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How to apply for a student visa to study abroad

When you move abroad to go to university, the chances are that you will need to apply for a student visa to allow you to move to and study in your new country. You will typically be granted a visa to cover the duration of your studies. We talk through when and how to apply for a student visa, and also how much you can expect to pay for your visa.

How do you know when you need a student visa?

Unless you are a student moving within EU countries, if you are moving abroad for your studies, there is a high chance that you will require a student visa. To be absolutely sure, it is best to contact your university at the start of your application process to check whether a student visa will be required.

When do you apply for a student visa?

Although the exact process will vary depending on the country you are moving to, you should generally apply for your student visa after you have chosen and applied for your university course, and have been offered a place of study at that university. The earlier that you apply, the better, allowing yourself as much time as possible to complete the application process.

We shall describe the process of applying for student visas in several popular study destinations to show that the process of applying for a student visa in different study locations can vary by country.

How to apply for a US student visa

If you are moving to the US for a university degree course, you will need to apply for an F-1 visa.

When your application to a US SEVP-approved university has been approved, you will be issued with a form called Form I-20. You use this form to register for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and at this stage you will have to pay the SEVIS fee, which is $350 for an F-1 visa. You pay for this using the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

You must visit your nearest US embassy by appointment to make your US visa application. In some circumstances, you may be eligible to apply via courier service, by sending your application to your US embassy. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 days before you attend your visa appointment, and bring proof of your payment along with you.

You must bring a completed DS-160 form along with you to your visa appointment, along with several items of documentation, including your passport, a recent photo of yourself and your Form I-20.

How to apply for a Canadian student visa

For students moving to Canada to attend university, the document required is called the Study permit. This can be applied for online or on paper, but applying online is the most straightforward option if you can do it.

Before you begin your application process, you should have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI). A full list of these can be found on the Government of Canada website. You should aim to begin your Study permit application as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance.

As part of your application process, you will be required to provide documentation to support your application. You will also be required to pay fees for your application to cover processing and biometric fees.

How to apply for an Australian student visa

When traveling to Australia as an international student, you will need to apply for a Subclass 500 Student visa. The application process for this visa is made online using the ImmiAccount service.

Before you begin applying for your student visa, you must have received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your university, which confirms that you have been offered a place of study and that you have accepted this place. Ideally you should make your application as soon as you can after receiving your CoE.

You will need to gather all required documents for your online application. These can be found on the Australian Government Document Checklist Tool. During your application, you will pay your visa application fee, which is currently AUD $710.

How to apply for a New Zealand student visa

Students may apply for a New Zealand student visa either online, or by paper. The most common type of visa for a student attending university in New Zealand is the Fee Paying Student Visa. We recommend applying online as it generally works out cheaper, and it is the most convenient option to remain paper free and to give you more easy access to your records. You can find the cost of your application for a Free Paying Student visa online. Generally, online application fees are NZD $430, whilst applying by paper can cost ~NZD $540.

Before you begin your application for a New Zealand student visa, you must have been accepted for a place on a course at a university approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. You must also be able to provide proof of funding for your tuition fees, living expenses and travel back out of New Zealand. More information can be found on the New Zealand Government website.

To make your application online, you must sign up to account with the New Zealand Government’s RealMe service. You may be required to post your passport to New Zealand during the application process. When you receive your visa, if you have made your application online, you will receive an eVisa, which can be printed, and can also be kept on your mobile phone for your convenience.

How to apply for a UK student visa

When applying to a UK university as an international student, you must wait for your unconditional offer of a place on a university course. The university must be on the register of licensed sponsors for students.

They will then send you a document containing your Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS), which is a reference number.

At this point, you may begin your UK student visa application, using your CAS reference number. Applications for a UK student visa are made online.

As part of your application to come to the UK to study, if you will be in the UK for a period of time longer than 6 months, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which covers your UK healthcare during the period of your studies on the NHS.

Further information about the UK student visa application process can be found on the website.

How to apply for a German student visa

Citizens of the UK, Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Korea (republic), Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the United States of America do not require a student visa to enter Germany. However, all non-EU International students staying in Germany for a period of longer than 90 days, which is most International students attending a Full-time degree programme, are required to apply for a residence permit.

International students from all other nationalities are required to obtain a student visa before traveling to Germany. Applications for a student visa are started by completing the online VIDEX application form. You should collect the required documents for this application process before you begin, including a letter of acceptance from your university. A list of further required documentation can be found on Germany embassy websites. You will be required to pay visa fees during your application. When this is complete, you must wait for a response to your application. At this point you must then book an appointment with your local Germany embassy for an appointment to apply for your student visa.

How to apply for a French student visa

To apply for a student visa to attend university in France, you must have been accepted for a place at a French higher education institution. As an international student studying for a degree, or a course longer than six months, you should apply for a long stay visa.

Applications for a French long stay visa are made online using the official French visa website. The website will ask you some initial questions about your visa application, before providing you with the application fee amount and list of required documentation for your application. You will be asked to register an account on the France-Visas website and then submit your visa application online.

The application fee for students outside the EEF-procedure countries or territories is €99, and for those within the EEF-procedure the fee is €50. The list of countries is given on the French visa website.

How to apply for an Italian student visa

Students moving to Italy for their studies need to apply for the Italian student visa. Before beginning the application process, you must have proof of your enrollment in a course at an Italian university.

To make your application for an Italian student visa, you must make an application appointment with the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country, to which you must bring a completed application form, along with other supporting documents. A list of these documents can be found on the Italian Government website.

Once you have entered Italy with your Italian student visa, you must also apply for an Italian residence permit, which is a legal requirement if you intend to stay in Italy for a period of longer than 3 months.

How much does a student visa cost

When applying for a student visa, no matter the country, you will be required to pay application processing fees. The price of a student visa varies depending on the country you are applying to. Prices range from €50 (around $53) for a student visa for Italy, up to around $510 for a student visa for the USA. We have listed the prices for a student visa in several popular study abroad destination countries for easy comparison:

USAUSD 510$510
CanadaCAD 150~$110
AustraliaAUD 710~$468
New ZealandNZD 375~$230
UKGBP 490~$618
GermanyEUR 75 / EUR 80~$82 / ~$87
FranceEUR 50 / EUR 99~$54 / ~$108
ItalyEUR 50~$54

Generally, student visas for European countries like France, Germany and Italy are far cheaper than other popular study abroad destinations such as the USA, the UK and Australia.

What do I do when I have applied for my student visa?

Once you have completed the application process for a student visa, in most cases you must now wait for the decision on your visa application. Ideally you should make your visa application process very soon after receiving your offer of a course to study abroad. This will give you time to react to any unforeseen circumstances.

In the meantime, you should continue getting ready to begin studying abroad, by looking at travel, accommodation, and preparing for your studies.

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How much does it cost to study abroad
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