Student Visa Guide: Fees, Eligibility, Documents For A Successful Visa

What Is A Student Visa?

A student visa is a document that allows students to pursue education study programs in a foreign country. Note that a student visa is issued for the country one wants to study in and comes with an expiry date. The visa holders are thereafter required to follow certain rules set by the officials to stay legally in the country. 

You should know that having a student visa does not make you a permanent resident of that country. Most importantly, it does not give you voting rights. To get a student visa, a student must be accepted, registered, and able to pay for themselves while they complete their education.

As a student, you will be required to apply for a student visa before you start school in a foreign country.

Types Of Student Visas

There are various types of student visas that are commonly issued by the authorities to study abroad. Some of them are – 

1. F-1 Visa (United States)

This is the most common type of visa issued to people. You can apply for this visa if you are going for a program that requires you to study more than 18 hours a week. 

Some programs that fall under this category are undergraduate and graduate programs like MS, MBA, and more. F-1 visa also enables you to take up part-time jobs on campus. With this visa, you can also take up practical training after completing your degree. 

2. J1 Exchange Visitor Visa 

J1 Visa is for students who are pursuing exchange programs and visiting scholars. This includes 10-month vocational training or even research fellowships. It covers a wide range of programs including high school and university studies, teaching, internships, and more. 

3. M1 Vocational/Non-Academic Student Visa 

This visa is mainly reserved for vocational and technical schools. Applying for an M1 and F1 visa is mostly the same but the only difference is that M1 visas are time stamped. Students having an M1 visa cannot overstay their visit to a foreign country. 

4. Study Permit (Canada) 

A study permit is issued by the Canadian Government to its international students. This acts as a legal document that allows Canadian students to study at their designated institutions. With a study permit, you can also work part-time jobs on campus while completing your degree. 

5. Tier 4 (General) Student Visa (United Kingdom)

Tier 4 visa is required by students who are over the age of 16 and want to pursue their higher studies in the United Kingdom. For this, you require an acceptance letter from the university. It applies to both academic as well as non-degree courses. The best part is you can also work part-time in the UK while holding this visa. 

6. Student Visa (Australia) 

Australia has a visa scheme for international students called the Student Visa (Subclass 500). This visa lets students study full-time in registered classes and also allows them to work part-time.

7. Schengen Visa 

The European nations that make up the Schengen Area issue the Schengen visa. It permits students to spend a set amount of time studying in one of the member countries. This visa is appropriate for study or exchange programs that last for a shorter period.

It’s important to remember that student visas can have different names, standards, and application rules that vary from one country to another. In case you want to know more about them, you can take a look here

How To Apply For A Student Visa?

The process of applying for a student visa will depend upon the country where you are planning to pursue your education. Broadly, these are the necessary steps involved in the process:

1. Requirements 

Start by researching the requirements of applying for a visa from the official site of the country. List down all the documents and eligibility criteria. Research for any type of language proficiency required for the visa process. 

2. Choose A Program And College 

Select the study program and institution which is recognised as well as approved by the country’s immigration committee. For this, you have to check whether the program meets the visa requirements. 

3. Necessary Documents 

Some of the documents which you will require for applying for a visa are – 

A. Visa application 

B. Acceptance letter from college

C. Valid passport 

D. Academic transcript 

E. Language proficiency test scorecard (IELTS, TOEFL)

F. Passport-sized photograph

G. Medical examination (If instructed by visa committee)

H. Proof of financial support

I. Fees payment receipt

J. Statement of purpose 

These are some of the basic documents which are required. You can also check the official site of a particular country to understand the eligibility criteria and other details. 

4. Visa Fees 

Visa application fees are usually non-refundable. Check the specific fee amount and payment method accepted by the embassy or consulate.

5. Interview For A Visa 

As part of the procedure to obtain a visa, you can be asked to attend an interview during the application process for certain countries. You should be ready for the interview by going over your application, becoming familiar with your intended course of study, and being able to discuss the reasons why you want to study in another country.

6. Wait For Approval 

Student visas can take an uncertain amount of time to process, so it’s important to send in your application much before you want to start school. Check the official website for handling times or call the embassy to see how long it might take.

