So your daughter has gained admission in a college abroad – congratulations! You must be feeling a sense of well-deserved relief, the end of a long marathon. But wait. While your sense of relief is well-earned, it is not the end of the journey – there are still some important things to tackle before she flies off into the wide blue yonder to start a new chapter of her life. Getting a visa, buying what she needs abroad, and orienting herself mentally as to what to expect in her new life will help her immensely in the adjustment process.
Getting a student visa
Once the letter of admission to the foreign university arrives, the next step is to make arrangements for the visa. How should you go about it? Since each country has its own rules, which are not only very specific but can also change from day-to-day, we are only going to list the general dos and don’ts for a student visa application.
- You would have received some kind of written affirmation from the university, accepting your daughter as its student (the I-20, acceptance letter etc) by June of the same year. If you have not, it is worth your while to follow up with the institution, as it can otherwise delay the visa procedure.
- Prepare all the financial and supporting documents. You will need evidence to prove that you can support her education in the country she is headed to. For example, if you are a salaried employee, you will have to provide income tax documents and original bank statements. If you own a business, you will have to provide business registration, licences, tax documents and bank statements. Ensure that there is evidence that establishes her educational achievements, such as her school transcripts and diplomas; she will also need the standardised test scores (SAT, TOEFL etc) as required by her college or university. You will also need documentation that can assure the visa authorities that she is likely to return home once she completes her studies abroad.
- Make an application for a student visa depending on the country she is going to. Each country has its own procedures and timelines; ensure that you follow these carefully. Copies/ originals of some requested documents need to be sent in, and some questions need to be answered on the visa form. Ensure that all the information is correct and accurate; it is best to give truthful answers during the visa interview. Keep a copy of all the documents that have been submitted.
- Most likely, there will be an interview at the consulate/embassy; do ensure that she prepares well for it. While everyone has horror stories to relate about the evil visa officers who grill you and reject the visa application, a genuine aspiring student who has all her papers with her and with a sensible head on her shoulders usually has nothing to fear.
Preparing to leave