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When COVID-19 caused a worldwide shutdown in 2020, students planning to study abroad faced a great challenge – getting a visa. But now that vaccines have been invented and the situation is slowly getting better, top education destinations have begun to open their doors for international students. Consulates of Canada, the UK, the US, and other countries have started operating partially, allowing students to apply for a visa to study abroad. Let’s take a look at the student visa news for each of these top study abroad destinations and what new processes they have put in place for students wishing to study in their country!
Student visa news COVID-19 information: Where do countries stand?
The Canadian visa application centers are partially functional for international students and family class applicants.
The country is inviting applicants from China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, and Vietnam to apply for a Student Permit through the Student Direct Stream. The applications received through this stream are processed within 20 calendar days, giving students the opportunity to accrue a visa well in advance of their semester start date.
So if you’re looking to study in Canada this fall, read about the Canada visa application process and requirements, and book an appointment online.
Moreover, Canada is sending a Biometric Instruction Letter to the visa applicants who have already applied before. They can use this letter to book an appointment to enroll their biometrics.
If you are from any of the red list countries shared by the UK government, you will not be allowed to enter the country. However, the UK visa application centers have begun a phased resumption in Bangladesh, Australia, UAE, India, and 8 other countries.
Since they are subject to the local lockdown regulations of each region, it’s best to check the UK immigration website for the latest information on dates and timings.
To know about the UK visa application process and requirements, head to this article.
But keep in mind that you will need to book an appointment online to be able to visit the visa application center. And be ready to be tested for your temperature and other COVID-19-related symptoms.
As of student visa news on January 25, the US has restricted the entry of all non-US citizens from China, Iran, Schengen, UK, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy and Consulates in India are yet to resume their regular services of all visa categories. But they are open on a limited basis for students in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. For example, only emergency appointments are being accepted in Mumbai.
But the US Embassy in Delhi has resumed limited processing of all visa categories. These include US student visas, H1-B, H4, L-1, L-2, C1/D, and B1/B2 visas.
Their website states that “Our capacity is limited, however, to maintain the safety of our customers and staff. Once consulates are able to do so, they will likewise expand services.”
The Australian embassy is giving appointments free of charge through its online portal. This is only for students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19. This includes students who-
- Deferred their study as they were unable to enter Australia due to travel restrictions
- Were forced to reduce to a part-time study load
- Were unable to complete their work-based training or placements
However, if you need a new student visa due to ordinary reasons, you will not be allowed to apply.
But keep in mind – this is only a temporary measure until the impact of COVID-19 shifts for the better.
At first, the NZ government had suspended the ability for people to apply for most temporary visas. The New Zealand border remained closed to everyone but New Zealand citizens and New Zealand residents.
Later, however, the New Delhi New Zealand visa application center resumed limited operations. It has been receiving applications of non-New Zealand citizens or residents who meet the border exceptions criteria. These include traveling for-
- Partners and family
- Work visa holders
- Critical health workers
- Other critical works
- Pacific Islanders
- Humanitarian reasons, and
- Ph.D. and postgraduate students
With that in mind, not all Ph.D. and postgraduate students will get this permission. But all those who want to be eligible for it should hold (or should have held) a visa to study in New Zealand in 2020. Eligible students who were unable to enter the country at that time will be considered through their contact at the university they have been accepted by.
Even though most of the countries have only resumed their visa processes partially, rest assured that things are getting better.
While the vaccine gets distributed and a vast majority of people immune themselves against COVID-19, the highest priority will be given to international students.
To stay up to date on the student visa news, keep returning to this blog from time to time. You can also reach out to us, sign up, and get the latest updates.
Wishing you all the best with your study abroad experience!