A master’s degree is a graduate degree earned after completion of an undergraduate degree (BA or BS). Typically it requires about 30-36 credits of coursework and takes 2 years of full-time study.
Master of Science is typically awarded in the field of sciences, engineering, and medicine. Some universities offer the degree for postgraduate studies in social sciences and management as well in subjects like Finance, Marketing, Economics, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management and more.
Students who want to pursue research to gain in-depth knowledge in the field of their interest can apply for Ph.D. programs. A full-time Ph.D. program in the USA will take 5-6 years to complete with thesis and projects.
Eligibility Criteria for MS Program in the USA:
MS aspirants may wonder what exams do I have to take for studying in USA? Primarily there are two entrance exams to qualify:
GRE general has modules in GRE verbal reasoning, GRE quantitative reasoning and GRE analytical writing and GRE subject test gauges knowledge of a particular field of study like Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.
Usually, if a student has a score in the range of 310-320, it is considered to be a good one. However top universities need at least330+ scores.
Both TOEFL exam and IELTS exam have 4 modules which are reading, listening, speaking and writing. The minimum score requirements are 6.5 overall, 80+. However, for top US universities, TOEFL required is more than 100 and 7.5 overall for IELTS.
Apart from these entrance exam scores, to apply for an MS course student requires academic transcripts, letters of reference, and an essay or statement of purpose stating why you want to pursue the degree will have to be submitted along with the applications.
Know more about Entry Requirements for USA Universities.
Intake & Application Deadlines
US universities have three intakes throughout the year-Fall, Spring and Summer. However, Fall and Spring are considered to be major ones as very few colleges offer summer intakes.
- Fall semester starts in September
- Spring semester starts in January
Most US universities offer Fall intake with a higher number of scholarships and financial aids aimed for this semester.
The deadlines for each intake are usually 3-4 months prior before the start date hence, it is recommended to apply early. The ideal time to begin applications is 9-12 months prior to the intake. US universities generally take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.
Know more about the Upcoming Intakes to Study in USA.
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MS Course Duration in USA
Duration for MS is generally for 1.5 – 2 years, which is preferred by most students. There are some MEng, MIS programs offered for one year.
The tuition fee in the Unites States will primarily vary on the type of college and course one is enrolled in, study duration and college location.
On an average fee range for Cost of Education in USA for the full program (Tuition plus Living)
- Average Tuition: US $ 25,000-60,000
- Average Living: US $ 10,000-12,000
There are both internal and external scholarships for international students in USA available on a merit basis. Some of the external scholarships are InlaksShivdasani Foundation Scholarships, Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, and American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship.
Quick Facts to Know
15 or 16 years of Education for Application
Most of the US universities will ask for 16 years of education to be eligible to apply for an MS degree in the USA. However, over a period of time for specific courses many US universities have altered their policy and have started accepting 15 years of education like Dartmouth (Tuck), Fuqua (Duke), Southern California (Marshall), MIT, Cornell (Johnson) to name a few. It is recommended to check with individual universities for more details.
Most of the top-ranking colleges in USA will have leading industry experts to train their students. Nobel prize winners, market leaders from various industries and other distinguished achievers are regularly invited to interact and train students, to make most out of the program.
Starting test preparation too late– Even if your academic scores are high flying, you still need to give enough time to prepare and practice for the standardised tests such as GMAT/GRE/TOEFL/IELTS. It is with sustained practice one gets comfortable with the test pattern and timing. Monitoring one’s progress and giving time to learn useful tips and tricks is vital for success.
Not researching enough– Students should do thorough research before deciding on the universities/colleges they want to apply to. Along with past academic and professional performance financial needs should be taken into account.
International students may find it hard to obtain financial aids such as grants and scholarships, but they are available on a merit basis, especially for graduate-level programs. Researching on eligibility, supporting documents required and deadlines ahead of time will prove beneficial. Gathering information on all the universities/colleges can be a daunting task. Our counsellors can help with the right information.
