How to get a student visa
New Zealand has one of the most complex visa processes in the world. It is equally challenging to obtain non-tourist (e.g. student) visas for Canada, Australia and several other countries. Preparing a student visa package usually raises many questions for the applicant.
Many details need to be taken into account to increase the chances of obtaining a visa, so it is important to seek assistance from a student agent or immigration advisor at this stage of preparation. Such specialists are familiar with the requirements of visa officers and have extensive experience in successfully preparing visa cases. Careful preparation for departure to New Zealand can take from a couple of months to several years.
The visa officer evaluates the applicant according to a number of criteria, among the priority ones are ties with the home country, so to say “commitments” i.e. the reasons that motivate a person to leave New Zealand upon completion of training. The officers usually easily can identify applications for immigration purposes, which significantly reduces the chances of obtaining a visa.
The general rule is the visa case should give the impression that the applicant’s biography is as transparent and legal as possible. The applicant has commitments at home, their business is going well, and they stay in New Zealand for the short term.
Five important questions that you must answer to the visa officer when preparing your visa documents:
- why New Zealand;
- why New Zealand is your chosen study destination and why that will be of use to you in the future;
- what are your plans for the future in general (remember that the purpose of a student visa is to study only);
- your documented biography, primarily your employment history;
- your commitments anywhere outside of New Zealand.
The more logical and consistent your story is, the better chances you have to get the visa approved. That is why those who want to change the field of study, for instance, must be especially careful when preparing a visa application. In case of a sudden change of the field (from management to IT, for example), one will have to explain one’s motivation to both an educational institution and an immigration officer. Consequently, the risk of visa refusal increases significantly. In addition, most diploma programs at level 7 and above require a student to have relevant work experience and/or education in the chosen field of study.
With a change of field, the main challenge will be to provide evidence for such a change for your career (in case you are a mature applicant). Any evidence of past interest in the chosen field (e.g. through volunteering, internships, short term study) and reasons why the planned study will help in your professional growth and development can also help. The closer your chosen field of study is to your past background, the easier it is to obtain a student visa. We recommend that you do not chase demanded professions, but rather focus on your existing work experience, skills and education.
If, however, a person decides to study in a field other than his/her previous work experience or education, it is important to spend at least six months or more to acquire the necessary education and skills in the new field.
Essential aspects when applying for a student visa for a language course or diploma program will be:
- Documentary evidence of work experience;
- Maximum transparency in finance evidence;
- Documentary evidence of sources to finance your tuition fee and stay;
- Evidence of past education;
- Availability of documents proving professional growth;
- Confirmation that the applicant has commitments in their home country
- A clear explanation of why the applicant needs to study abroad and how it will be useful to his or her future;
- Evidence of travel history in the passport.
The more of these aspects can be provided, the better the chances of obtaining a visa. The less one provides, the lower the chances are.
In this article, we have specified just some of the details that are important to consider when preparing a visa application, the list of requirements is, however, far more extensive. Our mission is to guide customers, to foreseen possible difficulties in advance and to prepare for them. Each case is unique, and the assistance of a student agent or advisor helps to underline all the strengths of your case and offset the weaknesses.
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