Applying for a student visa can feel like the most stressful part of the study abroad planning process. It’s important you pay close attention to your specific immigration requirements and follow procedure diligently; otherwise you might have trouble entering your host country in time to start your study programme. Below are 7 visa application tips to help break down the process.
1. Check if you Need a Visa
Each country has different visa requirements and depending on your country of origin you might not need a visa to enter your host country. You should double check the specific visa and immigration requirements of each country even if you don’t need a visa, you will most likely need some kind of student pass or accreditation to be able to study abroad in a foreign country.
2. English language Test Scores
You might be required to produce scores of English Language proficiency tests as part of your visa application. If this is the case, you should make sure that the test scores will still be valid at the time of your visa application, and for at least a few months afterwards. If your scores are set to expire during your study programme you should be prepared to re sit the exam if necessary. Both TOEFL and IELTS test scores are valid for 2 years after the test date.
3. Blank Pages
You should make sure that your passport has at least 4-6 blank pages when you apply for a student visa. The visa itself will only take up one page, many consulates require that you have at least two blank, functional pages within your valid passport. If your passport does not have enough blank space, then you may be required to renew it before you can apply for a visa. This will only make your study abroad preparation process longer by at least a few weeks, but it is also likely to incur additional fees.
4. Passport, Photos, and Documents
It might seem obvious but be sure to read the documentation requirements thoroughly and have everything in order before you submit. If your documents do not meet requirements you will simply not be granted a visa and will have to go through the entire process again, and maybe even pay another set of application fees. Be sure to double check passport photo requirements, too some countries have differing and strict requirements and will not accept photos that do not meet them.
When you apply for a visa you will always need to pay some kind of processing fee. This fee is usually payable when you actually submit your application and can be payable in cash when you complete your interview. Some countries permit online applications and payment via credit or debit card, often you will be required to go to an office in person and either collect your visa or submit additional documents. You should always check if there are any additional fees payable in person, and if this is the case then you should always be ready to pay in cash.
6. Check Translations
All your application documents need to be translated into English and should be signed by a relevant authority. Some consulates will provide translation services and sign the documents themselves, but this must be done before you submit your visa application.
7. Be Sure to Make Photocopies
Be sure to make photocopies of all the official documents you submit and bring to your visa interview, even if the consulate says they will send them back to you after your visa has been approved. Documents such as your passport and national ID card are some of the most important credentials you can hold, and you should always take backup precautions in making sure you’ll always be able to access their details.