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Planning to study in the West? Here’s what you need to know about student visas

Posted on Monday, May 27, 2019

Career counsellor Karan Gupta explains the process for Australian, British and Canadian student visas

The procedure for Australian, British and Canadian student visa is fairly document based and rarely involves an interview with a visa officer. As just your documents are reviewed, you have to meet all the specific requirements set by the respective countries and have to be immaculate while following the instructions set by the consulate. Starting the application procedure early is the key as the visa can take as long as three months to be approved.

The most important documents you need to submit for the application will be the university acceptance letter and your financial documents. You need to make arrangements for the entire duration of your stay and show the financial support you have secured for it. Some of the documents which are acceptable as proof of your finances are bank statements for the past six months, fixed deposit receipts, mutual funds and share demat accounts.
 
For the UK student visa, you need to keep your tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance expenses in your bank account for the duration of atleast one month before your visa application submission. In case there are any changes in the bank balance, the last balance of the previous month will be considered for the application. Your funds should be stored only in nationalised banks as co-op banks will not be accepted. If the funds are stored in your parents’ bank accounts, you need to show your birth certificate along with an affidavit of support from your respective parent to establish your financial capacity.
 
You can opt to get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) before you can apply for the Canadian student visa. In order to obtain your GIC, visa applicants are advised to pay their accommodation and other living expenses (CAD $10,000) to one of the following banks–ICICI Bank Canada, SBI Canada Bank, HSBC Bank of Canada or Scotia Bank in Canada. The money you send to these banks will be returned to you with interest once you reach Canada. Under the Student Partners Program (SPP), it is recommended that all applicants go through this payment process but in case you do not wish to do so, you can still apply for the visa but make sure to keep all the funds in your savings bank account. If you are getting an education loan for your studies, you can submit your loan documents given that the loan is from a nationalised bank.
 
In addition to financial papers, for the Australian student visa, you have to submit a statement of purpose with your application, which will indicate why you wish to study in Australia and what are your goals once you finish your course. The Australian student visa process can be time consuming and make sure you apply for the visa at least three months prior to the start date of your course.
 
Ideally, your IELTS score sheet should be submitted along with your visa application. The UK Tier 4 visa application needs you to have at least an IELTS bandscore of 5.5 (total and in all sections). Sometimes, consulates can request you to take the secure IELTS (SELT) and if you have taken the IELTS long ago, your score might not be eligible.
 
Australian, Canadian and the UK visa require you to go through medical testing from approved doctors and include your medical report along with the other documents. Generally, a TB test is necessary and you may have to get a chest X-ray.
 
The visa processing can take anytime from at least 15 days to as long as three months. In case of urgency, you can expect your UK visa to be processed in five days at an additional charge of Rs 20,818. The UK offers a Super Priority visa, which will cost you Rs 90, 464, but the processing time is only 24 hours. The UK student visa costs Rs 28,700. The Canada student visa will be around Rs 7,890 (biometrics fees, which are Rs 4,470, are paid separately) and you are expected to pay the fees of around Rs 28,000 for the Australian student visa.
 
An interview can feel like an extremely daunting stage of the visa procedure but fortunately, only a small percentage of applicants is asked for an interview.

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