Getting a student visa is the last step in the study abroad process. Without it, you cannot fly to your dream university abroad and so its important to understand how to avoid visa rejections. In 2022, the five most popular study abroad destinations for Indians had the following rejection rates (descending order of rejection rate):
In this article, we will cover the major reasons for visa rejection – and provide tips on how to avoid visa rejections. We will also tell you what to do in case you do get a visa refusal.
The most common reasons for Visa rejection / refusal are as follows:
This is one of the most common reasons for visa refusal. If you happen to submit your visa without all documents required as per the embassy checklist, or with documents that look fake or cannot be read clearly – your visa may get rejected. Sometimes, there may be inconsistencies in the documents you submit which may lead to rejections. For example: if the address mentioned on your application form is different from that on your passport, the embassy might reject your visa.
Tip: Each country has a student visa webpage where the complete list of documents along with instructions on how to present the documents are mentioned. Read these instructions carefully and collate your documents accordingly. If you have any questions, you can contact the embassy and get your queries answered – but be sure to do so before you submit your visa application.
Poor language skills
If you are flying abroad for a program taught in English, visa embassies will require you to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and achieve a minimum target score. A low score (less than 90 in TOEFL or band 6 in IELTS) can lead to a visa rejection. Additionally, if you are applying for a student visa to the USA and are unable to communicate at all during the visa interview, you could suffer visa refusal.
Tip: Aim to score at least 100 in the TOEFL or band 7 in the IELTS. This will prove beyond doubt that you have great English language skills. Further, if you have received an admit from a university which did not require IELTS / TOEFL as a part of their application, then take the IELTS / TOEFL at least two months before your visa application submission. This is will give you time to re-appear in case you receive a low score in the first attempt.
Visa officers must be convinced that you can pay for your tuition and living expenses when you study abroad. You need to show the amount of funds as stated on your university offer letter. Do note that your proof of funds should clearly show that the funds are liquid (i.e. can be used immediately) and that you have access to the funds (i.e. you can withdraw the funds at will). Showing hard assets or showing liquid funds in a sponsor’s account without having an affidavit of sponsorship will lead to rejection.
Tip: Carefully read the amount of funding to be shown as stated on your offer letter. If possible, show liquid funds which are at least one and a half times the amount stated on the offer letter. The amount on the offer letter will include both tuition fee and living expenses. Bank statements, Loan Sanction Letter, Fixed Deposit, Provident Fund and Scholarship Proof all are considered as liquid funds. Assets like land, property and gold are not considered as liquid assets.
Each country has a central regulating agency or accreditation bodies that regulate the quality of universities. Universities that meet the minimum quality standards are entered into a centralized database of recognized universities. If you have enrolled with a university not in this list i.e. an unrecognized university – you have high chances of visa refusal. Students should ensure that their university is recognized by the government of the country they are flying to.
Tip: Generally, universities which are in the top 1,000 universities in the world as per QS ranking are all recognized. For any university not mentioned in the QS ranking, check the accreditations on the university website and check if the university is recognized by the government of that country.
While most students study abroad with the goal of immigration, when applying for the visa – they should be able to prove that they will return to India after completion of their education. Some countries require students to write a cover letter and others take Visa interviews. Both of these are opportunities for students to convince the visa offer that they will return after education. If they are unable to convince the visa officer of their plan to return to India after graduation, they will receive a visa rejection.
Tip: Study career opportunities in India for students who have graduated from the program you will study. Identify companies and designations which you can apply to. Then specify this information in the cover letter / in the visa interview if asked. Another thing you can do if you are a single child is tell the visa officer that you will come back to India to take care of your parents. Lastly, those who own family businesses should find ways to explain how the degree will help them run their family business better and then mention in the visa cover letter / interview that they will come back to run the family business.
The USA requires students to interview for a student visa. If you happen to perform poorly – then your visa may get refused. But what counts as poor performance? Giving answers that sound unprepared, which do not match the documents submitted or which signal to the visa officer that you plan to stay back in the USA after graduation or do not have enough funds all count as poor performance. Answering back, arguing or fighting with the visa officer will also lead to a visa refusal.
Tip: Before going for the visa interview, study all your documents carefully, know all sources of funding thoroughly and read your university SOP again. You should also prepare answers to justify why you have chosen the university you did, why you plan to study in the USA and why you wish to come back to India.
In the worst case scenario, if your visa is rejected – what should you do? First – don’t lose hope. Most countries do allow students to reapply. If your visa is rejected we suggest you to do the following:
1.Identify why you were rejected
This is the first thing you should do. Go through all your documents and identify if you might have been rejected because of any of the reasons stated above. Sometimes, the embassy will tell you why you were rejected. For example, for the USA student visa, the visa officer might tell you why they are refusing you a visa. Similarly, if you were rejected by Canada – you can submit an application to check why you were refused a visa.
2.Re-applying to the same country
If you are applying to the same country, first be sure to make appropriate changes to your documentation. Submitting the same documents again will not help. If the country you were refused from is the USA then you could consider appearing for the visa interview in a different city too.
3.Re-applying to a different country
If you have been rejected multiple times by one country, then you may want to consider applying to a different country. When choosing a different country, first identify why the country you applied to before rejected you. If you don’t identify the problem and solve it, other countries will most likely reject you too. You can try applying to countries like Germany and UK which have a low rejection rate if you have already been rejected by countries like the USA, Australia or Canada.
We hope this article helped you understand how to avoid visa rejections. If you need help with the visa process or have been rejected a visa in the past and want to re-apply, feel free to contact us .