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Student Visa – Documents Needed, Application Process & Types

Updated on 18 April, 2024

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Student visas are issued to applicants looking to study in a foreign country. It is indispensable to have a study visa for study abroad. Every country has its own set of immigration regulations, including proof of funds, documents needed from students, and other aspects. Several common attributes are evident across all types of student visas as well. This article will help you to know what is required when applying for a student visa for various countries.

Important Resources 

Why Do Student Visas Get Rejected | How to Check Visa Status

Documents Needed for Student Visas

Every document required for student visa applications should be carefully noted. While documents and guidelines may vary across countries, most countries require some standard documents to apply for a student visa.

1. Passport

A valid passport is a primary document with your application. The validity requirement varies from one country to another. Some nations may desire validity until the end of your educational program, when applying for your student visa. Others may allow applications but ask you for validity which covers the duration of intended residence. You should ensure at least two blank pages in your passport for stamping. Even if you have an expired passport, submitting a copy of the same is mandatory.

2. Student Proof

Bonafide proof of being a student is the second important document that you will require. You should prove your eligibility for the student visa by furnishing the admission confirmation to an institution in that country.

3. Proof of Funds

Most nations will require aspirants to prove that they can cover tuition costs and living costs for the particular period. Several countries have fixed amounts as proof of funds; some have more extensive regulations. For example, some European countries have computed minimum living costs based on Government regulations. Students should accordingly furnish proof of this amount being available in their bank accounts.

4. Proficiency in Language

Several countries also require proof of language proficiency. Students should prove their communication fluency in the language that will be their instructional medium in the country. Since most students plan higher studies in English-speaking nations, they will have to offer proof of communication skills (both verbal and written) in the language. Test scores like IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE will work in this case. If you are taking a course in any other language, i.e., German or Spanish, you will have to furnish proof of certification in that language as per required standards. While universities may take the results of several tests, requirements are sometimes fixed for student visas. For example, TOEFL is not accepted for visa applications in the U.K. You should always check whether a particular test is accepted by the immigration department of your preferred country. A minimum score is also mandated through visa regulations. Admission may be available at some universities for a lower score, although the visa application will be rejected.

Some countries may require health test results or blocked accounts, among other information, along with SOPs for visas. Check everything carefully before applying. 

Country-Wise Visa

Student Visas

Resources for Australian Visa

Resources for Canadian Visa

Resources for German Visa

Resources for USA Visa

Other Visa Related Resources

Types of Student Visas

There are several types of student visas that you should know more about. The basic categorization is done likewise:

1. Based on the duration of the program

Depending upon the duration/tenure of the course/program applied for, the student visa is often divided by the nations into long-term or short-term visas. The visas are provided to students planning to apply for a harsh language/diploma certificate course, and the whole tenure is restricted to 3 months or 90 days. Long-term visas are mostly given to those planning for degree courses beyond three months, including smaller certificate programs and internships of 6 months.

2. Based on student/program type

Irrespective of the course duration, some countries categorize student visas based on the student or program type. This may be the degree level, i.e., graduate, undergraduate or doctoral, type of student, i.e., exchange student or someone applying for a diploma or vocational course, and so on. The visas will also depend on the tenure, but it is not the only determining factor.

Read More: Best Country for Education

Country-Wise Visa Types

Here are some country-wise visa types:

1. Canada

The Student Direct Stream has been unveiled in Canada for fast-tracking study permits. For student visas in Canada, applicants must provide tuition payment proof for the first year of study, evidence of a guaranteed investment certificate, and take a medical examination. The processing period for a student visa in Canada is anticipated to be 3-4 weeks. A student should pay CAD 150 as the Canadian student visa fees. Before applying for a student visa, candidates should have a letter of acceptance from the educational institute. 

2. Germany

Those staying for more than 90 days will require visas to enter Germany. Student or applicant visas are available. A residence permit is needed to stay in the country for more than 90 days. To apply for a German student visa, a student needs to pay the fee of €60. For applying, you will have to furnish proof of your application to a university in Germany. This will help you obtain the student applicant visa. Moreover, with a student visa, a student can look for on-campus and off-campus jobs. 

3. New Zealand

Staying longer than three months in New Zealand for any course requires a student visa. The application process for a student visa can take up to 70 days. Moreover, around $15,000 annually is required as proof of funds to meet living costs.

4. Singapore

Upon getting an acceptance letter from a higher education institution, you must apply for the Student’s Pass. An Immigration Exemption Order or Dependent Pass will help you avoid this stage of the proceedings. Applications are directly processed by the ICA (Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) for those up to 19 years of age who want to attend private educational institutions. Students above 20 years of age wishing to study for fine arts, vocational, commercial, or language courses may require first appearing for interviews.

5. United Kingdom (U.K.)

Adult students will require a Tier 4 visa. Before acceptance, you will require a prospective student visa; if staying less than six months, the Student Visitor visa will be needed. Moreover, students studying a short course and are over 18 years old can opt for a short-term study visa. It would take around 3 weeks (15 working days) for the application process. 

6. United States (USA)

There are three types of student visas, namely the J, F, and M. However, students should first be accepted into a U.S. institution that is certified under SEVP (Student Exchange and Visitor Program). Once a visa holder arrives in the USA, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to scrutinize it. SEVIS Fee for F & M visa is $350, whereas, for J visa, it is $220. 

Read More: Study Abroad Checklist

Applying for a Student Visa

Applying for a student visa starts with a letter of acceptance from the university. Thereafter, applicants can start the process of obtaining their visas. There are usually two methods of getting a visa:

1. Online application method

This is quicker and more convenient. Aspirants can simply apply for a student visa after creating their profiles. The forms only must be filled up and submitted.

2. Offline application method

Candidates will have to download application forms, fill in details and submit them offline at designated centres.

The next step in the process involves payment of the application fee. Each candidate will have to fork out this charge for the application procedure. The final process includes submission of the same in tandem with all supporting documents. A visa is given for a specified duration, and if the study permit expires before completing the course, the renewal of the same is advised. You should apply a minimum of 30 days before the expiration of your current permit. Applications can be submitted via mail or even online. 

Study abroad with upGrad Abroad

upGrad Abroad, in collaboration with known universities abroad, offers many cost-effective bachelor’s and master’s courses. The USP of these programs is the blended model of education they follow. It would allow students to complete a part of their education online. To get detailed information, get in touch with our counselors.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Student Visa?

It would be best if you had a student visa to enroll in a study programme outside your home country. To be eligible for a student visa, you must already have been accepted by a university or other educational institution. Student visas are often given out for brief periods.

How can I get a student visa?

To get a student visa, a student needs to ensure to follow these steps:

  • Apply for a study program
  • Make an appointment at the consulate or embassy
  • Submit your documents
  • Submit the visa payment
  • Attend their student visa interview

What can be the reasons for the rejection of my student visa?

Student visas can be denied for a slew of reasons:

1. You have not furnished proof of financial support.
2. You have an invalid passport.
3. Inadequate language of communication skills.
4. Inability to confirm a necessary return to India after education completion.
5. Inappropriate behaviour during the visa interview.

Did you find this article helpful?

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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