If you are on a journey abroad for the pursuit of further education, you will be facing several stops before you reach the final destination. Standardised entrance tests, language proficiency tests, educational and financial documents and the penultimate stop on this journey is your student visa process.
If you are someone who is unaware of the nitigities of applying for a student visa, you've landed at the right place! This blog will make you acquainted with a student visa guide with the minutest details of student visa including information on student visa USA requirements, age limit, cost, and how to get study visa!
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What is a Student Visa?
A visa is essentially a document which allows a person to stay in another country for a specified amount of time. A student visa, thus, is a document permitting a student to stay in another country for educational purposes. At times, the visa also permits the student to stay for some months or years after the education, depending upon various factors.
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Types of Student Visas
So, do you need a student visa to study abroad? Well, not necessarily. For instance, students from the European Union do not require an educational visa to study in a country within the EU. Unless you fit into that category, buckle up and ensure you get a head-start on the international student visa process. There are several kinds of education visa, depending upon the country you wish to pursue your education in.
- The UK, for example, has primarily two kinds of student visas: a short-term and a Tier 4 student visa, which is also referred to as the general student visa. Short term would mean a course of less than 6 months while the Tier 4 tends to studies longer than 6 months.
- In some countries, the type of student visa is determined by your citizenship, educational status and whether you are pursuing a technical education or a non-technical degree.
It is also contingent on whether you are simply an international student or an exchange student. So, step one? Figure out what category you fall into to apply for student visa.
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Requirements to Apply for Student Visa
Requirements fpr a student visa for Indian students vary from a case by case basis. The requirements also vary depending on the country you are applying to, for instance, student visa USA requirements differ from the visa requirements for UK.
Let us move on to briefly discussing major requirements to apply for a study abroad visa:
Primarily, you will need a valid passport. Now, the requirement of its validity would differ from country to country. Some countries require a passport which must be valid even till the end of your course while some do not have that requirement. Furthermore, if you are a travel enthusiast, ensure that your passport has at least two blank pages left for the visa. The rules are as candid as they are important.
Next, you will need an admit letter from the university you are heading to. It must be a document which explicitly confirms your admission to a course at their university.
Language Proficiency Test
Indeed, you want to fit in at the university as well as in the country you are going to, right? Thus, you will essentially need to prove that you are proficient in their native language. If you are planning to head to an English-speaking country, then the most commonly accepted language proficiency tests are TOEFL, IELTS and/or PTE.
- If, however, your pursuit leads you to a country with a different native language, you will need to certify yourself in it. For instance, if you wish to go to Germany for your education, you must be certified with their CEFR Certified Levels.
- Before you register for a language proficiency test, make sure you check their validity in the country you are going to. A plethora of European universities do not accept TOEFL scores for language proficiency tests.
Last, but definitely not the least. Most countries ask for proof that you are financially capable to study in the country as well as manage your living expenses. Some countries provide a specific number for the living expenses while some provide ambiguous guidelines.
So, before you begin the education visa process, make sure you have your finances in order.
When to Apply for a Student Visa?
Alright, then. A question that has definitely popped in your mind: When to apply for a study abroad visa? Should you apply right away after receiving the admit? Maybe. Maybe not.
There is a limit on how early you can apply for an international student visa.
For instance, if you are applying for an F-1 student visa to study in the US, you can apply no earlier than 120 days from the start of your classes. You can get the information from the embassy websites of the country you are targeting. Moreover, you will also find the application forms, required documentation and regulations concerning the student visa process.
If you plan on applying for an educational loan, it is recommended for you to begin your entire student visa application process 6 months before the start of your first semester. So, you would have enough time to manage your finances, loans and subsequently, book a date for the educational visa. In addition to this, there are limited slots available for a visa interview every day, so ensure you book the date well in advance with no chance of risking a missed deadline.
How to Apply for a Student Visa?
Once you have all the documents in place, visit the embassy website to apply for a study abroad visa and fill out the application form carefully. Consider your options and answer the questions meticulously. The application and its answers play a pivotal role in the acceptance/rejection/delay of your educational visa.
- Now, before you submit the application form and the required documents, you will need to pay a Visa Application Fee to book the appointment at the consulate.
- Having submitted the application and booked the appointment, you will need to visit the consulate/embassy and appear for an interview with the Visa Officer.
Student Visa Interview Process
The visa interview questions and their corresponding answers are critically important and they decide the fate of your visa results. The questions are fairly straightforward and are intended to test your capability of living and studying abroad. The visa questions you face will primarily interrogate your finances, the reason for choosing a particular course, your educational and professional background, your plans after the degree in the intended country, possibly your family background and your future goals.
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Post Interview Process for a Student Visa
The result of your visa interview can either be Accepted/Approved. The Visa Officer will keep your passport with him/her and you can collect the stamped passport next day from the OFC Office or they can give you a visa rejection by issuing the Form 214b which is a general letter describing that you are a potential immigrant.
In such an unfortunate event, don’t lose hope and don’t argue with the office. Accept the decision gracefully and move out of the consulate. Your actions post this might influence their decision during the next attempt of the interview.
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So, if you have begun your journey to a university abroad, make sure you have all the requirements at your disposal. The resourcefulness will enhance your time management and will help you move through the educational visa process much quicker. For further student visa guidance you can contact our Yocket Counsellors.
Frequently Asked Questions about International Student Visa
Ques. Is there a difference between visa validity and maximum stay?
Ans. Yes. The validity refers to the date until which the visa is effective. Maximum stay, however, is the maximum number of days you can live in the country at a stretch. A US tourist visa, for instance, is valid for ten years. However, the bearer can stay in the US for no longer than six months at a stretch.
Ques. Can my family come along with me?
Ans. They can, absolutely. But not on a student visa, of course. They can apply for a tourist visa and join you on your journey.
Ques. Can I extend my visa?
Ans. Most countries allow an extension on educational visas. However, there are some conditions you need to meet before you can apply for it. For instance, if you are applying for an extension on an F-1 student visa in the US, you must be a full-time student and not have missed more than five months of classes.
Ques. What is the student visa fee?
Ans. The cost of student visa fees differs from country to country. Some countries ask for extra documentation with its fees. USA asks for a SEVIS fees of $350 and a visa application fees of $160. It is recommended to check the embassy websites for more information.
Ques. How to get study visa?
Ans. Student visa for Indian students is easy to get hold of, you need to do the following:
- Fill an application form
- Pay the SEVIS fee
- Fill the I-20 form
- Submit documents
- Give the visa interview
- Wait for the result