Studying abroad: When can you apply for an electronic visa?

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons, meeting new friends from different cultures or learning a new language. If you are thinking of spending time studying in another country, you may need to apply for a visa. There are many types of visas you can apply for, depending on the country you are going to visit, the length of your study or the type of education you will follow. This quick guide will help you decide the kind of visa which better suits your needs, whether it be a student visa, an eTA or an e-visitor visa.

What type of visa do I need?

A visa is a document allowing you to enter a foreign country. The kind of visa you need depends on the country you are visiting and on other factors. Some countries, like the USA, require students to apply for a proper student visa but other times, an electronic visa like the eTA Canada or the e-visitor Australia can be enough. This mostly depends on the length of time you intend to stay in the country, but also on the type of studies you will do.  If you meet the necessary requirements, applying for an electronic visa is always the best solution, as it is extremely easy and saves you a lot of time and money. 

Under what circumstances can I apply for an electronic visa? 

Some countries, like Canada or Australia, allow you to study on their soil for a short period of time without a visa. This is possible under certain circumstances. In the case of Canada, you can apply for an eTA Canada if your study program is shorter than six months. If you want to stay longer, besides applying for your eTA you must also ask for a Study Permit. Besides being able to stay for longer, with this permit you will have the possibility to take a  job on campus for up to 20 hours a week. If you also apply for a Work Permit, you will also be allowed to work off campus. 

If the country of your choice is Australia, you may apply for the e-Visitor visa to study or take training courses, as long as they are not longer than 3 months in total. It is not allowed to renew this visa in order to follow a course lasting more than three months. If you want to study for more than 3 months, you must apply for a special study visa. This visa is also needed if you want to follow any kind of training concerning medicine, nursing, odontology or childcare.

How do I apply? 

If you meet the requirements to apply for an electronic visa, go for it! This is always the simplest solution. The whole application process can be done online, and it will not take you longer than a couple of minutes to get your travel authorisation. You just have to apply online, pay the corresponding fee and wait a couple of minutes. In no time, your e-visa will be on your inbox!

If the country of your choice requires a student visa, however, the process can be more complicated. Contact your university or college in the first place: they will explain you what kind of visa you need. They will also provide you with the necessary documentation for your application. This is really important, since you must be able to prove that you have been admitted on a study program in order to apply for your student visa. These travel authorisations are only granted if you have a confirmed place of study at a registered institution for a fixed period of time.

Depending on the country, you can apply online, by post or in person, but a good tip is always to allow enough time in case of complications. If you have any doubts, you can always visit the website of your host country or of an online visa agency, where you can apply for an eTA Canada or an eVisitor Australia.