A visa is a travel document required by countries in addition to your passport, to allow you into their country. It’s basically permission to travel to that country. Visa procedures are different for each country, and processing time can vary between as little as one day to as long as three months.
Since the processing time of the student visa varies, students must apply as soon as they get the final confirmation letter from the university or institute. Before that, it is advisable that students look up the country’s consular website and familiarize themselves with student visa requirements.
Checklist before applying for Student Visa abroad:
- A letter from your institution/university abroad on their own letterhead stating that they are sponsoring you. It should include things like tuition and room and board costs, proof of housing, etc.
- Written proof that you have a certain amount of money in a bank account with your name on it to cover your living costs. This is separate from room and board costs so there is no way around it. This will require a letter from your bank, acknowledging that they are witness to this and that the account belongs to you. (Please note that the letter has to be officially attested on the Bank’s Letterhead and signed by the Bank Head/Manager).
- Proof that you have some way of paying your tuition. If you’re not going through your home college or university but rather an independent study abroad program, then you’ll need to be able to prove that you’ll be able to pay some other way.
- Obtain your biometrics. This is a fancy word for fingerprints. Once you finish your application online, you will automatically sign up for an appointment to get your fingerprints taken. On that day you will need to go down to the nearest immigration center, consulate, or wherever they require you to go, and get your prints electronically. It’s a fairly straightforward and simple process.
- Your passport. At this point, you should already have a passport. You will be required to mail it in along with the rest of the documents proving that you have the means to live in that specific country for a summer, semester or year. You will get your passport back with the visa inside.
- Passport quality photos. You should be able to find every county’s specifications on their respective visa website. As you did with your US passport, you can probably get your photos at any local CVS, Walgreens, etc. (Don’t attempt to take your own photo. You only have enough time to apply for your visa once, and you can’t afford to have your application rejected due to a poor quality photo).
Duration of stay and work-related queries:
Generally on a student visa you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. You can only start working once your course has started. The same rules usually apply for any dependents you may have.
On a student visa you are allowed to stay for the duration of your course, as specified in your initial visa application. You will also be allowed to stay for a short time following the completion of your studies however this can be anything from 60 days to 4 months depending on your chosen destination.
(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services).