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Student visa – What does it mean? 

​S. Aditya,

What is a student visa?

The residence of an individual in a country is based upon their nationality or is authorized by the hosting nation by providing a visa that is attached to the passport. A valid passport and visa are mandatory for any foreign national in order to reside in another nation. The absence of such documents might land an individual in legal trouble. Governments after analyzing the intentions and the financial capability of the applicant permit them a visa for a limited time duration. This also helps in differentiating between illegal immigrants and legal travelers or visitors.

Visas range from tourist visas to student visas, where the former authorizes an individual to visit a foreign nation for tourism purposes, the latter allows an individual to pursue their academic interest in the institutions of high repute in a foreign land. The idea of visas fundamentally aims to balance the interests of various foreign nationals intending to pursue education in another nation and the issue of unchecked migration overpopulating such nations.

When is a Student Visa required?

As the name suggests, a student visa is issued to students intending to pursue academic education in a foreign nation taking into consideration their intention to pursue a better quality of education, career opportunities, or learning better skills, etc. Irrespective of the field of study, ranging from engineering, law, medical, etc., a student needs to receive their visas from the consulates of the respective host nations located in their own nation. 

A student visa is issued by the authority of the hosting nation once they are convinced that the intention of the student is to gain better education and not to settle in the hosting nation, they also take into consideration various factors such as the financial capacity of such students to sustain in the hosting nation, their language efficiency, and in many cases medical insurance are also taken into consideration while issuing such visas. Even UNESCO takes a special interest in this event of migration for education and has termed these students as Internationally mobile students where it takes into consideration the mutual benefit harvested by the hosting nation and the individual by this exchange. There has been a dedicated Education at Glance report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which takes into consideration the various facets of international education and standards.
The most popular education destinations opted by the Indian students are the USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Australia, Singapore, France, and New Zealand.

How To Get a Student Visa?

It is pertinent for a student to be selected by an Educational institute in the hosting country which issues an admission letter in the name of the student which can then be used by such student to approach the consulates of the hosting country in India to get a visa. Let us first understand the process of getting a student visa in the United States of America. This visa is called the F1 visa in the United States and the fundamental requirement for issuing an F1 visa for a student by the consulate/embassy of America situated in India is simply the verification of the intention of the student for visiting the United States. Therefore the interview questions probe into the facets like the return of the applicant to India, their statement of purpose or the objective with which they want to pursue their academics in the United States, etc, apart from taking into consideration the issues like financial capability, language proficiency, and medical fitness.

In the United Kingdom, these student visas issued to the Indian students intending to pursue their studies in the UK are known as Tier 4 general student visas. In Canada, there is a practice of taking a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) Worth 10 thousand Canadian dollars before issuing the visas in order to ensure that the visa candidate can support himself in Canada. There are various Student Partnership Program (SPP) where the formalities involved in the process of government approval have been made a little lenient but such processes have been availed by very few educational institutions of Canada and therefore Non-Student Partnership Program  Visa is also very common.
The student visa issued by the respective consulates of the hosting countries is a limited-term document authorizing the Indians to pursue their academic objective which could be for an undergraduate degree, postgraduate degree, or for doctoral studies, etc. in such a hosting country. The visas must be renewed by such students before their expiry which could otherwise result in strict penalties and in the worst-case scenario, deportation. It is advisable to renew the visa one month prior to the date of expiry so that no difficulty is caused to the applicant.

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