Here's our simple guide to getting your student visa with the least amount of stress or fuss.
Do you need a visa?
The first step is to double check that you actually need a student visa. Large parts of Europe allow students from other European countries and often countries that they have close historic connections with to study visa-free. Many countries in Africa also have a similar system. Once you are sure you do need a visa, then start the application process.
Check which type
Make sure you work out whether you need a student visa or residency permit or both? With the UK’s exit from the European Union looming, many students might find that they need a residency permit to live in some European Union nations. Some countries only require international students to have a residency permit and others require a specific student visa. Other nations, like Italy, require international students to have both a student visa and a residency permit.
The vast majority of visa applications are done completely or partially online. This means you will probably find a list of documents that you need to compile to apply to your student visa, the UK Government lists them online. Most countries want proof of your financial situation, medical certificates, information about any dependents and confirmation of your place on your course.
You will want to get your postgraduate funding sorted out long before you start applying for your student visa. Unless you are being sponsored by your host nation, you will most likely need to find all of your funding from home. Keep good records of every piece of funding you are awarded, as you will need to provide evidence of how you are funding your postgraduate course. If you need additional funding support, private loans company Prodigy Finance offers international students tailor-made student loans to help support their postgraduate studies. Because Prodigy Finance offers loans specifically to students, they better understand the constraints and difficulties of student life, so their terms and conditions are better suited to students. Since they are a global company if you move internationally to continue your postgraduate studies you can continue to borrow from Prodigy Finance.
If English is not your first language, then you will probably need to prove that your English skills are of the required level. Unless your undergraduate degree was from an English speaking institution you will need to undertake an English test.
Check study & work rules
Most student visas allow students to work for a few hours outside of their studies, but check this before you start working. The majority of countries have student visas that allow working in paid employment outside of their studies, but some universities put controls on their students about working when they are not studying.
Apply in plenty of time
Finally and most importantly, apply for your student visa in plenty of time as processing times vary between nations. Most online visa applications will tell you how long it will take to process your application – just like Canada does – and this is often anything from just a few days to a few weeks.
International PG Students In The UK
There are plenty of international students choosing to study their postgraduate program in the UK – so to avoid disappointment make sure you get your visa application in in plenty of time!
This table shows the number of international students in the UK from 2013 to 2018.
Please note that the information here does not constitute financial advice. Prodigy Finance is one of many potential funding options for international postgraduate students. Other student funding options are available and Postgrad.com advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad.com accepts no responsibility for your choice of loan and does not endorse or support Prodigy Finance. Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and entered on the Financial Services Register under firm registration number 612713.