The student visa application (10 main pieces of advice)

Our top 10 pieces of advice will help you in the process of obtaining a student visa regardless of which country you come from and where you submit the application. Are you ready?


Applying for a student visa can become the most complicated part of the process of planning your studies abroad. When you find yourself in the midst of the process you are going through, studying the checklist of all the necessary documents and going once again on the government’s website in order to check for the umpteenth time whether you have missed any important information, you would just like to get packed and get on the plane. Even though the process sometimes seems enormous and comprehensive, you should pay particular attention to the specific requirements and conditions of immigration and carefully follow the procedure step by step. If you don’t, it can easily happen that unplanned problems crop up even before you first enter the country of your host education institution.


On this occasion we present to you our top 10 pieces of advice which SAT Agency carefully follows when you apply for any host country.


Every host country has different requirements for this process, and depending on your country of origin maybe you won’t even need a visa. For example, students who come from an EU country, in most cases will not need a visa for studying in another EU country, while students of certain nationalities will not need a visa for studying in Malaysia. You should carefully check the specific visa and immigration requirements for every country on the official website of the government of the relevant host country. Even if you do not need a student visa, you cannot rule out the possibility that you will be asked for some other accreditation or student diploma from a previously completed course or education programme so that you can continue your studies in a foreign country.



You may be asked to provide evidence of the results of English tests while applying for a student visa. If that is the case, you should make sure that the test results will still be valid when you submit your application for a student visa – that is, at least several months later, since it takes the immigration service that long to respond. If the validity of your results ceases while you are still studying, we warmly recommend that you come back and retake one of the certified tests which have the same number of points, or more, that are stipulated for the programme that you are attending. The results of both ToEFL and IELTS tests are valid for two years after taking the test.



You need to make sure that your passport has a minimum of four to six completely blank pages before applying for a student visa. Even though the visa itself will only take up one page, most consular representations require a minimum of two blank pages. If your passport does not have enough blank space you will perhaps need to renew it before the application itself. This can significantly slow the entire process down and extend it by some two working weeks, and this will always present you with unplanned expenses.


Maybe this seems too obvious, but go over your list of required documents a few times until you are sure that you have arranged them in the order stated by the immigration department. If your documentation for whatever reason does not meet the conditions you simply will not obtain a visa and, what is even more frustrating, they will not tell you what wasn’t in order. This means that you will have to repeat the whole process again and pay for one more application. It is vital that you also check the requirements for the photograph which goes in your visa, if you are successful. Some countries have strictly defined requirements in terms of the content, size, lighting and background of the photograph and they won’t accept just any old photograph that you think will do.



When you submit your visa application you always have to pay some kind of processing fee. This fee is paid at the moment you submit the application. While some countries allow online applications and payment via credit or debit card, often you will have to go in person to the office in order to pick up the visa or to submit additional documentation. Check whether there are additional fees that are paid in person, and if this is the case always be ready to pay in cash.




The processing of your application can take a while, and it sometimes happens that it is subject to administrative procedures and extra checks which are completely out of your control. If the visa is not ready for you on time, you simply will not be able to enter the host country, regardless of whether classes have started. The immigration offices of some countries on their websites will record the exact date of processing, but in order to be totally sure you need to bear in mind that this process still takes a fairly long time. Your visa will reflect the exact date when your programme starts, so if you receive it several weeks before, the entire process will be made that much less stressful.



All the individual documents for the visa must be translated into English and they should be signed by the competent organ. Some consular representations will provide translations and will sign the documentation themselves, but that needs to be done before you actually submit the visa application. In most cases, you will have to schedule in advance a special meeting with a translation service, so you should find out the details of that part in advance from the consular representation of the host country or university.




You should definitely make photocopies of all the official documents that you have sent and bring them with you when you come for the visa interview, even if they tell you that they will post the originals back to you after the process is completed. Documents such as your passport and identity card are some of the most important credentials that you have and you should always carry them with you. Also, it is a good idea to make digital copies of them in order to quickly and easily access the necessary information on them.



In some cases, as is the case with the American student visa, you will be asked to come for an interview as part of the application process. If this is the case, be sure that you are well informed about your student programme and the host university, and that you are ready to explain why you want to finish that particular programme. If you do not manage to consistently answer some elementary questions related to your studies, it will be extremely difficult to convince the embassy officials that you are travelling to their country to study, and not to migrate there.



Applying for a student visa can be a very stressful process, but if you possess all the documentation and you have paid the relevant fees, then there is no reason why you should be rejected. But if you look uneasy and defensive, that can be a sign to the immigration officials to delve unnecessarily deeply into the details of the application and to review its finer points, and that can lead to further delays in the administrative procedure itself. Remember: foreign consulates and embassies offer services whose primary role is to help you, and applying for the student visa is an administrative process like any other, so you should not give this part of it too much importance so that it unnecessarily burdens you.

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