Getting my student visa was stressful. I thought, “Oh yeah getting all my papers together will be easy! I can do it a few days before I need to go.”
no. no you can’t.
To get my student visa I needed the following:
*Disclaimer* Do not use my list as YOUR list, as other countries may require more or less or different documents. This is simply an example list.
- Completed Visa form (found on the consulate website)
- Passport sized photograph
- Evidence of Sufficient funds for your stay (I needed to have proof of at least 420 Euros per month, a bank statement works for this)
- Affidavit of Financial Support (if the bank account supporting you is not in your name)
- Letter of Acceptance from Study Abroad School
- Letter of Acceptance from Current School
- Proof of Housing (Lease contract & photo ID of landlord); A hotel or airbnb reservation for at least 2 weeks will suffice for this
- Proof of Insurance
- Copy of flight reservation
- Visa Fee/Cost
- Self Addressed Prepaid USPS Express mail envelope (if you are going to have them mail your stuff back)
WORD TO THE WISE: The visa goes in your passport, so you don’t get your passport back until your visa is processed and placed in.
I’ve never had a passport before or gone out of the country so how was I supposed to know this?! If you need your passport for whatever reason make sure you get your visa way in advance, so you don’t worry a lot like I did.
Your school should give you a guide on how to obtain all your documents. I would suggest gathering them all a week in advance. If you receive hardcopies, scan them and create a folder on your computer labeled “Visa.” One of my documents had a faded signature, due to a printing error, and I had to email it to the consulate. You may need to send out several emails to your study abroad advisor and/or several departments at your university.
The day before your visa appointment, make sure you have all the papers & items ready in hand.
I was really anxious at the visa office, especially since I wasn’t sure if they were going to take my passport and whether I would get it back in time. During the busy months it may take up to 3-4 weeks, depending on your country. At the italian one I was told it would be in the mail within a week. Although I drove back up to Houston two days later and my passport was there waiting for me, with my student visa in place. I wrote a blog post about what it was actually like being at the Visa Office, check it out here.
If you have any questions, or concerns feel free to reach out. I’m no expert, but maybe I can help you keep calm.