What do the Visa Officers look for in a Student Visa Application?

 

  • Bonafide Student– An integral part of a student’s assessment for a visa is to understand whether he/she is a bonafide student or not. This is to say, that whether the student is a genuine student who aspires to study abroad and has the academic and financial capability to pursue his studies overseas. This also essentially means that the student must not be somebody merely using a study visa to enter a country for purposes other than studying. Also, the Visa Officers need to ensure that student is enrolled in an academic program after getting a student visa and not resort to unauthorized work or compromise with his/her student status after the grant of a visa.
  • Non-Immigrant Intent- Commonly, students and visa advisors look at a student visa as a route to eventually work or settle in that country. This strictly goes against the principle of a student visa. A student is required to clearly establish before the consulate that he has no intentions of immigrating or settling in that country.
  • Choice of Program- The Visa Officer would need to look into whether the academic program the student aspires to study for is related to his/her previous field of studies. Also, the visa officer would need to understand how studying for a program abroad would contribute to his/her career plans. Basically, there has to be a logical fit between what the student studied, what he/she intend to study and how that education is important to fulfilling the career goals.
  • Choice of University/College– Why a student chose a particular university would be another concern for the consulate. How well he/she researched other colleges/universities before finalizing on the one selected would be critical to their understanding of one as a bonafide student. A meritious applicant would usually have admission letters from more than one college or university.
  • Study Abroad Destination– Why did a student choose to study in the country he/she applied for is another area of concern. The student will need to clarify the merits of studying in that country over others, and most importantly India. The visa officers usually ascertain why a student chose to go overseas and pay a heavy tuition fee, in addition to affording other expense when similar education could be available in India/home country at a much lesser cost.
  • English Proficiency Scores- To be able to study in an English-speaking country, a student’s English proficiency is expected to be at the at least competent level if not proficient. Students who fail to demonstrate a good English proficiency would stand slim chances of getting a visa as the Visa Officer would rightly question the student’s ability to be able to cope up with the requirements of an academic program in English.
  • Standardised Tests– Majority of the universities and many colleges insist upon standardised test scores like the SAT for undergraduate students, GMAT for students aspiring to study for a graduate [Masters level] Business and Management program, and a GRE for students wanting to study for any Masters Degree Program [other than Business and Management studies, like the MBA]. The purpose behind the Visa Officers’ expectation for a student to have these scores is to understand their preparedness in a competitive, international and academic environment. These tests serve as the scholastic evaluation of international students on a global platform.
  • Academic Profile– The overall profile of the student is another area where the Visa Officers need to see a clear logical transition of studies and performance throughout the student’s academic career in order to understand whether there have been consistencies or major deviations in the student’s academic profile.
  • Financial Capability- The student’s ability to fund his/her education is an important area the Visa Officers watch for. Who would be sponsoring the students’ studies and whether the sponsor is a convincing enough or not? The student must demonstrate the availability of sufficient funds to be able to pay for his/her studies and living expenses, without draining out all the savings accumulated over a period of time by the family.
  • Future Plans– The Visa officers also try to assess how the student intends using the qualification he will obtain overseas upon returning to India. Therefore, understand the student’s future plans play a pivotal role. For example, if a student proposes that studying for a program abroad would help him/she get a good job in that country; this goes against the purpose and intent for a student visa. Such a student would be looked at as a potential migrant with an intention to settle in the country permanently. Also, understanding the student’s future plans help a Visa Officer decide whether the education he/she aspires for, is critical to realize his/her career goals.
  • What would bring one back to the home country– Finally, the Visa Officers need to understand that you have solid reasons to bring you back home upon completion of your students. Things that can convince the consulate about your intentions to come back could be- having a family business to join back home, a sought-after career, well-established family to return to, familial ties etc