If you plan to study abroad, you may need a visa to enter the country in which you will be studying. These are the most frequently asked questions we hear about student visas.

What is a visa? A visa is a document that gives you permission to enter a foreign country. A student visa is only granted to people who have a confirmed place of study at a registered institution for a certain period of time.

Different countries have different visa requirements, so your first port of call should be the website of the embassy of the country you want to study in.

When should you apply for a student visa?

You should always apply for a visa before traveling to your study destination. You will usually have to wait until you have a confirmed offer from a university before submitting your visa application, and you may need to apply in person at an embassy.

Allow plenty of time for any complications or exchange of information before planning your trip. Your university should be able to provide you with more information.

What kind of visa do you need?

The exact name and type of visa required vary from country to country, but you will likely need a nonimmigrant student/study visa.

Basically, this means that you do not intend to establish a permanent residence in that country and that your stay is for temporary study purposes.

However, to find out the exact type of visa you need, and therefore the appropriate application form, go to the embassy or consulate of your intended study destination in your home country (this must be where you live legally or where you are national).

Study Abroad Visa Documents

To apply for a student visa, each country has its own set of document submission requirements, based on its immigration law.

Therefore, while applying to different universities and colleges abroad, take note of all the necessary documents in advance.

While the specifications differ depending on the country you are applying to, some of the basics remain the same.

Let’s take a quick look at this checklist:

Valid passport: As a basic requirement, you will need a valid passport to travel abroad.

An error-free visa application: At the visa office you will receive a student visa application in which you will be asked about the necessary personal data.

Proof of being a genuine student: A bona fide certificate clarifies the legitimacy of a student’s prior education.

A compelling statement of purpose (SOP): An SOP or Statement of Purpose is a letter that you, the study abroad applicant, write expressing your interest in pursuing a particular course abroad.

Confirmation letter from the university and payment receipts: For a student visa, you obviously need to have a confirmed university admission.

Two letters of recommendation (LOR): LORs or reference letters are letters that increase your credibility and act as an advocate to justify your caliber to the visa officer.

Original Transcripts and Transcripts: When applying for a student visa, you will also need to submit your score report, certificates, and transcripts.

English test results (IELTS/TOEFL): Coming from India, you are required to submit an English proficiency test course when applying for a visa abroad.

Have a look at the below table to learn about the accepted language scores:

CountryMinimum Accepted IELTS ScoreMinimum Accepted TOEFL Score
USA6.5 – 778

Work experience letter (if any): Having work experience before moving abroad to study is beneficial.

Proof of funds: They are VERY important! Visa authorities carefully review your financial statements. It is important to make sure you have ample financial aid to study abroad.

Parents’ proof of income, FD acknowledgments, property reports, stocks, or bonds As the parents act as your support system, your proof of income must be presented to the authorities.

Health insurance certificates: Health insurance must be purchased in accordance with the regulations of the country for which you are applying.

Student visa application payment receipt: The visa application fee receipt is required for the visa interview.

Passport-size photos are accepted: Your passport-size photo is an important factor in moving your case forward. Since your photograph is the only visual evidence of you, make sure it is a recent photograph.

Proof of accommodation: Along with your proof of address, proof of university, and financial credentials, the last booklet to fill out in your document folder at the visa office is your proof of accommodation.