Too short or long essays– One should be aware that the essay section in the application is for the admission panel to understand more about a student beyond her/his academic scores. The essay section is an opportunity for aspiring students to highlight their interest in a particular subject and stream through their strengths and achievements beyond studies, e.g. extracurricular activities. Giving generic or exaggerated information may lead to rejection. Therefore, writing an authentic and grammatically correct essay is crucial for an application to be considered.
Why Choose USA for MS?
The USA is the leading study abroad destination for STEM-related courses, let’s take a look at what makes it a preferred destination for international students:
Enhanced Course Structure
The programs are designed to create a fine balance between the theoretical aspect and practical knowledge of a subject. Unlike India where theoretical knowledge is emphasized on, courses abroad focus more on applied knowledge. The curriculum is designed to give students ample time to focus on research and assignments.
Focus on Real-World Knowledge
Most of the US universities and colleges have strong industry networks and partnerships that give students opportunities to work on the latest technologies and attend workshops with leading industry experts while pursuing their course. This is to ensure the knowledge gained by students is current, which can be used by them for projects and further research.
Universities regularly organise subject-related events and contests for students to participate. Such events provide a platform for students to think innovatively and teach them how to work under pressure and in a competitive environment.
High Ranking Institutes and Wide Range of Courses
Most of the top-ranking institutes offering world-class MS degrees are in the USA. Universities in the US, especially in the field of medical, technology and engineering are renowned internationally and the degree offered by them is valued globally. They offer a far wider range of subjects to specialise in and research.
Prepares for a Global Career
Studying in the US prepares students for an international career. College campuses in the US have a rich ethnic diversity. The multi-cultural environment helps students learn the value of diversity, racial, gender equality and acquire skills to foster cross-ethnic relationships. With technology advancing quicker than ever in a global economic set-up, irrespective of the field, a wide range of knowledge and agility is a skill sought after by employers everywhere.
Popular Fields of Study in MS
MS in Computer Science with specialisation Human-Computer Interaction, Information Management, and Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Computer and Network Security, Robotics, Computer Vision, & Graphics Research Area and so on.
MS in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Systems, Controls, & Robotics, Intelligent Robotics, Artificial Intelligence Research Area
MS in Nuclear Engineering comprises applied science, nuclear power systems design, and radiation physics. Students can specialize in probabilistic risk assessment, reactor safety, or space nuclear power. Graduate Nuclear Engineering courses include Applied Health Physics, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Radioactive Waste Management and Remediation, and Reactor Kinetics.
MS in Game Design focuses on user experience research, production, and design. In the course, students learn about software engineering, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, animation, software architecture, and networking.
MS in Life Sciences with specialisation subjects like Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship, Bioprocessing and Bioenergy.
MS in Food Studies with a focus on food systems, food economies, and sustainable livelihoods and environments.
MS in Agricultural Engineering with a focus on studying how to execute engineering solutions for feed, fibre, and food production problems and/or postharvest processing problems.
MS in Human Resources with specialization in Human Resource Management, Employment Relations/Industrial Relations, Organization Development
MS in Finance focuses on financial theories, quantitative models, and industry practices.
Other fields include Architecture, Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Education, Molecular Biology and more.
Top Institutes for MS in USA
According to the 2021 Times, Higher Education World University Rankings following are the top institutes for science-related programs in the USA:
Princeton University is also one of the world’s foremost research universities with connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 winners of the National Medal of Science and five recipients of the National Humanities Medal.
California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has six academic divisions with a strong emphasis on science and technology teaching and research. It has a high research output and alongside many high-quality facilities, both on campus and globally. This includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, and the International Observatory Network.
Stanford University is one of the largest campuses in the United States with 18 interdisciplinary research institutes such as School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Graduate School of Education; School of Engineering; School of Humanities and Sciences; Law School; and School of Medicine.
Harvard University situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts campus has 12 degree-granting schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The private Ivy League institution has impressive alumni of 45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prizewinners.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is currently organized into five different schools: architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts, and social sciences, management and science. Scientific discoveries and technological advances accredited to MIT include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers.
