The basics
Study abroad : Visa Guides

Tips for applying a student visa

Want to study abroad? Aside from university applications, you will also need to apply for a student visa. Check out our student visa application tips below.

Student visa applications can be confusing and most of us dread it. We’ve heard horror stories of visas being rejected and long waiting times. If you don’t have the help of agents, why not follow some of our general visa application tips for students, regardless of whether you’re studying in the UK, US, Australia, Canada or anywhere else in the world!

 

Do your research

We know that the sheer number of things that need to be done just for a student visa can get overwhelming, let alone all the other decisions that students are required to make when studying abroad- accommodation, living expenses, flights, setting up phone and broadband services and navigating the country’s transport system once you’re there. Don’t worry. Everyone else is in the same boat as you. The best way to mitigate any last-minute changes to your schedule is to do your research well in advance. After applying for the study abroad programmes that you’ve shortlisted, don’t wait at the edge of your seat for an acceptance letter before moving on to the next step. Begin researching what are the documents needed and the kinds of processes are required in obtaining a student visa from the various countries of the universities that you’ve applied to.

 

Apply early

Don’t leave your application to the last minute. Do it early. We highly recommend that students intending to study abroad gather all your necessary information and documents ready and on hand before SPM, STPM, A-levels or equivalent results are published. Once your exam results are confirmed, you can immediately apply for your student visa. Depending on which country you’re heading to, in some cases, the process can take up to six months or even longer. Start applying as soon as you receive your acceptance letter for your study abroad programme. You will never know how long readying a certain document will take, sometimes your school might need more time to get these verified for you.

 

Visit the official embassy or consulate

This should be the first stop in your student visa application research. Their website will contain all of the relevant information regarding the types of forms you will need to fill, documentation required, visa applications and interviews. If you lack clarity regarding these guidelines, contact the embassy or consulate either via phone, in person or email.

 

Seek help from your university

While we advise students to begin their research before receiving that acceptance letter, you can only start your student visa application once you have received a letter of acceptance. Conducting your research beforehand just helps you save time, by now you will know most of the things that are needed and would have gotten most, if not all of these documents ready. Upon receiving an offer letter from the university, contact them and see if you’re allowed to apply for a visa through them.

 

Give precise and accurate information

Student visa application are known to be quite stringent. To increase your chances of success, be sure that you fill in the visa application as thoroughly as you can, double check the form once you’ve done so. Bear in mind that specific student visa requirements that the country has and complete the form. Always provide accurate information as even a minor error can result in your visa being declined. Triple check the documents that is needed and ensure that you have them all in order. We’ve heard of a student who had her application rejected because she wrote Cambridge Advance English as her English qualification, but accidentally submitted a photocopy of her TOEFL results as evidence. Due to this discrepancy, despite possessing the Because they necessary qualifications, her visa was declined.

 

 

Translate all your documents

Again, it is imperative that you are careful about all of your documents that are not in English. Get them translated with a professional translator, then check the English translator for any errors- grammatical or otherwise. Even a typo on your translation might cost you your visa application. There have been instances where students had their applications rejected due to their bank certificates not written in English. To play it safe, send everything that is not in English for translation, from your school certificates and transcripts to financial documents and birth certificates.

 

Send in the fees

Don’t forget the fees. You will be given specific instructions to make payments; either online, via cheque or even BACS. Follow those instructions to the T. if you’re unclear, contact the consulate or embassy directly. If you’ve engaged an agent, check with them.

 

Keep up with rule changes

It’s common for different countries to change visa rules every year, especially if they’re fighting to stop fake students from entering. Take the advice from your friends or relatives who may have already applied for student visas before with a pinch of salt as they may not be aware that changes have taken place. Regularly check the consulate or embassy websites to keep up-to-date with any changes that they might have instituted.

 

Remember your purpose

Your main reason for applying for a student visa is to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. You must return home upon the completion of your course. However, on the off chance that you’re offered a job and your sponsor’s willing to apply a work visa for you, then that’s awesome! Some student visas allow you to work part-time throughout the duration of your degree programme, read through the forms given and see if yours will grant you the same permission.

 

Check your passport validity

Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your passport. The passport’s expiration date must be greater than a year from the date of entry for the visa that you’re applying for. Even if you’ve got an additional month or so from the required period of time, it’s safer to get your passport renewed in your home country. In addition, ensure that your passport has at least 4-6 blank pages for visa stamping. Keep your old passport and bring it along with you when travelling into the country for the first time, and whenever you’re on holidays, because the officer is likely to ask for your old passport to reconfirm your identity.

 

Clarify the English usage

If you’re not sure about the different terms used in forms, such as ‘middle name’, ask a visa agent or an official at the consulate for help.

 

Agents make mistakes too

You might think that you’ll have no problems if you use a visa agent. That is not necessarily true. Always remember that visa agents are human too and can make mistakes. When you send in your documents to them, inform them that you want to go through everything with them once more before submitting it to the visa and immigration offices. 

 

Check, check and check some more

Completing forms, especially student visa application forms require you to be completely thorough. Be meticulous, read through your application once more and ensure that all of the blanks have been filled, information has been entered correctly and nothing is missing. In fact, it would be great if you can get someone else to help you check through your application, a fresh pair of eyes can spot a mistake that you’ve accidentally glossed over. Don’t complete the forms in a hurry to avoid any careless mistakes. Keep the deadlines in mind and submit your application well before.

 

All the best!! You’ve done all you can and we hope you get that visa approved!

 

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.