It is very common amongst Indians to pursue their college or higher education abroad to seek better career opportunities. In 2019 alone, there were 7,53,000 Indian students studying abroad. The process of going abroad, from selecting a country and a course to applying for a study visa to finally making it there is a lengthy one.
It is a type of non-immigrant visa granted by a country to a student from another country to stay there for the purpose of education. It is valid for the time that you are studying in a particular country.
There are different types of student visas in different countries. For example, Australia offers 7 types of student visas. A US student visa is of three types, which are as follows.
An F1 visa is granted to a student planning to pursue academic studies at an approved school or college or accredited university in the US.
An M1 visa is issued to a student who wants to participate in a vocational activity or training at a US university.
A J1 visa is for a professor, a research scholar, or an exchange student who has taken part in an educational program promoting cultural exchange.
These depend on the country you are planning to visit. Some countries have different eligibility criteria for different foreign countries. Generally, the following requirements need to be fulfilled.
The educational authority needs to approve and accept your visa application.
You will need proof of your ability to pay for your tuition fees and living expenses.
Your past academic record should be good.
You should fulfil the character requirements of the specific country.
You should fulfil the health requirements of the country.
You might even be required to prove your ability to purchase health insurance.
A valid Indian passport
A recent passport size photo
Fee receipts of visa application
VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) appointment letter
In case of a US student visa, you will also need
DS-160 confirmation (DS-160 is an online non-immigrant visa application form)
Form I-120 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (for M1 or F1 visa)
SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee receipt (for M1 or F1 visa)
The selected country’s embassy might ask you for additional documents.
The fees are different for different countries. You can check with the specific country’s Consulate and make an online payment.
This process, again, can be different for different countries. The fastest mode of application, generally, is an online application. You can check the entire process on the embassy website.
The procedure for a US student visa is as follows.
Make sure that the schools you have applied to are SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified schools and you have an approval from them.
Fill the DS-160 online visa application form.
Then, you will get an application number and a password, which will give you access to your DS 160 confirmation page.
Make an online payment. Generally, it is Rs.10,880 (subject to change).
Book an appointment at the VAC (Visa Application Center).
Book another appointment for the US Embassy for your interview.
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A student visa is a crucial and elaborate process. While you focus on that, do not forget to take care of essentials like travel insurance.
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Since it is a long procedure, it is advisable to apply 3-4 months in advance.
Every university has its own requirements. Check with your selected universities and take the required tests.
Most countries allow students to work for a specific number of hours every week.