Average Median Salaries for MS Graduates
Master of Science in Computer Science
Designation: Software Developer
Median Salary: $103,560
Master of Engineering Management
Designation: Architectural and Engineering Manager
Median Salary: $137,720/year
Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering
Designation: Petroleum Engineer
Median Salary: $132,280/year
Master of Science in Healthcare Management
Designation: Health Manager
Median Salary: $98,350/year
Master of Science in Nursing
Designation: Nurse Anesthetist
Median Salary: $165,120/year
Designation: Nurse Practitioner
Median Salary: $103,880/year
Master of Science in Finance
Designation: Financial Manager
Median Salary: $125,080/year
Median Salary: $101,560/year
Designation: Financial Advisor
Median Salary: $90,640/year
Top Industries to Choose
- Financial services
- Life Sciences
- Consumer products and services
- Logistics and transportation
- Business products and services
Some of the top companies that take MS graduates
- Alsaka Air
- General Motors
- UnitedHealth Group
Know more about the Job Opportunities for International Students in USA.
Post Study Work Right Options
F1-visa will allow students to stay for 60 days after a degree in the USA, students have to apply for one of the following visas:
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- H-1B visa
Optional Practical Training (OPT) refers to temporary employment for students relating to their field of study. Eligible students can receive up to 12 months of OPT employment.
Post-completion OPT: Students can apply for this option after completing their studies. Those who are authorized for post-completion OPT can work either part-time or full-time. OPT allows students to stay and work in the United States for 12 months.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students get an opportunity to apply for a 24-month extension on their post-completion OPT, provided they have been granted the initial 12-month post-completion OPT and are in the valid period of OPT.
The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. An F-1 student visa can be transferred to an H-1B visa if one’s US employer is willing to sponsor. With an H-1B visa, one can live and work for up to 6 years in the US.
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Scholarships for MS in USA for Indian Students
Scholarships are well-known in the USA, and many international students benefit from them. Numerous international students benefit from the USA’s scholarship programs. Students can avail different types of scholarships like:
- Merit-based scholarship
- Country-specific scholarship
- Private Scholarship
- University Scholarship
- Government Scholarship
Merit-based Scholarship: This type of bursary is generally offered to students who are having exceptional academic performance. This may range from 11,500 USD to 47,000 USD.
Private Scholarship: Some privately owned businesses and donors are offering some popular scholarships that include Fulbright commission, Civil leadership awards, The Next Gen scholarship, etc.,
University Scholarship: Leading universities are offering a wide range of financial aid to international students. Some of them are appreciated and even celebrated by people mainly for their scholarship schemes that include the University of Oregon, Lowa State University, Emory University, etc.,
Government Scholarships: Popular bursaries are offered by the USA government that includes Aga Khan Foundation international scholarship, American association of university of women, PEO international peace scholarship, etc.
Eligibility and Exams Requirements for MS in the USA
Anyone can pursue higher education in the USA, they should meet the basic requirements. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind to meet the basic exam requirements if you want to pursue your MS from USA:
- Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in the respective field with the minimum score of 3.0 – 3.5, which is equivalent to 80 – 89%
- English language proficiency tests scores will be taken into account
- 16 years of previous education will be considered to study MS in the USA
- GRE scores are primarily important in which you need to score above 300
- Minimum IELTS Score – 6.5
- Minimum TOEFL Score- 79
How To Select University For MS in USA?
Some useful points to keep in Mind if you want to select a University for doing your Masters from USA:
- University Rankings
- Cost of Education
- Placement and Job Opportunities
Requirements for Admission in MS in USA
- Application Fee Payment
- Letter Of Recommendation
- GRE/TOEFL/GMAT/IELTS Score
- Bachelor’s Degree Certificate
- SSC/10th OR Equivalent Certificate
- 12th / Intermediate Certificate
- SOP (Statement of Purpose)
- Bank Statement
- Photocopies of your first and last page of your passport
- Copies and proofs of all your other activities, interests and engagements
How to Apply for Scholarship for MS in US?
