Better Safe than Sorry. Always Leave Extra Time for Visa Process

Securing admission in the universities isn’t the only hurdle to cross,

you will also need a student visa to stay in the country for the duration of your course. The course of study and the type of college you plan to attend determine the type of visa you require. Applying for a student visa can be a long process, so you’d better start preparing well in advance – at least three to five months before your course is due to commence.

The time period for availing of a student visa varies from country to country. However, sometimes the government takes longer to assess your application, or they require you to submit more information before they can reach a decision. So, it is always better to apply well in advance to provide sufficient time for visa processing. Before applying for a visa, all students are required to be accepted and approved by their school or program. Once you are accepted by the university, they will provide you with information about the necessary approval documentation to be submitted while applying for a student visa.

The visa processing times are dependent on several different factors such as:

  • Whether you provided all necessary supporting documents when you submitted the application
  • How quickly you respond to requests for additional information
  • Time taken to complete any required checks on the information you have provided to support your application
  • Time taken to receive additional information from areas outside the department – particularly in relation to health, character and national security
  • The number of places that are available in the migration program
  • The final decision to grant or deny visa depends on the information and documentation that you provided at the time of lodgment

 UK Visa Process

If you are planning to study in the UK, one advice would be to apply early for your student visa because the process is long and complicated. You can make your student visa application process smooth and successful by keeping a handy list of documents required for UK student visa. Depending on whether you pursue short-term or long-term courses in UK, you have the following visa options: short-term study visa, tier 4 (child) student visa and tier 4 (general) student visa. Documents required for UK student visa for different visa categories are:

  • Valid passport
  • Copies of bank statements or pay slips for the last 6 months as proof of financial evidence that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK
  • Details of where you intend to stay during your visit to the UK and your travel plans
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test results – medical report
  • Contact details of at least one parent or a legal guardian in your home country (if you are under 18 years)

If you are under 18 and travelling alone, here is the list of documents for UK student visa:

  • Written consent from a parent or a legal guardian for you to travel alone to the UK
  • Full contact details of a parent or a legal guardian
  • Address of the place where you will be living and details of the person that you will be staying with
  • Details of your relationship and a written consent of the guardian who has taken the responsibility to look after you
  • A letter from the school where you will be studying confirming that they have notified the local authority about your visit and your care arrangements, if you are under 16 (or under 18 with a disability)
  • The local authority’s reply (if the school has received it)

Travelling with an Adult

  • If you are accompanied by the adult, you must identify the person in your visa application
  • You can identify up to two persons in your visa application and your visa will be valid if at least one of them accompanies you during your visit to the UK
  • Ensure that both the adults have separate applications, though they may apply at the same time

Documents about Your Course Required for UK Student Visa

  • Acceptance letter from the institution, preferably on official letterheaded paper stating the course’s name, duration and cost (including accommodation)
  • English language proficiency tests like IELTS, TOFEL, etc.
  • Accommodation and travel plans
  • Details of your financial sponsor such as occupation, income, savings or funds that will support your studies

If any of these documents are not in English, you need to get certified translations of such documents and get it signed and dated by some approved personnel like a solicitor.

USA Visa Process

If you are planning to study in the USA, it is advisable to apply early for the US student visa since the whole process takes around three to five months. Also, to avoid last-minute rushes and mistakes, keep a checklist of documents required for US student visa handy. Full-time academic students in the United States have two types of visas they can opt for

  • F-1 visa
  • M-1 visa

Prospective students will go through six stages when applying for a US student visa:

  1. Choose the type of visa: The course of study and school you attend determine the type of US student visa you have to apply for
  2. Submit the nonimmigrant visa electronic application (DS-160) form
  3. Pay the visa application fees in US dollars
  4. Create a profile and keep the receipt number to book your visa appointment
  5. Schedule your visa appointment: You must schedule two appointments, one for the Visa Application Center (VAC) and one for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate
  6. Visit to the Visa Application Centre to have your photo and fingerprints taken and then you will visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your visa interview

Documents required for US student visa for different visa categories are:

  • Completely filled non immigrant visa application form (DS-160) online; Take a printout of the application confirmation page and bring it to the interview
  • A valid passport
  • Color photograph
  • Should not be older than six months
  • Background must be plain white
  • Face must bear a neutral expression with both eyes open
  • Don’t wear a hat or head covering unless it is part of a religious purpose
  • You are also not allowed to wear eyeglasses, except in such cases when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • Approved and original signed Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS)-generated form I-20 from your U.S. school or program. If you have relatives accompanying you, they also have to be registered in the SEVIS where individual form I-20 will be generated for each person.

