Tech. (IL) Ohio Wesleyan Univ. (OH)
Barry University (FL) Liberty Univ. (VA) Princeton (NJ)
Clark Univ. (MA) Louisiana State Univ. Univ. of Bridgeport (CT)
Eastern Michigan Univ. (MI) Macalester College (MN) Univ. of Houston (TX)
Barry University (FL) Macalester College (MN) Univ. of Pennsylvania (PA)
Clark Univ. (MA) Marquette Univ. (WI) Univ. of South Florida (FL)
Grinnell College (IA) MIT (MA)
Harding Univ. (AR) Mount Holyoke College (MA)
Mount Holyoke College (MA)

This section lists a few organizations that may be able to provide some information about financial aid for international students.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

NAFSA: Association of International Educators (previously known as the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs) is the national professional association for international educators. NAFSA promotes international educational exchange between the United States and the rest of the world. In addition to providing information about financial aid for international students, NAFSA’s web site provides information about the organization, electronic news for international educators, and back issues of their quarterly magazine (International Educator). NAFSA also handles the INTER-L mailing list.

For more information, call 1-202-737-3699, fax 1-202-737-3657, write to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 1307 New York Avenue, NW, Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-4701. To order NAFSA publications, call 1-800-836-4994, fax 1-412-741-0609, or write to NAFSA Publications, PO Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143.

Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

CIEE provides assistance with study abroad programs and internships, international student identification cards, student travel services, and English as a second language instruction and testing. For more information, call 1-212-661-1414, fax 1-212-972-3231, or write to Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE), 205 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 or contact Geebee Education.

Institute of International Education (IIE)

Founded in 1919, the IIE is the largest non-profit organization in the US devoted to international exchange. The IIE administers the US Fulbright program and manages more than 250 international education programs. Although the IIE assists the US Information Agency in the administration of the graduate Fulbright Fellowships for study in the United States, international students cannot apply directly to IIE for USIA Fulbright Fellowships. All international students should apply through the Fulbright Commission or US Information Service in their home country. Their site also includes a searchable version of their scholarship books. (The full text is only available to IIE members.)

For more information, write to Institute for International Education, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-3580, call 1-212-883-8200 or 1-212-984-5412, fax 1-212-984-5452, or contact Geebee Education.

Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)

CIES is administratively affiliated with the Institute of International Education and provides assistance with the administration of the Fulbright Program. CIES also administers the NATO Advanced Research Fellowships and Institutional Grants Program. For more information, write to Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden Street, NW, Suite 5L, Washington DC 20008-3009.

International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)

Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International gives grants to university students and teachers to act as “goodwill ambassadors” around the world. The Rotary Foundation also sponsors international exchanges of business and professional people, and provides grants to improve the quality of life around the world. An example of this is their Ambassadorial Scholarship Program. For more information about their programs, write to Rotary Foundation, 1560 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201 or call 1-708-866-3000.

AAUW Education Foundation

The AAUW Education Foundation provides graduate fellowships to women with the equivalent of a Bachelors degree who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. International Fellowships support graduate students writing Ph.D. dissertations and postdoctoral scholars conducting research in the United States. Upon completion of studies, fellowship recipients must return to their native country to pursue a professional career; preference will be given to applicants who can verify that they have a definite job awaiting them. Applications become available from August 1 through November 15. The deadline is December 2 (Airmail). For more information write to AAUW Educational Foundation, Department 60, 2201 N. Dodge St, Iowa City, IA 52243-4030, call 1-319-337-1716, or fax 1-319-337-1204, or write to American Association of University Women, 1111 Sixteenth Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036-4873 or call 1-202-728-7603.

USA Visa

You will need to have a valid passport and a visa in order to enter the USA. Since it can take several months to obtain a passport and all the documentation, start the process as early as you can. This section provides information regarding Passport and Visa, Changing Visa status etc.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your intended stay in the US.

Before leaving for the US, keep a photocopy of the page containing your photograph and passport number. If your passport is lost or stolen, this will make it easier to replace the passport. Keep the photocopy in a safe place, but do not carry it with your passport.

If your passport is lost or stolen, inform your embassy and the police immediately.

Sufficient Financial Resources

To get a F-1 visa approved, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay for the first year of study and that you have resources available to cover the rest of your educational program. For an M-1 or J-1 visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to pay for all tuition and living costs for your complete stay in the US.

The information you provide on the I-20 form (F-1) or DS-2019 form (J-1) will be scrutinized very carefully by both the foreign student advisor at the school and the INS. If you do not have the resources necessary for study in the US, you will not get a visa.

You should know where your money is coming from before you board a plane. Several schools require proof that you have enough money for the entire course of study even for an F-1 visa, because too many international students have to return home after only a year of study.