- You should stick to the deadlines when applying for MS scholarships. A lot of people who wish for scholarships fail to plan them early and later miss the opportunity as no scholarships are left.
- In many cases, colleges have two different deadlines for applying for admission and scholarships. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, plan well in advance and look carefully for the deadlines.
- There are plenty of scholarships made available for students applying globally, each with its very own qualification criteria and necessities. Only if you meet the necessities, you can apply for a scholarship. Go through the requirements of scholarship at your target colleges and see if you meet the qualification criteria.
- Most of the US universities only consider your undergraduate – B.Tech or BE degree – marks. Some Universities might ask for your 11th and 12th-grade scores, but very few actually consider those scores while deciding.
Documents Required for US Student Visa
When you are applying for your student visa you need to prepare these few things beforehand:
- A passport with a validity for at least six months beyond your course tenure in the US (unless exempt by country specific agreements)
- Non-immigrant visa application and the Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Acceptance at a SEVP approved school and your Form I-20
- Application fee payment for the SEVIS
- Your photograph as per the requested format, and number
Some Additional Documents that Might be Asked for your USA Student Visa
- Academic documents such as transcripts, diplomas, degrees or certificates
- Evidence of having sufficient funds
- Bank statements
- Financial undertaking by a sponsor to cover your accommodation and living costs
- A scholarship program
- Assurance that you will leave the US once you have completed your course of study. This can be through an air ticket from the USA to your home country
Entrance Exams Cost for MS in USA for Indian Students
The tests required to study in the US must be completed before you can move to the US to pursue your MS degree. Examples include IELTS, TOEFL, and GRE. Costs vary according to the exam you choose to take. Although the difference is not very large, certain exams are less expensive than others.
|Test Name||Registration Cost (INR)|
Application Cost of MS in USA for Indian Students
Universities require students to pay an application processing fee in order to apply for admission to US Universities. In most cases, the application fee is non-refundable and can range from 3,700 INR (50 USD) to 12,000 INR (150 USD).
When a student applies to graduate school, they usually apply to 3 to 5 schools. Therefore, the cost of your total admission may exceed 22,000. In addition, some universities in the US require students to submit a hard copy of their application materials. In this case, you have to spend additional charges on the courier. Postal packets are capped at around 10,000 INR.
You may need to add another amount if you are applying for master’s courses like architecture, fine arts, etc. Slide room fees cover the cost of submitting your portfolios. Well varying as per the number of portfolios involved, the cap around this is 5,000-10,000 INR.
Student Visa Cost of USA for Indian Students
Once you have received the Form I-20 from your university in the US stating that your place at the university has been confirmed you need to apply for a visa. Indian students heading to the US mainly apply for the F-1 or the J-1 student visa.
The SEVIS fees or F1 visa fees add on another 25,000 INR (~360 USD) to your expense to travel to the US. This is the only one-time expense that can not be excluded at all or cut down on.
Applying for your student visa for the USA includes not only a high application fee but also includes the hassle of going through a stringent requirements process.
(SEVIS fee for the J-1 student visa is 16,720 INR)
Overall we have already added some up to 80,000 and we are yet to take off for the USA. This gets us to another major component of the costs of MS in US for Indian students, which is the airfare.
Cheap Universities to Study MS in USA for Indian Students
|Budget University||Tuition Fees|
|Alabama State University||14.22 lakhs|
|University of Minnesota||21.20 lakhs|
|Florida State University||15.90 lakhs|
|Purdue University||10.88 lakhs|
Though these are the tuition fees involved for pursuing MS in the USA, these may vary depending on the assistantships, scholarships or other funding aids that you may receive.
|Housing Expense||70,000- 1,48,000|
|Food Expenses||2,200-3,000/ meal|
|Travel Expenses||7,398- 22,194|
|Health Insurance||33,000- 51,000|
|Miscellaneous Expenses||22,000- 44,00|
Postgraduate Opportunities in the USA – What’s on offer for 2023
There are over 4,300 universities and other higher education providers in the USA. Only around 1,700 of them offer Masters-level degrees (which narrows things down slightly). But there’s still a huge variety of institutions to choose from.
