Visas For Education Abroad - Rest of the World

August 27, 2013

 

The following information is designed to assist education abroad advisers as they guide their students to obtain a student visa to study abroad. NAFSA’s EA Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee members review these pages regularly for accuracy, but the consulate to which the student applies for a visa may change its procedures. Students and advisers should confirm specific procedures with each relevant consulate.

More information about visas for education abroad

Argentina

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Argentine consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?

Students can enter on a tourist visa and apply for the residency permit in Argentina. Occasionally, however, U.S. airlines do not seem to have this information, and a student can be denied boarding at the airport. It can be helpful to bring the embassy’s Web site information to the airport to verify Argentina’s official policy.

Australia

Where are the consulates in the US?
View list of Australian consulates.

What should I know about the student visa process?
The Australian Student Visa application process is completely electronic for U.S. citizens and for most other nationalities. The student visa is recorded electronically with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). Students will need their Confirmation of Enrollment form (COE), their passport (be sure the passport will remain valid until 6 months after the return to the U.S), a major credit card (to pay the application fee) and the ability to print the confirmation. Based on the answers given in the application the Australian Government may require X-Rays and Medical Forms. They will advise via email with the specific information when it is required. View the Electronic Visa Application.

Austria

What should I know about the student visa process? United States citizens visiting Austria as tourists for less than 90 days do not need a visa. Students entering Austria for more than 90 days but less than 180 days need to acquire a visa before departure. Information about the process and requirements for students staying in Austria for less than 180 days can be found on the Austrian Embassys website.

Students studying in Austria for more than 180 days are advised to apply for the Residency Permit with the Austrian Embassy prior to departure. Although the Embassy website indicates students studying in Austria for more than 180 can apply for this permit upon arrival, some airlines have been reluctant to allow students to board their international flight without the residency permit approval from the Austrian Embassy. If a student elects to wait and complete the entire process in Austria, they should bring a copy of the Embassy web page to the airport to present to airline officials and be prepared for possible complications. The documentation should specifically state that a visa is not needed. More information can be found on the Austrian Embassy's website.

Brazil

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Brazilian consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
General information about the Brazilian visa process can be found at http://chicago.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/visas.xml.

Several Brazilian Consulates are experiencing technical difficulties in visa processing. Currently, these issues are affecting the following Consulates: San Francisco, Hartford, New York and Washington, DC. Visa processing delays are expected to last through the end of March. Contact the relevant Consulate or Embassy for more details.

Please note that institutions in the Houston Consulate jurisdiction should use caution when utilizing visa agencies to apply for visas. The Houston Consulate's jurisdiction includes the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The practices governing the use of these agencies have fluctuated in recent months. As of 1/31/13, only the agencies listed at http://houston.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/agencies.xml are permitted to submit visa applications on behalf of travelers. For more information on the Houston Consulate's policies governing the use of visa agencies, visit http://houston.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/agencies.xml.

China

As of February 9, 2012, the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC has stopped accepting applications for anyone that is not within their jurisdiction. Chinese visa applications must be submitted at the various consulates around the country that have jurisdiction over a person’s state of residence. Please note many consulates are very particular and hand written forms are no longer accepted - application forms must be completely and accurately completed on a computer.

You will need the latest version of Adobe Reader in order to complete this form online and print it.

  • Section 1.11 Must have a drivers license or state ID number.
  • Section 2.5 Must contain an actual address and phone number of either a hotel or sponsoring organization in China.
  • Section 3.6 Must always contain information on parents, and spouse, if married.
  • Any fields that are truly not relevant must contain N/A.

Please be aware consulates are rejecting anything that is not 100% complete.

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Chinese consulates

Is a student visa required?
Students who will study or complete an internship in China for less than six (6) months need to apply for an F visa before departure. Detailed information about F visas can be found here. A description of the requirements, fees, and processing times can also be found at this site.

Students who will study or complete an internship in China for more than six (6) months need to apply for a student visa before departure. A student visa is referred to as an X Visa. An X visa is usually a single entry visa. Students are given permission to enter China within a 3-month period and should plan to arrive during that time. Read the detailed information about X visas for China. A description of the requirements, fees, and processing times can also be found at this site.

Students on an X visa must apply for a Residence Permit within 30 days of arrival.

Visa applications must be submitted in person at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Read a list of the embassies and consulates in the United States. Handwritten applications are no longer accepted. All applications must be completed using a computer and Adobe Reader or other PDF program and submitted in print as a PDF file. This is still a paper application but it must be prepared with a computer. If a student is unable to bring the application materials to the appropriate location in person, they can designate someone else to deliver the materials on their behalf. Applications that are mailed or faxed to the Embassy or Consulate will not be accepted. No appointment is necessary to drop off a visa application. Non-US citizens will need to consult with the consulate regarding any additional requirements.

How long does a student visa take and when should my student apply?
Visas are typically processed within four (4) business days. Express and rush services are available for an additional charge. The pick-up time should be indicated on the receipt that a student receives when the application is dropped off. If the student is unable to return to pick up the visa, he/she can designate someone to pick up the visa on his/her behalf. This individual will need the original receipt at the time of pick up.

Batch processing for institutions may be possible, may be processed on the same day, and may have an additional fee for rush processing. In some cases, the consulate may mail visa applications back to the batch processing institution.

Can a student obtain a student visa once overseas?
No. Students must apply for a visa before departure.

