Top tips to apply for a student visa
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 or anywhere else in the world!
Don’t leave your application to the last minute. Do it early. It’s advisable that students who intend to go overseas get all necessary information ready and at 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.
Give precise and accurate information
Visa applications are extremely strict. Make sure you provide accurate information. Sometimes even a little error can result in your visa being declined. We have 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. Because they both didn’t tally and although she had the necessary qualifications, her visa was declined.
Agents make mistakes too
You might think that you’ll have no problems if you use a visa agent. Beware! Visa agents are human too and could make mistakes. Make sure when you send in your documents to them, that you request to go through everything with them again before submitting to the visa and immigration offices.
Translate all your documents
Be very thorough with documents that are not written in English. Have them all translated by a professional translator. There have been instances where students have been rejected because the bank certificates were written in the student’s home language. If in doubt, get everything translated; from 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, cheque or even BACS. Follow those instructions to the T.
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. Be careful when you take advice from friends or relatives who may have already applied for student visas before, but may not be aware that changes have taken place. Don’t get caught out!
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 perfectly fine.
Check your passport validity
Remember to check the expiry date on your passport. The passport’s expiration date has to be greater than a year from the date of entry for the visa 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. Never dispose off your old passport. Carry it 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.
Double check 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.
Use your common sense
Practise some common sense when making your visa application. Avoid careless mistakes, check everything again and again, and submit them all in good time. Then wait, and keep your fingers crossed!
An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.