Additional Documents Required for US Student Visa During the Interview

  • Printed copy of your interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment
  • Printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page with barcode and application ID number
  • Valid passport (You need to carry your old passport as well)
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Supporting documents
  • Your academic documents to show your academic preparation. You can submit academic transcripts with grades, scores of standardized tests like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL and diplomas
  • Photocopies of bank statements with original copies of bank statements or original bank books
  • Documents demonstrating your intent to depart the United States upon completion of your studies such as strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country
  • Proof of financial evidence that you can support yourself for the first year of study and that you have access to funds sufficient to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States. M-1 applicants must demonstrate that they can support themselves for the entire period of their intended stay

Canada Visa Process

Students who wish to study in Canada need a Canadian student permit, unless they are enrolled in short-term courses of six months duration or less. But, some students enrolled in short-time courses also apply for a study permit as they would have to leave Canada immediately after the completion of the course and apply for study permit outside. You can apply for your Canada study visa online or opt to apply on paper. The time needed to process visa application varies depending on where you are applying from, so it is always advisable to apply early. For example, the processing time is around 4 weeks if you are applying from the UK and 6 weeks if you are applying from Australia. Here is the list of documents required for a Canadian student visa.

  • Letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution stating the Designated Learning Institution number (DLI #), a number that begins with the letter “O”
  • Proof of financial support indicating your ability to pay your tuition fee and living expenses
  • Scores of English language proficiency tests like IELTS, TOFEL, etc.
  • Scores of standardized tests like GMAT, GRE, etc. (if applicable)
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Resume/CV
  • Contact details of two academic references and two references from the employers (if applicable)
  • Fees receipt
  • Scholarship letter
  • Proof of financial support
  • Academic documents
  • Statement of Purpose: this helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals
  • Work experience certificates (if applicable)
  • Medical report (if medical tests have been completed)

Australia Visa Process

Once the students are accepted, educational institutions will provide each applicant with the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa. It is always recommended to apply well in advance to avoid any delays. Students need to apply for subclass 500 Australian student visa which allows you to stay and study in Australia at a recognized educational institution. The range of entry requirements that you will need to meet for visa application are as follows:

  • Financial requirements
  • English proficiency requirements
  • Overseas student health insurance
  • Academic requirements
  • Health (medical) requirements
  • Character certificate

The following steps outline the process of applying for a student visa in Australia:

  • Submitting your application to the institution
  • Receiving and accepting the letter of offer
  • Receiving the electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
  • Applying for your student visa

Documents Required for Australian Student Visa

  • Proof of your identity attached along with a valid passport
  • Completely filled Australian student visa application form (157A)
  • Copy of resume/CV
  • Application fees receipt
  • Certificate of Enrollment or Letter of Offer
  • Certified or notarized copies of evidence of sufficient funds
  • Certified or notarized copies of health insurance cover
  • Certified or notarized copies of scores of English proficiency test results
  • Certified or notarized copies of certificates of qualification
  • Criminal record check results
  • Four recent passport-sized photographs

All certified or notarized copies of documents/ transcripts of results should clearly state

  • Your full name
  • Name of the institution
  • Course title
  • Confirmation of the award

Obtaining a student visa from the embassy seems like an extensive and difficult process. So, if you put together your documents quickly, you can apply for a visa early to provide sufficient time for visa processing. The official time required for processing a student varies from one country to another. Hence, it is strongly recommended that you apply well in advance of your intended travel date so that you do not make any travel arrangements until you have been granted your visa.