Here's A Detailed Student Visa Checklist For Studying In The UK, US, Australia & More

Make sure that you have all these documents before you apply!

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Are you considering studying overseas?

Studying abroad is an incredibly rewarding experience — it helps you broaden your perspectives, gain new experiences, and forge lifelong connections with people from all around the world.

But before you actually embark on the next chapter of your academic journey, it's important to note that studying in your dream country requires a lot of preparation beforehand. From getting your student visa to settling your accommodations, there are many things to take note of. 

While the entire process might seem daunting, don't worry — it's a lot more straightforward than you think. 

In fact, to help you get started, we've compiled specific student visa checklists (beyond general documents like passport, passport photo, financial statements, and academic transcript) for the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. 

Here's a look at the student visa checklists for each country:

1. United Kingdom

- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number
- Negative Tuberculosis (TB) test
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Every student applying for a UK student visa needs a CAS number, which is a digital document created by your chosen university. It contains information about your programme, fees, qualifications, and most importantly, that you have received an unconditional offer to study in the UK. Your CAS number will only be sent to you after you have accepted your university offer and met all of the conditions, and no earlier than six months before the start of your course.

Other than that, all Malaysian students who will be studying in the UK for more than six months are required to take a TB test at a clinic or hospital before applying for their student visa. Be sure to take the test at one of the approved health institutions to prevent your student visa application from getting rejected. A TB test costs around RM100 to RM250, and will take around two to three days for you to receive the result.

Lastly, you'll need to pay the IHS when you book an appointment for your student visa application online. Paying the IHS is important, because in the event you fall ill while studying in the UK, you can receive treatment for most of the healthcare services provided under the National Health Service (NHS) for free. 

2. United States

- Statement of Purpose
- Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school acceptance letter
- Form I-20
- Form DS-160

First and foremost, you'll need to have a Statement of Purpose, which is your opportunity to explain to the application committee why you have decided to study in the US, the future you see for yourself, and the steps you have taken to pursue your degree. A good Statement of Purpose — which contains around 500 to 1,000 words — conveys the experiences that have shaped who you are and the goals you have.

You have to also apply and be accepted by a US school or university certified by SEVP. Once you've accepted your offer, you'll be given an acceptance letter, as well as Form I-20. Form I-20 is a paper record that proves you are legally enrolled in a university in the US.

Meanwhile, Form DS-160 is an online application form you'll have to fill out and pay as part of your student visa application process. 

3. Australia

- Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) certificate
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

To obtain your student visa, one of the documents you'll need is the CoE certificate from your chosen university, which proves that you have accepted the offer to study there.

During your student visa application process, you'll have to satisfy the GTE assessment, where you'll have to provide a personal statement that explains that you genuinely intend to stay in Australia for an education, your personal circumstances in your home country, the value of the degree to your future, and your immigration history. Make sure that you provide evidence for every claim that you make in the personal statement.

Another requirement you'll have to satisfy is obtaining a health insurance, otherwise known as OSHC. It's a special type of health insurance that provides coverage for medical and hospital care, as well as limited pharmaceutical items. You can purchase OSHC from various approved providers, and the cost may vary depending on the level of coverage you choose.

4. Canada

- Letter of explanation
- Medical exam
- Quebec Acceptance Certificate (for those studying in Quebec only)

The student visa in Canada is more commonly known as a study permit, and is relatively straightforward to obtain. You'll need to produce a letter of explanation, which helps the visa officer understand you and your goals. You should essentially explain why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student to the visa officer.

Other than that, if you're planning to study in Canada for more than six months, you'll need to undergo a standard medical exam to ensure that you are fit to stay and study there. Make sure that you visit one of the panel physicians for your medical exam.  

If you plan to study in Quebec for more than six months, you'll need to have a Quebec Acceptance Certificate, which can be obtained by submitting an application for temporary selection for studies online. The application will require you to have your passport, a letter of admission from your university, the amount of your tuition fees, and a valid credit or debit card on hand. 

5. New Zealand

- Police certificate
- X-ray certificate
- Medical exam

New Zealand requires all international students to provide evidence of good character, a.k.a. a police certificate, from their home country as part of their student visa application process. In Malaysia, this certificate is known as the Malaysia Certificate of Good Conduct, which you'll have to obtain from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You'll also have to go through a medical exam as well as obtain a chest x-ray certificate from one of the panel physicians.

If you've yet to begin your university and student visa application process, now is the perfect time to start!

Many universities, especially in the countries mentioned earlier, often require a handful of documents that may need advanced preparations, including sitting for an English entrance test.

Besides the general core documents like an academic transcript and extra-curricular background, most overseas universities require students to sit for an English entrance test to assess their English language proficiency, especially if they hail from non-English-speaking countries. 

If you're looking for an English entrance test that's widely accepted by universities around the world, look no further than the TOEFL iBT ® Test

The test is offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which is one of the world's largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organisations.

The TOEFL iBT test is the world’s premier English-language test for study, work, and immigration. You can choose how you want to take the test — at a test center or home — whichever is most convenient for you.

It is also the only test that measures all four academic English skills — reading, listening, speaking, and writing — the way they are used in a classroom. This means you can rest assured that a high TOEFL score will help you stand out in universities and easily fit into a new culture.

More importantly, TOEFL iBT is recognised by over 12,500 educational institutions around the world.

Besides equipping you with English proficiency skills and a recognised qualification, TOEFL iBT test also offers guidance, courses, apps, books, and practice tests to help you ace their exam

As a TOEFL iBT student, you'll get to access a wide range of resources to ensure that you gain the necessary English writing and speaking skills that not only add value to your application process, but also your experience as an international student. 

The best part? For a limited time only, you can get US$20 (RM93) off the TOEFL iBT test!

As university and visa applications are fast approaching, TOEFL wants to help you satisfy the English test pre-requisite by offering an exclusive discount for their TOEFL iBT test.

All you have to do to enjoy the discount is key in the promo code MALTOEFL23 when you sign up for the exam here.

Do note that the promo code only applies to those who plan to schedule the TOEFL iBT test from now until 31 March 2024.

Not sure if you should apply? In collaboration with TOEFL iBT, we produced a fun video to show you some of the questions you'll face during the test:  

Head over to TOEFL iBT's website to sign up today!

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