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I'm a US citizen who applied for graduate school in Italy this year. I was accepted, but am deferring my enrollment till next year and working this year because I know I won't be able to meet the Means of Subsistence requirement for a student visa in the Schengen countries.

According to schengenvisainfo.com, you can prove this Means of Subsistence through,

A personal bank statement indicating your financial movements (for at least 3 last months), Credit card, Cash, Traveller’s cheques, Pay slips, Proof of employment, Supporting document to attest sponsor’s readiness to cover your expenses during your stay, Proof of prepaid accommodation, Document about accommodation in private, Proof of prepaid transport, Other

In talking about my target country, Italy, they only list the required amount of euros necessary in the bank statement. In my case, I would be staying for two years, the length of the graduate program, and so I fall under the category of,

For Stays over 20 days: The overall amount is 206.58€/person and 118.79€/ two and more persons, plus the daily amount is 27.89€/person and 17,04/ two and more persons.

So if I add that up, and I do hope I'm wrong here, it would come out to me needing (206.58€ + 27.89€ x 730days) 20,566.28€ or $24,538.45 USD in a bank statement. I'm not totally broke, but I'm far from that. I'm going to be teaching English in China for the next year and I definitely won't be able to save up that much money within that time either.

Main question: Do you actually need to prove you have that much money for a two year student visa before going to Italy? And to what extent could you offset lacking that much money by securing an English teaching job beforehand (what I see to be my most plausible solution)?

Relevant questions: What have other people who've applied for a similar visa used to prove they meet the Means of Subsistence requirement? As well, what's been the lowest amount of money you've had listed on your bank statement when submitting for such a visa and not had your application denied?

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