What is a Student Visa and How to Apply?

8 minute read
Student Visa

One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad is that you get to experience the culture, learn new languages, and have top-notch career opportunities in foreign countries. To contribute to the foreign country’s economy with a distinct combination of talents, fresh perspectives, and new talent, international students play a key role in diversification and development. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts that the number of overseas students across the globe will reach 8 million by 2025. Let’s explore what is a student visa, different types of visas, and also the application process to study, live, and work abroad.


Also Read: Post Study Work Visa in UK

Classification of Student Visa

Student visas are categorised based on two main grounds of distinction:

  1. Classification of Student Visas Depending on Program Duration:

The nations frequently categorise student visas into short-term student visas and long-term student visas depending on the length of the programme the applicant is planning to enrol in. Students who want to enrol in a short course of a language or a diploma certificate course sometimes receive short-term visas, and the total period is frequently only 90 days (3 months). On the other hand, degree programs longer than three months grant long-term visas to students who intend to enroll. These might include brief certificate programmes of six months or internships. This broad categorisation is common throughout the nations of the European Union.

2. Classification of Student Visas Depending on Program/Student:

Some nations categorise student visas based on the type of student, regardless of the length of the course. Depending on the degree level (undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate), exchange student status, or student applying for a vocational or diploma programme, this could apply. In general, these visas are partly related to tenure because they depend on the type the student is seeking for, of course. The length of the programme would not, however, be the first point of distinction in these categories. If you’re an exchange student, for example, you might be there for three months or three years, but the categorization would still be dependent on the type of student and not the length of stay.

Student Visa

Things to Know About Applying for a Student Visa

Here are a few things to keep in mind while applying for a student visa:

  • A passport is required before applying for a student visa. Moreover, the passport needs to be valid after 6 months of your course completion
  • Applications can be made at a consulate. 
  • Visa applications require fees to be paid. The Consulate generally sets the fees.
  •  The visa application procedure varies depending on the country. In several cases, the student might need to travel to the consulate 
  • Visas require a timeline to be followed. For example, in the case of U.S, the applications need to be sent 90 to 120 days prior to the beginning of the course

When Should I Apply for a Student Visa?

To say the least, studying abroad necessitates thorough planning. Students should always organise their admissions/application process backward, bearing in mind institution deadlines. According to university rules, students must take English eligibility exams and have all essential documentation on hand for their application to be processed smoothly. As a result, it is generally recommended that students apply 1-3 months in advance to avoid any last-minute rush. Candidates who are applying for financial assistance, scholarships, or student loans should add a few more months to their timeline because these applications take longer.

student visa

IRCC Student Visa

Founded in 1994, IRCC, or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is the agency of the Canadian government that deals with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship. An IRCC student visa for Indian students costs CAD 150 which is equivalent to INR 9,296 (as per the current exchange rate). You can get an IRCC student visa based on the following criteria of educational qualifications and documentation required:

  • Candidates must be a graduate with a minimum of 50% of aggregate marks recognized by the UGC or AICTE. 
  • The graduate degree must be completed within the stipulated time with no year back. For example, B.Com or BBA is a 3-year degree and must be completed in the given time duration. 
  • Candidates must make sure they do not have more than 10 backlogs during their graduation period. 
  • Scores of English language proficiency exam
  • A complete application form 
  • A letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan if you are an international student. Take an Immigration Medical Examination (IME). 
  • Citizenship candidates who applied on paper or online between February 28, 2024, are currently receiving AOR letters or emails from the IRCC.
  • In order to help new international student applicants apply for a study permit to study in British Columbia (B.C.), the government of that province is now directly supplying Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to qualifying postsecondary institutions.
  • A letter of explanation for the documents missing due to COVID-19. 
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of funds 
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Credit or debit card
  • After submitting your application and biometrics, it typically takes around 7-10 weeks to receive a decision from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Also Read: Dubai Work Visa for Indians

Tier 4 General Student Visa

Tier 4 student visas allow students from outside the European Economic Area to study in the UK, generally at a school, college, or university. If you are 16 years of age or above and want to pursue your higher education in the UK, you will certainly need to apply for a Tier 4 general student visa. The current fee for a Tier 4 student visa is £363 (INR 37,082), as per exchange rate).

