How Do I Get a Student Visa to Study Abroad?
Around the world, college students make great use of study abroad programs. But, in the months leading up to their semester abroad, the students might run into a hurdle in the form of a travel visa.
The application process for obtaining a student visa can be daunting, mainly because the process may vary from state to state. Although, if you follow the same guidelines for each country, the process for obtaining a visa becomes less complicated.
The best way to get started is to check with the State Department. They offer International Travel Country Specific Information for visa and passport details. Though the page doesn’t have a link to the actual visa application, it still provides plenty of information about the location of the location of U.S. Embassies and Consulate offices.
The next step is to visit the Border Security website of the country where you plan to study for your degree. While these websites may have a few differences, they all navigate relatively the same.
For example, most of them have an FAQ section. All these sections should address the basic of student visa applications specifically. The sections titled “Students” or “Studying In” Should help explain the application process.
Other materials you will also need include:
A letter from the educational institution you wish to attend (on the school’s letter head). The letter needs to state the amount of your tuition, room and board costs, and proof of housing.
Written proof that you have a certain amount of money in your bank account with your name on it. This step is important for local governments, as it shows you have enough money to live abroad during your studies.
This amount is separate from the cost of your room and board. For example, if you plan to study in the United Kingdom, you may need as much as $5,400 in the bank. The letter from the bank must also be on their letterhead.
You will also need proof that you can pay for your tuition. Students can usually provide proof by having your university write a letter to the foreign college where you plan to attend.
Once you finish your visa application online, you’ll need to get your fingerprints taken at the nearest migration center or consulate. The country where you’re studying will then have that on file during your trip. That way, you can have your fingerprints done electronically without having to physically visit the country.
No matter where you’re studying abroad, all students will need a passport. You should apply for the passport at least a few months before applying for the student visa.
When you receive your passport in the mail, you’ll then need to add any required paperwork to your application. Additional paperwork can include:
- A letter from the college you wish to attend
- Written proof that you have adequate money in your bank account
- Proof that you can pay for your tuition
After collecting that paperwork, students should mail the package to the foreign university of your choice. If approved, a student visa should then come in the mail.
Do you have any other questions about travel visas? Passport Health can help! Give us a call at or take a look at any of our other passport and visa services.
Written for Passport Health by Jerry Olsen. He has over 15 years of combined experience as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City. Jerry’s writing topics range from health care, travel, life science to medical technology and technical writing.