'You must . . . study for at least part of your time in the USA' for an F-1 Visa

By David North on May 2, 2011

There's an interesting difference between U.S. government rules on the F-1 visa for foreign students and how those rules are described by the visa middlemen in India.

According to USCIS, "you must be enrolled as a full-time student" at the institution.

According to Y-Axis, a visa broker in India, you must "be willing to study at least part of your time in the USA."

The USCIS website says "you must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study."

Y-Axis puts a different spin on those rules, saying you must "possess sufficient funds to support yourself for the first three months in the USA – estimated at $12,000. You don't need to use this, but it is recommended to have this to settle in the US when you first land."

Y-Axis adds that you must have a "bank statement from your sponsor showing at least $15,000. This is for visa purposes only."

In other words, Y-Axis does not regard it as a meaningful requirement.

This organization calls the F-1 visa the "USA Work Study Visa."

What are the names of the universities on the Y-Axis list? Well, you may not have heard of many of them. There are, and we are quoting exactly, these institutions.

Northwest Christian
University of Advancing Technology
Aristotal University
California Mid-Land University
American College of Commerce And Technology

There are several Lincoln Universities, but they do not tell which one. There is an Aristotle University, but no Aristotal University. Several of these are for-profit institutions.

As I looked at the websites of several of these institutions, I found this comment from a happy customer at Coleman who wrote: "If your [sic] unemployed like me you can get $5,000 toward your tuition from EDD/WIA [presumably federal funds not available to aliens]. Once you get an email from Coleman you can sign up for DreamSpark by MS software and get a load of software for free. This is a different program then [sic] what the school offers."

One would hope that ICE agents in the U.S. would notice that these institutions are linked with this visa middleman.

Getting back to Y-Axis, while the fees to be charged to the would-be student total only $500, one wonders if the universities do not pay fees to the Indian corporation as well; that would make sense in such a business, but the web site is silent on this matter.

The fees to be paid by the students are for "guarantee admission," presumably to one of the listed institutions, but not for a guaranteed visa. Further, the fees are not refundable.

For the fee you are offered some coaching, so that your answers to the embassy officials will not hurt your cause.

Since India profits from its continuing export of its college graduates it is unlikely that the State Department could get India to crack down on these visa middlemen.