Always check the official website to get updated information as the requirements can change yearly. You can get more details here. 

When Should I Apply For A Student Visa?

This is one of the most asked questions among students who are pursuing their higher studies abroad. Honestly, the timing of applying for a student visa varies depending on the country you choose and the college you are applying to. 

The best answer to this question is to apply for a visa when you get your acceptance letter from the college. Once you have submitted the application and visa fees, the approval process takes a minimum of 3 weeks. 

Keep in mind, the visa verification process is quite tedious. You will need to research requirements, fill out the visa form with your data, and go through a medical examination to meet certain health criteria. After that, your application will be submitted to the embassy. 

Be sure to double-check what you have included in the form. Some of the documents that you submit might take longer to get verified. Hence, do not take risks and apply for a visa as soon as you receive your acceptance letter. 

Is Gap Accepted For Study Visa?

Yes, Gap is accepted on a visa considering you have good reason to back it. Visa applications may take into account gaps in your academic or work history, but it’s important to remember that this depends on your unique situation and the requirements of the visa category you are asking for. 

Preparing for entrance tests like CAT, GATE, or NEET could be a good reason to take a break, but it does not mean that you will automatically get a visa. 

USA Study Visa 

If you’re applying for a US visa, most universities accept a gap of at most 1 year. Having a gap longer than a year can make it difficult for you to get admission to universities. However, if you are able to produce concrete evidence for your gap, then there are exceptions in some universities. 

UK Study Visa

The UK accepts a study gap of 2 years for graduates and 5 years for postgraduates, allowing applicants to have a break in their education or work experience. Gap years can be justified by providing internship certificates, work experience letters, medical or health reasons, financial constraints, or other reasons.

Australia Study Visa

For an Australia Study Visa, a study gap of 1-2 years is commonly accepted. This means that students who have taken a break in their education before applying for the visa can still be eligible to pursue their studies in Australia.

Canada Study Visa

Most schools in Canada accept foreign students with study gaps. The rule is that you can take a break from school for up to 2 years for diploma and undergraduate courses, and up to 5 years for postgraduate classes.

Singapore Study Visa

In Singapore, student visa applications may consider a gap of 7-8 years in education or employment. In special cases, applications with even longer gaps are considered.  

Eligibility Criteria For Student Visa

The eligibility criteria for a student visa depend upon the country you want to study in. However, some of the most common criteria that you must meet are: 

  • You must be accepted in a study program at a qualified educational institute. 
  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student. 
  • You must prove your proficiency in the language of your study program. As most students travel to an English-speaking country, students must score passing marks in English Language Tests like IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE. 
  • You will be asked to show your financial strength to prove you can fund your stay in a foreign country. 
  • You must have a valid password with a minimum of six months of validity beyond your duration of stay. 
  • You must be in good health and you could be asked to go through certain medical tests as per the requirements. 
  • You must not have any criminal record. 

During the visa application process, you will also be required to go through an interview with the embassy officer, who will determine your eligibility for the student visa.  

Please note that different countries may have different eligibility criteria for a student visa, therefore, you will need to carefully review the required qualifications and guidelines set by the authorities of the foreign country you want to travel to. 

How Much Percentage Is Required For Student Visa?


For a Canada Student Visa, a minimum of 65% is required for the Humanities stream of class XII and 70-80% for the Science and Commerce stream of class XII.

Documents Required For Student Visa

A general overview of some of the requirements of a student visa is as follows: 

A. Acceptance Letter From The College 

An offer letter from the college ensures that you are legitimately invited to pursue a certain program in a foreign college. 

B. Financial Proof 

This is to prove that you can cover your tuition fees and accommodation for a particular duration in a foreign country. For this, you will be asked to show bank statements, scholarship letters, and sponsors. 

Note that some countries may not require any financial proof for granting a student visa.

C. Medical Fit Certificate 

Almost all visa embassies will ask you to go through a medical test to see if there’s any risk to public health. In this, you may be required to show all your vaccination certificates and medical history (in case of chronic diseases). 

D. Background Checks 

Foreign countries will conduct a background check on you to see if there are any criminal records or not. This may require you to submit a police clearance certificate or any document equivalent to that. 