  • A valid passport or other travel documentation
  • Proof of sufficient finances to cover your living expenses during your program.
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number
  • Documents required to receive a CAS
  • Passport-size colour pictures
  • Tuberculosis test results
  • If there are any additional criteria, your university will notify you before you submit your application.
  • Study visas for the UK are granted in three to six weeks. International students are welcome to study a variety of degrees in the UK.

Also Read: France Work Visa for Indians

Additional Documents Required for Student Visa

  • A valid ATAS certificate if your course and nationality require it 
  • If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need documentation of parental or other legal guardian consent.
  • If you’re under the age of 18, evidence of your relationship with your parent or guardian is required.
  • If you’ve received financial support for your course fees and living expenses in the last 12 months, you’ll need formal permission from your financial sponsor to submit your application.

Student Visa India 

Unless you are a citizen of Bhutan, the Maldives, or Nepal, you will need a student visa to pursue your ambition of studying in India. You must have been accepted into an officially recognised educational institution to be eligible for an Indian student visa. The cost of a student visa in India will depend on the nationality of the candidates. If you are an American citizen, you may have to pay nearly $102.70 (INR 7,700 approx) and if you are a UK citizen you may be charged 173.71 GBP (INR 17,000 approx). Applicants need to submit the following documents for an Indian student visa: 

  • A passport with at least two blank pages and an expiration date of more than 180 days is required.
  • Two passport-size pictures
  • A photocopy of your passport is required.
  • You’ll need proof of where you’ll be staying in India
  • A hard copy of your online application
  • A letter of acceptance from your university
  • Financial proof that you have enough money to meet your living expenses in India

Also Read: Germany Work Permit Visa

How to Apply for a Visa?

Credit: ViBhu TV

The procedure of applying for a student visa is simple and quick as long as you have all of the essential documents: 

  • Enrol at a university: Receive the offer letter from the university and pay the enrolment fees. 
  • Fill out the online application form: Ensure to complete all the personal information carefully otherwise your visa application may be refused. 
  • Upload Documents: Candidates need to attach the required documents according to the instructions from the authorities of the concerned country. It includes educational qualifications, a letter of acceptance, a sponsorship letter, and a personal statement among others. 
  • Pay online: You will electronically pay your student visa cost through net banking, debit card, or credit card. 
  • Submit the application: Before submitting your application, take some time to proofread it and edit it if necessary because you won’t get a second chance after sending it off. 
  • Print a copy of your application: It’s important to have a hard copy of your application form because you will be required to present this document to the concerned authorities of that country later on. 
  • Book an appointment with the closest Embassy or consulate: Remember to bring along your application form and specified documents. 
  • Wait for the decision: The standard visa processing time depends on the country you have applied for. If you are successful, you can have your visa mailed to you, or may receive a courier with a stamped passport or you may need to collect from the embassy or consulate. 

Requirements for Visa Extension

A visa is only valid for a certain amount of time. If your study permit expires before you finish your programme, you must apply for a study permit renewal. You should submit your application at least 30 days before your existing permission expires. Candidates can send in their applications by mail or submit them online.

SOP for Student Visa 

Source: Canada Updates

Sponsorship Letter for Student Visa

Sample Sponsorship Letter for Student Visa


Can I work in the USA on a student visa?

Yes, you can! Students can work in the USA while studying but there are some restrictions. International students with F-1 or M-1 visas can work on campus. 

Is a student visa easy to get?

Attaining a student visa is not an easy process. To fulfill your dream of studying abroad, Leverage Edu experts can help you!

Can I get a PR after studying in the UK?

To get a PR in the UK, one needs to demonstrate stable financial funds with a full-time job and good moral conduct. 

Which country provides student visas easily?

Presently, the top five countries with easy immigration for further studies include Germany, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. 

Can I get a PR in Canada after 1 year?

One of the best ways to get a PR after a 1-year study program is to apply for the Postgraduate Work Permit after completing your study program. 

This was all about what is a student visa and how to apply! Are you planning to study abroad in the countries like USA, UK, or Canada but are not sure where to start? Get in touch with Leverage Edu experts to kickstart your study abroad journey.

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UK Visa Requirements for Indians Super Priority Visa UK 
Permanent Resident Visa Canada 2024UK Spouse Visa: Fees, Documents, Rules
Can You Study in the USA with a B2 Visa?All About France Visa and Its Types 

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