Show off your (financial) assets at your visa interview.
One of the many elements of your visa application is to prove that you have enough money to live and study in the USA during your time as a student. If you’re applying for an F-1 visa, you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient financial resources to cover your first year of school and that you have the ability to find ways to cover costs for subsequent years. If you’re applying for a J-1 or M-1 visa, you’ll have to show that you can pay for every year. And you can’t just show a copy of a check you wrote towards tuition – your funds must cover tuition, text books and other supplies, room and board or other living expenses, and travel to and from your home country.
So how do you prove that you won’t be a drain on American resources? There aren’t official requirements, but generally you should provide documents such as bank statements; proof of financial aid and/or scholarships; letters from a sponsor and the I-134 form, completed by your sponsors to agree to support you; or salary information from an employer. Take as many documents as possible to your visa interview, because your math will need to add up correctly – the consular officer interviewing you will know the costs associated with your application based on your completed I-20 form. And you’ll need to start collecting everything a long time before your visa interview, since you’ll need to show original documents. So make sure you contact your bank in advance and check that their printer is working so you have everything ready for your interview.
Also, some schools may have specific requirements for which financial documents are acceptable, and you’ll probably have questions anyway. Contact your school’s international student center to get details about the whole process and to see if they can help.