E. Intention To Return 

Authorities will reject your visa if they get the sense that you are using a student visa as a means to immigrate permanently. To clarify this, they conduct a face-to-face interview. In the interview, they might ask you for a statement of purpose and to demonstrate why you want to study in that particular foreign country. 

F. Valid Passport 

You need at least 6 months’ validity on your passport to apply for a visa. Also, you need at least 2 blank pages in your passport for stamping a visa. And if you have an expired passport, you need to submit a copy of that too.  

G. Language Proficiency Test scorecard 

You might have to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE if you are moving to a country where citizens largely speak English. Accordingly, if you are applying to a German-language course, you need a certificate for that language per the CEFR-certified levels. 

It’s important to note that these are general documents, and specific requirements can vary significantly between countries. You can always check the requirements on the official website for more clarity. 

Which Country Has the Easiest Student Visa?

As per our research, it is quite easy to get a student visa to study in New Zealand. If you are staying in the country for less than 3 months, you don’t even need a visa.

It is also easy to get a visa from the Canadian government. Canada invites 1000+ immigrants every year. It has a reasonable cost of living and career opportunities there are immense. Not to mention you have universities like the University of Toronto, McGill University, and many more. 

If you have acceptance letters from top universities, the visa process will get less tedious. When applying for a student visa, the immigration authorities often consider several factors, including the credibility and reputation of the university you will be attending. 

Cost Of A Student Visa

Cost of obtaining a student visa for some of the most preferred countries by students are as follows:

Country Cost Of Visa
The USAServices Fees – $350 Application Fees – $160 (For F, J and M type)Sevis Fee for exchange visitor – $220
The United KingdomFees (General Visa) – 348 pounds Fees (for students) – 97 pounds 
Canada Study permit fees – $CAN 150
AustraliaStudy visa application – $620 
Germany Visa Fees – 75 Euro

The above table has been created based on data available on the official sites. We recommend you check the real-time updated fees for your reference as it keeps changing from time to time. 

Processing Time For Student Visa

Processing time can vary from country to country. It also depends upon the visa you are applying for. In general, it is recommended to apply well in advance as the processing time can range from a few weeks to even months. 

Country Standard Processing Time
The USAScheduling – 3 days Application processing time – 3 days to a few weeks
CanadaProcessing time is around 20-90 days 
Australia Processing time – 4 weeks 
GermanyProcessing time – 25 days Exceptional cases – 6-12 weeks which may also lead to a maximum of 3 months

Student Visa Extension

If you are studying in a foreign country on a student visa and you need to prolong your stay, you will normally need to file for a student visa extension. This is because extending your stay in a foreign country requires additional paperwork. 

Some of the common reasons for a student visa extension are an extension in course completion date, research extension, thesis date extension, medical problems, personal circumstances and family situations. 

Here is a general overview of how you can extend your F1 student visa:

1. Program End Date 

The end date of the program will be indicated on the I-20 form that will be given to you by your academic institution. After this date, you will no longer be able to continue your enrollment as an F-1 student.

2. Consult With DSO 

Make sure to plan a meeting with your DSO (Designated School Official) well in advance of the program’s completion date so that you can address your need for an extension. Your DSO will evaluate your academic progress and decide whether or not an extension is necessary based on their findings.

3. Form I-539

If the extension is granted by your DSO, you will be required to submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

4. Submit Supporting Documents 

You are required to provide supporting papers in addition to submitting Form I-539. Supporting documents include a valid passport, your photo (preferably a passport-size picture) and any other document which is specified on the official website or asked for by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

5. Payment Of Fees And Biometric Appointment 

You will be charged certain fees for applying for the I-539 form. After that, you will be required to submit your photo, signature, and even biometric fingerprints for further processing. 

On completing all the steps mentioned above, USCIS will evaluate your extension application. If it seems fit to them, your visa will be extended for a certain period. Note that this process might take even a month and hence we recommend you apply for it well in advance. 

Common Reasons For Student Visa Rejection?

