Studying abroad in one of the best universities is a dream for most students and ppplying for a student visa to study on foreign shores is the most important thing after being accepted by universities abroad. Even though this is a crucial part of the process, many students face visa issues at the last minute. To avoid unnecessary hassles at the last minute, make sure you apply for a student visa well in advance so that you have sufficient time to reapply if things don’t go as planned.
It is to be noted that every country is governed by its Immigration Laws and have different visa rules. These could vary in terms of the requirements of documents to the different proof of funds acceptable to what all the visas would let you do apart from studying in the country. Also, some broad commonalities are visible in all student visa applications.
Student Visa Classification Based on Program Duration/Course
Depending on the length of tenure of the programme the applicant is planning to undertake, the countries often divide the student visa into Short Term Student Visas or Long-term Student Visas. Often, short-term visas are given to students who plan to take a short course of a language or a diploma certificate course and the entire duration is often limited to 90 days (3 months).
Long-term visas, on the other hand, are given to students who are planning to take up degree courses extending beyond the 3 months. These could include internships and small certificate programmes of 6 months and so on. European Union Countries often have this broad classification.
About USA Student Visa
The USA continues to be the top choice for students planning to study abroad.
There are three types of US student visas:
- F-1 visa: This visa is for high school or college/university (including language program) study in the US, applying to both undergraduate and graduate students. Students applying for a program that requires more than 18 hours of study in a week require an F1 visa in USA. This includes all undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs like MS in the US or MBA in the USA.
- M-1 visa: This visa is for non-academic or vocational study in the US. Such programs are usually short term and career focused. For example, you could attend a culinary school or a medical training program. While the process for applying for the F1 visa and M-1 is similar, the difference is that on entering, the M1 visas are time-stamped and students cannot overstay their visit.
- J-1 visa (Exchange visitor visa): The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is for students, visiting scholars or lecturers pursuing an exchange program. A J1 visa is usually sought by a working professional who goes to America on an exchange program, hence the name Exchange Visitor Visa. These may include a 10-month vocational training or some research fellowship, etc. Whichever the case, the applicants would be notified of the same by the respective institutions.
UK Student Visa
Students, who wish to study in the UK for more than 6 months, need to know about the following 3 UK Study Visas or UK visa types:
- Short-term Study Visa: Short-term UK Study Visa is for those who want to study an English language course for up to 11 months
- Student Visa: This visa category is for students coming to the UK for higher education. It was formerly termed as a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa, popularly called a Tier 4 Student Visa
- Child Student Visa: This visa is for children who are between 4 and 17 years and wish to study at an independent school in the UK. It was formerly termed as Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
Canada Student Visa
International students cannot study in Canada without getting a valid study permit. Apart from this, students who get a study permit are allowed to enroll in Designated Learning Institutions. A Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is an educational institution that has received approval from a provincial or territorial government to host international students.
Getting the Canada Study Visa
You are required to carry the Letter of Introduction along with all the specified documents to Canada. At the airport, you would meet with an Immigration Officer. Present the Passport and the Letter of Introduction to the border control agency officer who would then validate the same and if found adequate, issue you your Study Permit.
Australia Student Visa
As per the new visa guidelines implemented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Government, all students planning to study in Australia need to apply for Visa under Subclass 500 with effect from July 1, 2016.
From July 1, 2023, students studying in Australia on a student visa will be able to work for 48 hours a fortnight only. While the students’ institutions are not in session, they can work for an unrestricted number of hours. However, those working in aged care since May 9, 2023, are eligible to work for unrestricted hours up till December 31, 2023.
Students studying in Australia must ensure that they maintain their attendance, course progress and course enrollment. While employers are restricted to cancel visas if the extension is requested for those working in the aged care sector or bar students from working 48 hours a fortnight.
- Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) Visa
This is a short-term visa introduced in Australia to cater to the skill shortage issue, by bringing in more skilled workers through registered employers who are unable to source an appropriate workforce for their companies or businesses. Those applying for this visa will have to pay AUD 1,290 and will be eligible to stay for up to 2 years and 4 years in case of International Trade Obligation.
Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa applications may take processing time from 44 days to 15 months.
- COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) Visa
A temporary (subclass 408) visa has been introduced to encourage employment in critical skill sectors which saw a gradual decline amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders (including international students) can come without applying for a travel exemption. Students holding valid visas need to provide proof of their vaccination status (should be vaccinated with an approved vaccine) and a negative Covid-19 PCR test report was taken within three days of departure.