10 Common Student Visa Questions

In this article we answer 10 common questions about applying for a student visa to help make your visa application quick and easy.

It is important that you keep up to date with the current visa requirements to guarantee visa application success for your chosen destination. You can keep up to date by reading our free student visa articles on our blog, and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

1. Where do I start?
2. Where do I apply for my student visa?
3. What type of student visa do I need?
4. How much money will I need?
5. How good must my English be?
6. Can my family travel with me?
7. Can I work on my visa?
8. How long can I stay?
9. Are Governments trying to make it harder for international students?
10. Where can I find more information?

1. Where do I start?

You can’t apply for a student visa until you have been accepted on to a course in that country. So, if you haven’t already done so you need to submit an application for the course you wish to study. Not only that, but you must also ensure that the course you apply for meets the visa requirements of that country.Your student visa acceptance will be determined by a number of factors:

  • Your country of citizenship
  • Your chosen destination country
  • The course you wish to study
  • The institution you wish to study at
  • How you plan to fund your study

Different countries have differing visa systems and acceptance procedures, however they are usually very similar:

  • To study in the UK you need 40 points to apply for a UK student visa through the UK points based system. 30 points are awarded for doing a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a sponsorship). 10 points are awarded for proving that you have enough money to cover your study and living costs. Find out more about UK Student Visas.
  • To study in the US you need to prove that you have a permanent residence in your country of citizenship, have the funds to support your study and intend to return home once your study is complete. Find out more about US Student Visas.
  • To study in Australia you also need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your course fees and living costs. You will also be assessed based on the subject you have chosen and your country of citizenship.
  • To study in Europe you do not require a visa if your country of citizenship is an EU member. If you are outside of the EU you should check your chosen destination’s visa requirements for more specific details.

Wherever you chose to study we advise that you apply for your visa as soon as possible.

2. Where do I apply for my student visa?

Usually you will apply for your student visa in your own country. This will require you to visit an application center where you will submit your application paper work and provide any biometric information that is required.

Below is a list of Visa application centers for the following countries:

3. What type of student visa do I need?

If you are studying abroad for your post-16 education you will require a general student visa.

  • In the UK this is called a Tier 4 (General Student) visa.
  • In the US this is called a F-1 visa.
  • In Australia your visa type will depend on your country of citizenship and your chosen subject.

4. How much money will I need?

This is one of the most common questions and is an important factor in your visa application process. It is necessary for you to prove that you have sufficient funds for your course fees and living costs, however the money required can vary depending on country and region within that country. Some countries require you to prove that you have funds for the entirety of your course, while others only require proof of funds for the 1st year. You can use StudyCostCompare to compare the costs of studying abroad.

For a UK student visa you will need to prove you have funds for the following:

  • First year of course fees
  • £5,400 (£7,200 inner London) to cover living costs for nine months

For an Australian student visa:

  • Return air fare
  • Course fees
  • AUD 18,000 per year living costs

For a US student visa:

  • Proof of liquid assets to cover cost of first year study and living expenses
  • Proof of readily available funds to cover remaining years of study

We have created the diagram below to help visualise this difference by country for required proof of funds for 1st year postgraduate study.

1st year postgraduate student visa funds proof

Please note these figures are an approximation for proof of funds required for 1st year.

5. How good must my English be?

Obviously the course you have applied for may require you to have already completed an English language certificate, but in addition to that tighter immigration rules mean you must prove you have a good understanding of English at the border crossing.

For example new changes to the UK student visa mean that if you are unable to communicate without a translator you will be denied entry.

6. Can my family travel with me?

Your family can travel with you if you meet each countries visa requirements. In the case of the UK student visa you must be on a postgraduate course at a University of more than a 12 month duration, or a Government sponsored student.

For the US student visa you will have to prove your relationship to your dependent, and they will also have to apply for their own visas.

For the Australian student visa you will have to prove that you have a sufficient level of funds available to support each dependent.

We advise that you check the specific requirements for your chosen destination.

7. Can I work on my Visa?

Generally on a student visa you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. You can only start working once your course has started.

The same rules usually apply for any dependents you may have.

8. How long can I stay?

On a student visa you are allowed to stay for the duration of your course, as specified in your initial visa application.

You will also be allowed to stay for a short time following the completion of your studies however this can be anything from 60 days to 4 months depending on your chosen destination.

9. Are governments trying to make it harder for international students?

While it may appear that countries are making it more difficult to study overseas the changes in the immigration laws do actually protect your international education.

The aim of these restrictions is to prevent bogus and unrecognised colleges offering poor study courses to international students. Therefore ensuring you receive an excellent education from a recognised institution.

10. Where can I find more information?

For more information on student visas StudyLink recommend the following resources:

Good look with your visa application. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and if you think any of your friends will find this useful be sure to share it with them via Facebook and Twitter.