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Nate Nault, StudyAbroad.com’s study abroad student expert and editor of The Study Abroad Blog, partnered with StudyAbroad.com to create the Study Abroad Student Guide.
The application process for a study abroad visa can be confusing because it’s different for different countries. With that being said, if you follow these basic guidelines as well as those from the state department of the country you’re going to be studying, you should have no trouble.
Unfortunately, unlike a passport, there is no single application for a Student Visa as the requirements differ from country to country. You’re first step should be to take a look at the U.S. State Department’s International Travel Country Specific Information page. This won’t take you directly to the visa application, but it will give you an overview of things like the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices; whether you need a visa; crime and security information; health and medical conditions; drug penalties; and localized hot spots among other things.
Your next step should be to visit the Border Agency website of your host country. This is where you can find your visa application. While all of their websites differ, they can be navigated fairly similarly. Look for a section titled “Students” or “Studying in…” There should be a frequently asked questions, or FAQ, section and a section explaining both the parts of the application and the terms used in the application. Don’t be afraid to use the glossary. As you will soon find, English usage isn’t the same everywhere in the world.
Many applications are done on a point based system. Provided that you meet the financial requirement and are sponsored by an accredited institution, then you should have the required amount of points needed for the Visa. Like I said earlier, there is no general application for a Visa, so below I’ve written suggested tips that should clarify a few aspects of the applications in general and hopefully make the whole process a little smoother for you. In addition to the basic online application, here is what is often required for a study abroad visa; however, be sure to check with your host country for specific guidelines and requirements.
Standard Visa Application Materials:
A few more tips: Send out your application at least two months in advance. There’s nothing worse than not having your visa the day you’re supposed to leave for the best experience of your life. Also, make copies of everything! Don’t be surprised if something gets lost in transit. Having copies of all documents will save you time, energy and most important, money.
If you’d like a step-by-step description of how I applied for my UK Student Visa, check out The Study Abroad Blog and read my post “Getting the Infamous Visa”.
Check out Global Visas for more information and guidance when applying for your study abroad Visa.
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