31 October, 2007

The first post with information useful to others!

Today I began exploring visa options. Thankfully, it looks like it's not too complicated. Complicated, yes, but not obscene.

Studying in the UK - A helpful page. And I mean that with all the understatement my frail human body can contain.

Only the Ottawa consulate deals with visas. To get a visa, I need to have:

  • printed and signed e-application VAF1.
  • the appropriate fee, which is non-refundable (see Fees leaflet)
  • your original valid passport
  • one recent passport size photograph taken in Canada (less than 6 months old). The photo must: show the full face centred in the middle of the photo; be clear and of good quality; be taken against a light background; be printed on normal photographic paper; be 45mm x 35mm in size; and be black and white or colour. Note: Professional digital photographs are acceptable.
  • a letter of unconditional acceptance from the school/college in the UK confirming the duration of your course and course fees
  • evidence of sufficient funds to show you can meet the cost of the course and accommodation and maintain yourself (e.g. recent bank statements, line of credit/bank loan, scholarship/bursary documents)
  • a letter stating your intentions on completion of your course
  • copies of any relevant diplomas or educational certificates which you hold. Please note that if originals are required, we will contact you.

So this means I need to get to the credit union tout de suite and arrange a line of credit. And apply for OSAP (again). Then, with money arranged, contact York to prove I can pay, and get the unconditional offer. With that in hand, and copies of my finances, and my passport, and all the other paperwork, I will apply for a visa.

Visas take 5 days to process, normally, and then they mail everything back to you. I am very, very glad not to have to go to Ottawa to get it. And also very glad about the benefits of this visa:

  • A UK student visa provides validity for the full period of study plus unlimited entries.
  • A UK student visa provides a work entitlement: 20 hours per week and full time during the holidays.
  • A UK student visa provides the opportunity to switch into work permit or highly skilled migrant categories after graduation
  • In addition to all these benefits, the new International Graduates Scheme enables all graduates/postgraduates to remain in the UK for 12 months (2 years in Scotland).

So it's going to be a lot of running around. A lot of red tape. But it's clear and direct and doable.

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