Student Visas

One of the first things you will learn when studying or working abroad is that having the right paperwork in place before you go can make your life easier, including an up-to-date passport and any required visas.

In many countries around the world, along with your passport, a visa is literally your ticket to enter and travel freely. A visa is typically stamped or glued in your passport and will be inspected closely by foreign border officials.

For students, this may be called a student visa or study permit. You may have to show proof you have been accepted to an educational institution, you have enough money to pay tuition fees and expenses, you have no criminal record and you are in good health.

Unlike your passport, which is issued by your homeland’s government, a visa is an official document issued by the foreign government where you are planning to study or work. You will most likely need a visa if you are planning to stay more than 90 days, however, some countries (such as Canada) exempt students who are taking a program that lasts six months or less. Still, Canada’s federal government recommends all students apply for a permit in case they want to extend their visit.

To learn whether you need a visa in other countries, research the foreign land’s entry and exit requirements, and application procedures. In some cases, you can apply online, at the country’s local embassy, or (rarely) at the airport once you get there.

For those studying in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides information at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/index.asp.