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Student Visas, as the name suggests are visas issued to applicants whose primary purpose of visit to the country is the pursuit of education. Needless to say, while getting admission in the university is extremely important, these legal documents stand in the way of all your pursuits. Each and every country is governed by its own Immigration Laws. These could vary in terms of the requirements of documents to the different proof of funds acceptable to what all the visas would let you do apart from studying in the country. Also there are some broad commonalities that are visible in all student visa applications.

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What is a Visa?

Simply put, a visa is an official travel document. The visa which is
usually stamped or glued on to the passport of the bearer allows him to
legally enter a foreign country. A visa can be of multiple types. To
start with, there is a Tourist Visa for people looking to visit a
country for tourism, there is a Student Visa for students looking to
travel to a foreign country to pursue education and so on..

 

When should I apply for a Student Visa?

Studying abroad requires meticulous planning to say the least.
Students are always advised to plan their admission/ application process
keeping in mind university deadlines and working backwards. Students
are required to appear for English eligibility tests as per the
university policy and also have required documents in place for the
smooth processing of their application. Hence, students are always
advised to apply 3-4 months in advance to avoid any last-minute rush.
Candidates seeking financial aid, scholarships and education loans
should add another couple of extra months to the process as these
applications take more time.

Different countries have different requirements. Here are
some quick links to Student Visa Guides for the Top Study Abroad
Destinations, Interview Guide for F1 Visa and SPP and non-SPP
requirements.

 

What types of visa do I need?

Student Visas are often classified on the basis of two broad distinction points

 

Student Visa Classification Based on Program’s Duration

Depending on the length of tenure of the program the applicant is
planning to undertake, the countries often divide the student visa into
Short Term Student Visas or Long-term Student Visas. Often, the
short-term visas are given to students who plan to take a short course
of a language or a diploma certificate course and the entire duration is
often limited to 90 days (3 months). Long term visas, on the other
hand, are given to students who are planning to take up degree courses
extending beyond the 3 month period. These could include the internships
and small certificate programs of 6 months and so on. European Union
Countries often have this broad classification.

Student Visa Classification Based on Type of Program/ Student

Irrespective of the duration of the course, some countries classify the student visas basis the type of student. This could be the level of degree applied for (undergraduate, graduate or doctoral), exchange student or student applying for a vocational/ diploma course. Broadly speaking, as these visas also depend on the type, of course, the student is applying for, these are somewhat linked to the tenure. However, in these categories, the first point of distinction is not how long the program would be for. If you are, say for an instance, an exchange student, you could be going for 3month or 3 years, the category would still be based on the type of student and not the tenure.