If you are not careful with your visa application, there is a high chance of your student visa being rejected. This is why it becomes crucial to know the most common reason why a student visa might get rejected. Let’s take a look: 

1. Lack Of Financial Stability

Not having financial proof is one of the most common reasons for student visa rejection. The officials will review your bank statements and determine if you are eligible for a visa as per the guidelines of the country.

You must have the means to support yourself in a foreign country when it comes to tuition fees, living, and other expenses. Your student visa application may be rejected if immigration officials are concerned about your financial stability. 

2. Insufficient Documentation

For some foreign countries, it is important to have a clear travel history for your student visa application. The embassy officials are more likely to reject your visa application if your travel history is incomplete or if your identity documents are ambiguous. 

Your passport and other travel documents will also be reviewed to determine whether there are any significant gaps in your travel history. Having gaps in your travel history is a common cause of visa rejection. Therefore, submit your documents carefully and provide sufficient evidence.  

3. Intent To Leave The Country

Student visas allow you to stay in a foreign country for a short-term period. You must show that you intend to leave the country and return home after your studies when applying for a student visa. 

Fortunately, there are ways to extend your student visa through official programs that allow international students to remain in the country and find employment. However, your application may get rejected, if the embassy officers are not convinced that you will return to your home country after your visa expires. 

4. Letter Of Acceptance

Before applying for a study permit or student visa, a letter of acceptance from the institution you are planning to study is required. Your application will be rejected if you have not received your letter of acceptance from your educational institute.

5. Previous Visa Denial

In case you have already been rejected for a student visa before, there are chances that the officials see it as a black mark. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your visa will be rejected. 

How To Avoid Student Visa Rejection?

Though there is always a chance that your student visa might get rejected, these are a few ways in which you can minimise the risk:

1. Apply On Time 

Late submission of the visa application can lead to visa rejection. Consider always applying on time. 

2. Incorrect Documents 

Double-check all the necessary documents that need to be submitted along with the visa application. All the documents should be accurate and self-attested. 

3. Interview 

Try not to dodge any questions in the interview. If the interviewers get the idea that you are using a study permit as a means to get permanent residency, your visa can be rejected. 

4. SOP 

A statement of purpose showcases your academic calibre along with the reason why you have selected that particular country. For this, our tip is to stay smart, memorize all the subjects that you have studied in the past and be clear about your intentions. Thoroughly research the program you are applying to confidently deal with all the questions.

5. Academic Transcript 

When going for an interview, always carry the original copy of the certificates along with their attested versions. It is best to not leave the scope of confusion for the interviewers.  

6. Scorecard Of Language Efficiency Test 

Carry the original copy of the scorecard along with all the details of the exam such as your ID in case of any discrepancy. If anything goes south, you will have all the documents ready to showcase your actual scores. 

These are some of the things which you can look after to avoid being rejected. At the end of the day, it also depends upon the overview of the interviewers. Keep in mind, even if you are rejected once, you can always re-apply for a visa. 

Final Words 

For students who want to study abroad, getting a student visa is an important step. The process of getting a visa can be hard and take a long time, but it is important to make sure you can study in the country you want. And when there’s a will, there’s always a way!

Personal statements and statements of purpose are important parts of the application process because they let you show why you want to study abroad and what makes you qualified to do so. Before your visa interview, you should also make sure you have all the papers and fees you need. 

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can make it easier to get a student visa and study abroad to reach your academic goals and enjoy a bright career. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a student visa?

The time taken to get a student visa varies based on country. For instance, it takes a few weeks for the USA, 20-90 days for Canada, around 4 weeks for Australia, and 25 days for Germany. 

Is a bank balance required for a student visa?

Yes, to get a student visa, you are required to have a sufficient bank balance to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and other expenses. The minimum recommended balance required for different countries is USA – USD 10,000, Canada – CAD 10,000 for one year of study, and Australia – AUD 22,000. 

Which country is hardest to get a student visa?

One of the hardest countries to get a student visa from is Saudi Arabia.

How many documents required for student visa?

The documents required for a student visa may vary depending on the country. However, these are some of the must-have documents: passport, college acceptance letter, proof of financial support, fee payment receipt, passport-sized photograph, test scores, and academic transcript.