It is a dream for several students across India to study overseas. According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, as of July 2018, there are more than 7 lakh Indian candidates studying abroad.
As per the trend of student visa applications, USA, the UK, Australia and Canada are among the most preferred countries to study abroad for Indian aspirants. Germany, Italy, France and even Latvia get a sizeable influx of Indian students as well.
Before joining this bandwagon, here is a quick guide that will ease your visa application process.
Do not procrastinate
Find out the right category of visa you need. Applying 1 to 3 months prior to the start of your course would be ideal. Be sure you are well informed as student visa requisites for different regions within the same country can vary.
Your acceptance letter is an essential prerequisite for visa application. Another prerequisite is the partial or entire payment of your tuition fees. The length of your course is also a vital determinant of the type of student visa you need to apply for. For instance, if your course is less than six months, you may need to enter on a short-term student visa that may not allow you to work in the country while studying.
You will be needed to undergo medical tests since different countries have different restrictions to keep infectious diseases at bay. Similarly, you may be needed to prove you have been immunised if there has been an outbreak of a disease in your home country.
Organise your documents
Ensure your current passport is valid for the next six months. Here are some common documents you will need at the time of the visa interview: l Passport
Financial documents with proof of funds
Student loan approval
Test scores of English language qualifications
Proof of international student health cover
Students must know the visa conditions before going abroad. While a student, can you work part-time? If so, how many hours per week? Can your family go with you? Do know all your entitlements upfront as every country has a different set of conditions for student visas.
(The author is regional group COO – Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global)