American graduate programs are world-renowned for their comprehensive approach to postgraduate education, combining enhanced subject knowledge and research opportunities with the development of a suite of transferrable skill.
Here are some of the best reasons to consider a Masters in America this year:
International Outlook: America is by far the most popular destination for international students, and with good reason – its institutions offer an unparalleled breadth of qualifications to choose from.
World-class Universities: American institutions dominate the global rankings for universities – out of the top 50 in Times Higher Education’s league, 23 are based in the US. Find out more about postgraduate rankings in the USA.
Funding Opportunities: It’s true that Masters in America won’t necessarily be cheap, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of funding opportunities for talented overseas students.
What’s it like to Study a Masters Degree in the USA?
A Masters degree at an American university usually takes around 2 years of full-time study to complete (though some of the courses are shorter). This is longer than in some other countries (such as the UK) but reflects the greater emphasis on structured training and regular assessment on a US graduate programme. Day to day experience will depend on the type of graduate programme you enrol on and what its intended outcomes are:
- Academic Masters
- Professional Masters
How are US Masters Degrees Assessed and Graded?
Masters Degrees in the USA are basically organised into modules. Some of the subjects will be mandatory and some of them will be elective. Your final grades will be determined by a weighted combination of grades you receive across these individual units (Including basic projects or Internship). It is similar to the system that is used in other higher education systems around the entire world. But the thing that makes the USA unique is its emphasis on continuous assessment and its use of a Grade Point Average (GPA) system.
What is the Application Process for an F-1 Student Visa?
There are several stages to the application for an F1 student visa, but the overall process is very logical
- Be accepted to study at an SEVP approved institution
- Enroll in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
- Complete a Non-immigrant Visa Application online
- Arrange an interview at a US consulate or embassy in your home country
- Pay any additional fees
- Your passport
- Form I-20
- Receipts for fee payments
- Form DS-160
You may also need:
- Proof of financial support
- Academic transcripts
Career Progression with an Academic Masters in the USA
Studying an academic Masters in the USA can be an excellent choice if you intend to continue to a PhD. In fact, the distinction between the two levels of study can be less clear-cut than it might be in other higher education systems.
Some graduate programmers do not specifically enroll the Masters as a terminal degree, but award it to students who reach the appropriate stage of a longer PhD program.
Career Progression with a Professional Masters in the USA
A professional Master’s degree from an American university will prepare you well for a career in appropriate areas of work.
Remember, graduating from a professional Masters program won’t automatically grant you a work permit for employment in America.
If you wish to work in the USA after you graduate you will need to apply for a temporary or permanent visa, as appropriate.
Top Universities for MS in US: GRE Requirements
|University||GRE Score Required|
|University of California, Berkeley||324|
|New York University||310|
|Carnegie Mellon University||316|
|University of Washington||300|
GRE/GMAT Waiver for MS in USA Admissions
- Candidates applying for any MS course in the US University can request for a GRE/GMAT waiver. In turn, applicants must prove their skills in terms of analysis, applying reasoning skills, command over English, quantitative aptitude, etc.
- Less than 14% of students submitted the GMAT score, in comparison to 23% of GRE score submissions.
- GRE is waived by more than 70% of the US universities, willing to pursue an MS in USA. But they must have exceptional research and professional experience.It was recorded for admissions to top B-Schools; out of 12 schools only 5 schools have a prerequisite for GMAT/GRE waiver.
- GMAT is waived usually for online Management courses only, and not for courses offered on-campus.
- A GRE/GMAT waiver can also be requested. It may be granted based on the following factors:
- Good Educational Background with a proof of experience in the field of research, a waiver can then be expected.
