How to Get a Student Visa to Study Abroad

How to Get a Student Visa to Study Abroad... each country has its own immigration laws, and they usually vary in terms of required doc...

How to Get a Student Visa to Study Abroad

If you are a student planning to study in a foreign country, chances are you will need a visa to enter the country in which you are going to be a student. Without the right visa, your study abroad dream will be cut short at the border. This article explains everything you need to know about securing a student visa to study abroad.

Studying abroad will allow you to experience the world in your classroom, expand your perspective, and grow a global network of friends and connections that will last for a lifetime. However, obtaining a student visa to study abroad is one of the biggest obstacles students face when studying overseas. Moreover, the visa application also varies depending on the country and circumstance.

Meanwhile, in this article, we will explain in full detail everything you need to know about study abroad student visas and what it means. This guide will help you determine how to get a student visa to study overseas, including what is required, and some of the most frequently asked questions about student visas.

What is a Student Visa?

A visa is an official travel document that is usually stamped or glued onto the passport of the bearer which gives him permission to legally enter a foreign country. However, there are multiple types of visas, and this will depend on the bearer's purpose for entering the country. This includes a Tourist Visa for people looking to visit a country for tourism, a Student Visa for students looking to travel to a foreign country to pursue education, and so on.

Meanwhile, a student visa is a type of non-immigrant visa. This visa is for prospective students who wish to complete higher education abroad. It is only given out to people who have a confirmed place of study at a registered institution for a set period of time. It is known as a study permit in some countries such as Canada. This visa can permit you to study at a qualified education institution.

Moreover, each country has its own immigration laws, and they usually vary in terms of required documents, the application process, and timeline. However, there are also some factors that are common for all student visas. Furthermore, studying abroad requires precise planning. Students are always advised to plan their admission application process keeping in mind university deadlines. You should always apply for a visa before you travel to your study destination. Applying 3-4 months in advance is good to avoid any last-minute rush.

Students will normally have to wait until they have a confirmed offer from a university before they can submit their visa application and they may have to apply in person at an embassy. Intakes for a student visa in universities vary from country to country. These are periods during which universities accept new students.

What Type of Student Visa Do I Need to Study Abroad?

Visas are generally classified into two; immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The latter basically means that the holder does not intend to take up permanent residence in the country. Meanwhile, the exact name and type of visa you need will vary from country to country but a student or study visa is a non-immigrant. This means that your stay in the country is temporary for study.

However, non-immigrant student visas are usually categorized based on the duration of the program, and the type of program or student.

Student visa to study abroad based on the duration of the program

Firstly, depending on the duration of the program the student is planning to undertake, certain countries usually divide the student visa into Short-term Student Visas or Long-term Student Visas. Meanwhile, short-term visas are often given to students who plan to take a short course of a language or a diploma certificate course and the entire duration is often limited to 90 days (3 months).

However, Long-term visas, on the other hand, are given to students who are planning to take up degree courses extending beyond the 3 months. These could include internships and small certificate programs of 6 months and so on. European Union Countries often have this broad classification.

Student visas that are based on the type of program

Nonetheless, some countries also categorize student visas on the basis of the type of student or program, irrespective of the duration of the course. Meanwhile, this could be the level of degree applied for (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral), exchange student, or student applying for a vocational or diploma course.

However, these are rather linked to the duration of the program; i.e. the type, of course, the student is applying for. That is to say, you could be going for 3 months or 3 years if you're an exchange student. The category would still be based on the type of student and not how long the program would be for.

Documents Required for Student Visa Application

The requirements study abroad students need to meet to get a student visa will vary widely on the country they are studying in. Every country, depending on its Immigration Laws has a specific list of documents.

However, while the exact requirements are different in terms of actual terms, the list is generic. That is to say, there are a few general requirements you should be aware of. Here is what is generally required for a study abroad visa. But be sure to check with your host country for specific guidelines and requirements.

  • Documents that prove your financial situation or any financial support you will have during your studies. This can be in form of Loan approval letters, Scholarship letters, Bank statements, etc.
  • Proof of a place in a program from the university or college that you are going to attend.
  • A valid passport (ensure it doesn't expire before your visa will)
  • Proof of a clean criminal record. This can be in form of a police statement
  • Valid health insurance
  • Payment receipts for universities
  • Educational documents such as transcripts, test scores, qualifications, or certificates from schools you have attended

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Study Abroad

You should begin preparing for the visa application process once you have determined the country you want to study in. However, just as we mentioned earlier, this will vary by country. Meanwhile, the general steps remain the same. They are as follows:

1. Apply to the university or enroll in the program or exchange

However, a student visa application generally begins with your university offering you a letter of acceptance. Students who have received their letter of acceptance are required to go ahead and begin their Visa Application Process.

2. Find out the specific requirements for the country, university, and program

The first thing you should do is contact the university or college to clarify which visa you need to apply for and or to ask them to send you the necessary documentation for your application. Once your university or college has informed you of the appropriate visa you need to apply for and any documentation that you need to submit, you should be ready to apply.

Then, review these requirements closely and ensure you can meet them all within your deadline. You should begin this process at least 6-months before the study abroad semester starts to provide enough time to satisfy all requirements.

3. Complete your student visa application

Each country has a slightly different process for submitting your documents and application. In some countries, applications can be done in a number of ways, by post, courier, in-person meeting at an embassy, or online. You will need to determine by visiting the embassy or consulate of your host country and ask how you can apply for a visa or search their website.

Applying for a student visa online is the more convenient of the processes. Candidates can apply for their student visas through the online method by simply creating a student profile. The forms are all online and would have to be correctly filled by the student. The offline visa application process will require candidates to download the application form, fill in the details and submit it to the required authorities.

How Long Will a Student Visa be Valid?

A visa is issued for a specific time. Usually for the length of your program, plus or minus a month or two. In some instances, the visa will be valid for a set amount of time (for example, one year from the date it's issued). Pay close attention to the date the visa expires. Otherwise, you will risk being found guilty of a visa overstay.

If in case your study permit expires before completion of your studies (program) and you plan to stay in the country for longer than your student visa permits. Then you need to apply for renewal of your study permit (typically a working holiday or visitor visa). However, you should apply at least 30 days before your current permit expires. Candidates can submit their applications through mail or online. It's common practice to leave the country and come back in to do this, but not always required.

To sum up, extending your visa completely depends on where you study. In some countries, it can be very simple, while in others it is challenging. And you may even have to leave the country to renew or extend your student visa.