If your education will be sponsored by a US citizen (e.g., a relative), the relative will need to fill out a Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support). This form requires them to pay your expenses if you cannot. A Form I-134 filed by someone who is not a relative does not count as much as a Form I-134 filed by a relative.

If a student on a F-1 visa is not able to complete their studies by the expiration date on the I-20 form, they must apply to the school’s Foreign Student Advisor for an extension 30 days before expiration. Extensions are normally granted for academic and medical reasons so long as there have been no violations of visa status.

It is possible to transfer schools after arrival on an F-1 visa. You will need to notify your current school of the transfer and obtain an I-20 form from the new school. You will complete the student certification section of the I-20 and must deliver it to the foreign student advisor at the new school within 15 days of beginning attendance at the new school.

If you are changing majors at your current school, you do not need to notify the INS. If you are changing degree programs (e.g., from a bachelors degree to a masters degree program), then, you will need to get a new I-20 and submit it to the foreign student advisor within 15 days of beginning the new program.

If your education will be sponsored by a US citizen (e.g., a relative), the relative will need to fill out a Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support). This form requires them to pay your expenses if you cannot. A Form I-134 filed by someone who is not a relative does not count as much as a Form I-134 filed by a relative.

The B-2 visa (Tourist Visa) is not considered a student visa for full-time study. Studying in the US on a B-2 visa is reason for deportation. Switching from a B-2 visa to a F-1 or J-1 visa after arriving in the US is extremely difficult, and may be grounds for deportation or prosecution for visa fraud. If you intend to enter the US with a B-2 visa and possibly switch later to a F-1 or J-1 visa, be sure to get the visa with a “Prospective Student” stamp on it. You will probably need to supply a copy of a letter of admission before they will grant you a B-2 visa with a “Prospective Student” stamp on it. As a general rule, if you intend to enter the US as a student, you should get a F-1 or J-1 visa. If you decide to change status after arriving in the US, you should wait at least 2 Months to avoid presumptions of visa fraud.

Working in USA

This section gives you details about your Work Permits and Student Work Regulations in UK.


Do not count on being able to scrape up the funding after you arrive in the US. Getting a job is not an effective means of financing an education in the US. There are many restrictions on employment by foreign nationals, and some types of visas prohibit it totally. Most international students are limited to on-campus employment

Even if you are able to find work, you will not be able to get a job that pays well enough to cover all your expenses. The typical on-campus job will pay no more than $1,000 to $2,000 during the school year, and a similar amount during the summer vacation.

If you are studying on an F-1 visa, you may not accept off-campus employment during the first year of study. You may, however, take an on-campus job to fund the bills. You are limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session, provided that you do not displace a US resident. (The test for displacement is whether the position is normally filled by students.) Full time employment is allowed during vacations if you will be returning to school at the end of the vacation period. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) permission is not required to accept on-campus employment, but you must first apply for a Social Security Number and complete a Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility). You may also need to get authorization from the foreign student advisor.

Graduate students who are participating in a cooperative education program are sometimes permitted to work for an off-campus employer who has an educational connection or research contract with the school. The employment must be required for the degree.

After the first year of study, a student on an F-1 visa may ask the INS for permission to accept off-campus employment. Permission is often granted if the student is experiencing severe economic hardship through no fault of their own, such as major currency fluctuations, loss of financial aid, loss or lack of availability of on-campus employment, unusual increases in tuition or living expenses, unexpected financial changes in the student’s source of support, and unexpected medical expenses. The student must be in good academic standing and enrolled as a full-time student, and the foreign student advisor must certify the student’s Form I-538 (Certification by Designated School Official). The student must submit Form I-765 (Application for Temporary Employment Authorization) and filing fee, together with the certified Form I-538 and the student copy of Form I-20, to the INS for work authorization.The employment authorization will be valid for one year.

Students on M-1 visas may not accept any form of employment, except for a temporary internship for practical training purposes.

Working while on a B-2 (Tourist) visa is reason for immediate deportation.

Spouses and dependents of students admitted to the US on M-1, F-1, and J-1 visas may apply for M-2, F-2, and J-2 visas, respectively, in order to accompany the student during their stay in the US. Spouses and dependents of M-1 and F-1 students are not allowed to accept employment or engage in business while in the US. Spouses and dependents of students admitted on a J-1 visa may seek permission to work as a J-2 visitor. Individuals on a M-2, F-2, or J-2 visa will study on a full time or part time basis, but may not receive financial aid.

After you graduate, you might wish to work temporarily in the US. To do so, you will need to obtain H-1B status. Your degree must be in the area of expertise required for the position. You must have an offer of employment from a US employer. The employer must file paperwork to petition for H-1B status for you.

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