- Excellent performance in the previous graduate program.
- A good GPA score in the previous degree.
- Exceptional track record of academic performance.
Popular Job After MS in USA
Work Visas for US
H-1B Visa: This type of work visa is opted by foreign nationals who wish to temporarily work in the US. They must have a degree in specialized courses like Engineering, Computer Science, etc. Around 2 million applicants apply for H1B visas every year.
L-1 Visa: Is offered to those people who are entitled to transfer from one country to the company’s US branch. They are usually trained professionals or employees holding positions of managers, senior executives, etc. Also, they must have at least one year of experience. The US and non-US employers must not be related to the employee in any manner.
The plus benefit of having a L-1A Visa is that the L-1 visa holder’s spouse can work easily in the US. There are different types of L-1visas as well:
- L-1A Visa: This is exclusively for managers and executives. It Has a validity of 7 years.
- L-1B Visa: This visa is for those persons who have specialized knowledge in a certain field. The visa is valid for 5 years.
Work Visa Extension
IF you are a non-immigrant , there is a process which a non-immigrant must follow before requesting for a work visa extension. It is recommended to apply for an extension 45 days prior to the authorized expiration.
- If the applicant was admitted into the US lawfully, with a non-expired non-immigrant visa.
- The applicant has abided by all rules and regulations to maintain his/her status.
- Also, the students have fulfilled the requirements as promised while admitting.
- Passport and visa are valid, and the applicant has not stayed beyond the actual time limit in the US.
Students that are having a J-1 or M-1 visa are allowed to work part-time on-campus. They can work for 20 hours per week. After completing their first year at the university the applicants can seek employment that is specially for Indian students;
- Optional Practical Training: OPT allow international graduate students to work for one year post-degree completion in the US. This helps the students in gaining practical experience in the field of their choice post-graduation.
- Curricular Practical Training: Through CPT, international graduate students can gain professional experience related to their field of study through paid or unpaid internships, co-operative education, etc. Which may prove beneficial for their work-study program?
- Both OPT and CPT cannot be opted together. If an applicant has already opted for CPT he/she cannot opt for OPT at the same time.
MS in USA vs. MS in Canada
In the recent years, Canada has seen a huge increase as most of the Candidates have enrolled in Canada. USA and Canada both countries are counted in the top 5 countries and that’s why there is a tough competition between these 2 countries on quality education and employment opportunities.
|Factor||MS in Canada||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 50 Universities)||7 universities rank||19 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||20,000 USD- 40,000 USD||24,000 USD-60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||10,200 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships (international students)||Government-funded or merit-based||Need-based (very few), merit-based|
|Visa||Permanent visa can be availed||Different types of visas as per requirement- work or study|
|Average Starting Salaries||47,000 USD||52,333 USD|
MS in USA vs MS in UK
The UK is home to 2 oldest and the most renowned universities, Oxford and Cambridge. admissions to Masters in the UK have surged by 3%. Whereas US admissions saw an increase in the applications received for MS courses, and consequently a 6% increase in the acceptance rate was recorded.
|Factor||MS in Canada||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 50 Universities)||4 universities rank||5 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||20,700 USD||24,000 USD-60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||13,100 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships (international students)||Partial tuition fee waivers only||Partial to full tuition fee waivers|
|Visa||Tier 4 study visa Tier 2 work visa||J-1/F-1 study visa H1B work visa|
|Average Starting Salaries||28,000 USD-100,000USD||52,333 USD|
MS in USA vs. MS in Germany
Germany is another most famous country and lies in the top 5 best countries that you can choose to study and fulfill your Dream. Though job opportunities are not widely available, yet students can get their hands on experience through work- study or internships in their desirable technical field.
|Factor||MS in Canada||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 50 Universities)||3 universities rank||28 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||24,000 USD- 30,000 USD||24,000 USD-60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||10,200 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships (international students)||Government, non-government and university-specific||Merit-based for international students|
|Visa||Residence Permit of 18 months||Student visa/work visa|