Acing the Visa Game

What is a Visa?

Very simply speaking, the visa is an official travel document. It is mainly stamped or glued on the applicant’s passport. There are multiple types of tickets. There is a tourist visa for people who want to go abroad for travel and leisure; there is a student visa for those looking to go to a foreign institution for educational pursuits, business visas, etc.

Student Visas for Study Abroad

Student Visas are issued to applicants whose primary reason for going abroad is for education. However, many legal documents are required for this process. Every country has to abide by its   Immigration Laws. These could be different regarding necessary documents and proof of funds available to all you are permitted to do while in that country. Also, some factors are common to all visa applications. 

When should I apply for a Student Visa?

If you want to study abroad, you need to be a meticulous planner. Students should know university deadlines when preparing their applications and procuring the required documents. Not only are the students required to appear for language proficiency tests, but they also need to have all the documents for a smooth transition. Being proactive and applying for the papers about one to three months in advance is a great idea. Students looking for scholarships and financial aid should start before this stipulated time frame. 

Which visa do I need?

Student Visas are mainly classified into two main categories

Student Visa Classification Based on Duration of the Program

Depending on how long the student’s education program is, destination countries classify student visas into Short Term and Long Term. Short-term visas are issued to those who plan to take a short language course or a diploma certificate course, and the program duration is around three months. Long-term visas are for programs beyond three months. 

Student Visa Classification Based on Classification of Program

Not taking into account the duration of the program, some countries classify student visas basis the type of program the student intends to take up. This can be the degree the student is applying for (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral), whether the applicant is an exchange student, or if he is going to take up a vocational course. 

The FAQs

 1. Where do I start?

One cannot apply for a student visa unless accepted to a course in his target country. Also, the course selected should meet the country’s visa requirements. Student visa acceptance depends upon: 

  • Your country of citizenship
  • Your destination country
  • The course you pick
  • The university you have shortlisted
  • How you plan to fund your education

Remember:

FOR UK: You should have an offer in hand for your chosen program. You must prove that you can understand English (reading, writing, and speaking).

FOR US:  You need to prove that you have permanent residence in the country you are a citizen of. It would help if you also showed that you have the necessary funds to support your education and cost of living. 

FOR AUSTRALIA: You need to show you have sufficient funds to sponsor your education and cost of living, and your application will be assessed based on your chosen program and your country of residence. 

FOR EUROPE: If you are a citizen of a country that is a member of the EU, you do not need a visa. If not, you need to check for specific requirements of specific countries. 

Wherever you choose to study, we advise that you apply for your visa as soon as possible.

 2. Where to apply for my student visa?

UK – Visa Application Centers

Australia – Visa applications are submitted online. Biometric information can be submitted at any center.

For a US Student Visa, you must appear for an interview at the embassy or consulate.

3. What is my student visa?

If you are going abroad for your post-16 education, you will need a general student visa.

  • UK – Tier 4 (General Student) visa.
  • US – F-1 visa.
  • Australia – Depends on your program and your country of citizenship

7. Can I work on my Visa?

Generally, a student visa permits you to work up to 20 hours per week. The rider is you can only start working after your course has started.

8. How long can I stay back on my visa?

As mentioned in your initial visa application, the student visa allows you to stay for the course duration. Depending on your chosen country, you will also be allowed to stay for a short time after your program has commenced, from 60 days to 4 months.

Written by Ms. Anu Chopra – Jitin Chawla Team