Education consultant Karan Gupta demystifies the student visa process
Most study-abroad aspirants have completed their applications to universities and are about to begin their visa process. Although the basic premise that students need to have enough funds to sponsor their education never changes, the procedure to apply for a student visa undergoes several modifications each year. With embassies and consulates constantly updating their websites with the latest information on documents, procedures and fees, students need not unnecessarily get stressed with the visa process.
Some countries like the US have mandatory interviews and students have to visit the centre twice — for collecting biometrics and for the actual interview. Getting appointments is generally not difficult, but it is a good idea to apply early. If you plan to apply for a British, Canadian or Australian visa, you most likely will not need an interview. You would have to, however, submit all your documents through various visa facilitation centres and then wait for the consulates to respond. Remember, you still have to submit biometrics for visas for the UK.
Here are some misconceptions and truth about student visas:
1. Loans as a source of funding will damage your visa application: You are permitted to show approved loans provided if it is feasible for you to pay the loan after graduation
2. Without standardised test scores, your visa application will not be approved: Consulates are aware that certain programmes don’t need tests and, hence, may still grant a visa if you have an admission offer from an accredited institute. This said, do keep in mind that certain consulates ask for specific scores in the IELTS or TOEFL
3. Consulates in certain cities are more likely to grant visas: Visa decisions are based on an individual officer’s discretion, and it’s near impossible to state that your visa chances are better in a specific consulate. Hence, it’s best to choose the consulate, which is closest to you
4. Having relatives abroad may act against your application: Most Indian students have relatives/friends in the country where they plan to go. As long as you are genuine who can pay for his or her education, having relatives/friends abroad will not influence visa chances
For US visas it’s mandatory to have an interview, and for other countries, it will depend on individual circumstances of an application. If you need to undergo an interview, you must be sure that you are aware of the university you are going to; why you have chosen a particular university and of course, how you plan to fund your education. Be armed with documents that you could use to prove that you are a genuine student with adequate finances.