Admission to the university abroad is one of the most exciting moments of one’s life. If you have the crucial funding; the tuition, accommodation and maintenance fees sorted, that is even better. But it does not mean it is over
HOW TO GET THAT MUCH NEEDED VISA TO STUDY ABROAD
BY STEPHEN SSENKAABA
Admission to the university abroad is one of the most exciting moments of one’s life. If you have the crucial funding; the tuition, accommodation and maintenance fees sorted, that is even better. But it does not mean it is over. One question still looms. Will you get the travel visa to your preferred destination of studying? With more countries tightening immigration policies, getting a visa, even as a legitimate prospective international student, is becoming a nightmare.
Three years ago, James Tubu won a prestigious scholarship for his university education in the United Kingdom. “I just waited to get a call, deliver my passport and pick my visa after a few days,” he recalls. He still needed to go through the visa application process.
As some of the most popular study destinations, the UK, the US, South Africa, Sweden, Norway and Germany provide elaborate procedures for visa application for students intending to pursue further studies there. Prospective students that meet the requirements will need to prepare themselves for travel to their chosen universities for further studies. Information about the dynamics of applying for a visa then will come in handy.
The United Kingdom requires international students to apply through the Tier 4(General) category of the UK Boarder Agency (the body that oversees immigration to the UK)’s points-based system. According to the agency’s website, all adult students that fall under the Tier 4 category must satisfactorily obtain 40 points to be considered for a visa. The point’s distribution includes: “30 points for having valid confirmation of acceptance for studies. This is a letter from a recognised UK university or an approved education provider (sponsor), endorsing a student’s admission and acknowledging that they have enrolled for a course at an acceptable level at this university.” In addition to this, the agency explains, students should also meet the acceptable English language skills.
The agency adds that students may have to attend an interview with UK Border Agency officers. Lastly, prospective students gain 10 points for having enough money (also known as maintenance or funds) to cover their course fees and living costs. This includes £1,000 (aboutsh3.9m) for living costs every month if one is to study within London and £800 (sh3.1m) for those that intend to study outside London. This is in addition to course fees and applies to those that are doing courses for nine months and below. But those that study for nine months and above, according to the agency, proof of £9,000 (sh3.5m) for nine months is required, if a student is studying within London; and £7,200(sh28m) for those that are studying outside of London. This is in addition to the first year of fees.
For those students planning to study from South Africa, certain procedures will have to be followed. According to the South African Department of Home Affairs, prospective students need to obtain a study permit. This is what gives them the right to study in South Africa. “Applications for these are made in person at any South African embassy or mission.
According to the office, one will have to submit the following to obtain a study permit to South Africa: Complete application form BI-159.
The home office stresses that “One cannot fly to South Africa before their application is approved. Applicants whose applications have been approved are issued a multiple re-entry visa.”
The United States also has strict regulations for students intending to study there. All students intending to travel to the US for study purposes are required to obtain a student exchange visa, according usaeducationguides.com.
There are two kinds of student visas required, according to this website, which is categorised into: F-1 or J-1 visa for students attending an accredited US college, university, or English language institute and M-1 visa for students involved in non academic pursuits.
“It is important that applicants have been accepted into an institution after which they should provide financial guarantee proving availability of funds backed by a certificate of eligibility from the institution.
This will then be followed by visa application completion.” For students wishing to study in Germany, it will be important to be admitted to a German University or institution first. According to information from The German Academic Exchange Service, “student applicants who have not yet been admitted to a German university can apply for a student applicant visa.” This visa, says the service, “is valid for three months and can be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of studying, once the applicant has been admitted to a higher education institution.” For the most popular international students’ destinations, the above countries provide a template of what it takes to get yourself a visa. It is important that applicants start applying early and fulfill all the necessary requirements.
How to get that much needed visa to study abroad