Applying for student visas to study in English speaking countries
New Zealand
South Africa
The Caribbean

Applying for student visas to study in English speaking countries

When considering applying to English schools the visa application can seem like a daunting process. The reality is that it is straight forward and similar for most countries. In some cases a visa is not required and for some countries if you are planning to study English for less than three months (occasionally six months) a visa is not required. The regulations will depend on where you come from and where you want to study. For example, students from European Union countries will not need a visa for Ireland, the UK or Malta. Japanese citizens do not need a visa for some countries unless they wish to study for more than three months.

The first step of the process is to choose a school. Once you have decided on which country you are going to study you can check with the embassy of that country to see what information in relevant to your visa application process. A list of embassies is available on the individual country pages.

Once you are sure that you are entitled to enter your chosen country you should apply to the school, the school will request full payment of the course send you a Letter of Acceptance and confirmation of payment. If for some reason you are unable to attend the course the payment is refunded, minus an administration fee (usually US$50 - $100). After you have received the documents from the school you apply to the embassy or consulate for a visa. This can be done in person, by post, or on-line in some countries. The UK and the USA require biometric data to be recorded which mean you must visit a visa application centre in person. It is only after you have received your visa that you should make travel arrangements. If your visa is turned down, any reputable school will return your school fees minus a processing fee (usually around $100US). Although there are differences between English speaking countries, usually you will require the following documentation all of which must be translated into English by a registered translator or translation service.

Documents required for a visa to study English

  • - Visa Application form
  • - Recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm), colour photographs of yourself. This should be:
        - taken against a light-coloured background
        - clear and of good quality, and not framed or backed
        - printed on normal photographic paper, and
        - full face and without sunglasses, hat or head covering unless you wear this for cultural or religious reasons (the face must not be covered)

  • - Your original passport (make sure it is not going to expire within six months of the intended period of study)
  • - The visa fee. This is not refunded and you usually pay it in the local currency of the country where you are applying.
  • - A letter from the school confirming acceptance including charges for the course
  • - Relevant diplomas or educational certificates
  • - A copy of your CV.
  • - Evidence that you have enough funds to maintain yourself for your stay. Such as a bank statement, solvency statement, tax returns, evidence of government sponsorship or a letter from a sponsor.
  • - A statement of purpose explaining why you wish to study overseas
  • - Confirmation you intend to return home. For example a photocopy of a plane ticket, letter from an employer or your university.

Translations of documents

If you provide a translation, it must:
- be in English
- not be made by any of your family members or a person with an interest in the outcome of your application
- be made by a person familiar with both languages and competent in translation work
- be prepared and certified as correct by a recognised translator from a recognised private or official translation service
- be on the official letterhead of the translation service
- have the stamp or signature of the translation service that prepared and certified it on it
- be accompanied by the original document or a certified copy

Further information such as biometric data, proof of fitness and x-rays may also be required. Regulations can change. The best and most up to date source of information is from directly from the embassy in your country. Further details are listed in the visa section of the individual country pages.

You should apply for your visa as early as possible and at least two month before your course is about to begin. In some cases it is possible to apply on line which speeds up the process. Remember also that the visa application offices will be very busy before July, August and September.

In most cases the application takes two to six weeks to process but this depends on the time of year and the country.

It is important to plan well in advance. Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Embassy. To the extent possible, students should bring the documents listed above, as well as any other documents that might help establish their ties to the local community.


Interviews with foreign embassies to obtain a student visa

When you send documentation to an embassy or have an interview the most important points to remember are that the embassy are looking for proof of the following.

Sufficient funds:
Because the embassy does not want you to work illegally, you or your sponsor needs to have enough money to support you while you are studying overseas. To prove this, you or your sponsor needs to prepare a bank statement that shows sufficient funds. It is preferable that the sponsor is in your country. The bank account should be in your country as well.

Clear study plan and purpose:
You need to explain what you want to study and why you need to study it overseas instead of in your home country. The embassy does not want you to come for different purpose than stated on your student visa. To prove this, you sometimes need to write a letter to explain your study plan and include your CV or academic history.

Intent to go back to your country after study:
You need to show strong ties to the country in which you are applying for your visa and indications that you will leave the host country upon completion of your studies. The embassy does not want you to stay illegally. To prove this, you can ask a company in your country to issue a letter that shows the company will hire you after you finish studying. Once you have decided on what kind of school you would like to study in you can use the individual country pages to find free advice and information on finding an English school in an English speaking country. Further information can be found on the individual school pages. has the biggest list of English schools on the net with English schools in the UK, English schools in Ireland, English schools in the US, English schools in Canada, English schools in New Zealand, English schools in South Africa, English schools in Malta and English schools in the Caribbean. With you can search by location to find English courses in the UK, English courses in London, English courses in England, English courses in Scotland, English courses in Wales, English courses in Northern Ireland, English courses in London, English courses in Manchester, English courses in Oxford, English courses in Glasgow, English courses in the USA, English courses in New York, English courses in LA, English courses in San Francisco, English courses in Australia, English courses in Sydney, English courses in Melbourne. English schools in the UK. Learn English in England. English courses in Ireland. English Courses in the USA. Learn English in London. Learn English in Oxford. Learn English in Glasgow. Learn English in Cambridge. Learn English in Bristol. Learn English in Brighton. Learn English in Florida. Learn English in New York. Learn English in LA. Learn English in San Francisco. Find English General English. English for business.English exams.

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