Can a student re-enter China after the visa is granted?
Yes. The residency permit that the student applies for after arriving in China allows the student to re-enter China.

Czech Republic

Students planning to study in the Czech Republic should not leave for the Czech Republic without a student visa, as only tourists are allowed to enter without a pre-approved visa. If a Consulate process is delayed, students should still not enter the Czech Republic until they have the student visa stamped in their passport.

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Czech Republic consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
Students are required to purchase Czech insurance as part of the student visa process.

Full details on the requirements of the travel medical insurance can be found here.

The policy must have:

  • The policy must NOT exclude coverage for injuries caused by “the applicant’s intentional acts”
  • The policy must NOT exclude coverage for injuries caused by “the consumption of alcohol, narcotics and psychotropic substances”

The insurance may be purchased from a U.S. company, however, when submitting the visa application materials, the Proof of Travel Medical Insurance MUST be accompanied by a certified Czech translation of the policy and the terms of the insurance that show it meets the requirements noted above.

Several Czech insurance companies offer the necessary policy, and two of those provide online enrollment. The basic cost will be roughly $120-$170 for minimum period of four months; higher cost for upgrade plans.

Insurance Companies

  • Maxima pojištovna, a.s.
  • Pojištovna VZP, a.s.
  • Slavia pojištovna, a.s.
  • UNIQUA pojištovna, a.s.
  • VICTORIA VOLKSBANKEN pojištovna, a.s.
 

Denmark

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Danish consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
Students can enter as tourists and apply for the residence permit once in Denmark. Students should purchase a round-trip ticket, as airlines may deny boarding if the student only has a one-way airline ticket.

India

What changes have there been to the Indian visa process?
Effective July 1, 2013, the Consulates of India transitioned visa processing from Travisa to BLS International. An official announcement of this change can be found on the Embassy of India website.  Information about BLS’s processes for visas is available on their website.  Please note that there are jurisdictional changes as a result of this transition.  A list of the new jurisdictions can be found on the BLS International website.  Applicants must apply in the appropriate jurisdiction. 

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Indian Consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
Indian Consulates are now requiring that the Proof of Residence, typically a driver's license, match the present address and not just the permanent address. Previously if the permanent address was in the same jurisdiction they would accept the ID showing the permanent address but this is no longer acceptable. They have added an option to assist with this. For College/University students living on campus in university housing/dormitories, a letter from your institution on the institution's letterhead explaining the exact address that you presently reside in will suffice.

Although the process is straight forward, delays can occur.  As of August 23, 2013, many institutions are reporting delays in processing, and passports are being returned 48-72 hours before departure.  Students of certain family backgrounds will experience delays.  Visit the BLS website (http://www.visa.blsindia-usa.com/processingTime.php) for more information.  Check the Indian website for more information.  Advisors have also reported that a visa processing agency can help facilitate the process with BLS International and make inquiries with BLS International if any difficulties or delays with the visa process occur.

Mexico

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View a list of Mexican consulates.

What should I know about the student visa process?
U.S. citizens entering Mexico for less than 180 days do not need prior entry clearance.

U.S. citizens entering Mexico for more than 180 days require a visa and a valid passport. Applications should be submitted through the appropriate Mexican consulate.

Processing procedures and requirements can vary from consulate to consulate. Be sure to double check with the consulate to which your student is applying. An explanation of the process can be found on the Embassy’s Web site.

Generally, there are six requirements for the Mexican visa:

  1. Valid passport with a photocopy of the page containing the bearer’s personal data, picture, and signature.
  2. Original letter of acceptance from the school or university in Mexico. The academic institution must be certified by the Ministry of the Interior (Gobernación) to receive foreign students. The letter should be recent and state the term or academic year of studies and the name of the program that the applicant is going to enroll in. The consulate is authorized to issue a student visa providing that the applicant is seeking a bachelor’s degree or above.
  3. Letter from the local police department stating that the applicant has no criminal record. This letter must be notarized.
  4. Notarized letter of financial support issued by a banking institution stating that the applicant will receive an amount of at least $300 monthly to cover living expenses while in Mexico in addition to the funds to cover tuition.
  5. Two front-view, color passport pictures with a white background (photo booth pictures are not accepted).
  6. A completed application form (200kb Adobe PDF)

Processing usually takes 3–5 days.The materials should be submitted and retrieved in person.

Netherlands

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Dutch consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
Effective February 1, 2013, the fees for residence permits to study in The Netherlands were reduced to €300.   An announcement regarding this change can be found on the fees for study page of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service.  Information about the process and requirements for students studying in The Netherlands can be found on the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Ministry website

Russia

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Russian consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
An original invitation must be sent from the sponsor in Russia to be submitted with the application. There is a new online application and the information from the invitation must be accurately entered on the application. The application cannot be altered in any way by hand.

Sweden

Where are the consulates in the United States?
View list of Swedish consulates

What should I know about the student visa process?
Students can enter as tourists and apply for the residence permit once in Sweden. Students should purchase a round-trip ticket, as airlines may deny boarding if the student only has a one-way airline ticket.

Turkey

The Turkish Consulate in Chicago has posted a visa processing time of 4-6 weeks as they must wait for approval from Turkey. Students should plan for this and make sure they have enough time for their visa to be processed.

Students cannot travel on a tourist visa and change status after arrival in Turkey. There have been reports of students being sent back to the U.S. if they have the tourist visa.