Wondering why your UK study visa application was rejected? We asked the experts...

KARACHI, August: Experts from the British Deputy High Commission, Karachi, British Council, Karachi, and different consultancy agencies have pointed out seven tips for a successful UK study visa application. We bring the scoop to you in the words of experts and applicants. "The institutions in the UK require international students for their own academic and business needs. But they only demand a genuine one," said Andy Tinney, entry clearance manager of British Deputy High Commission, Karachi, while speaking at a seminar held Wednesday about UK student visas. "Over 11,000 Pakistani students received the UK study visa in the academic session of 2006-07. There is no way an applicant could be rejected for a visa if the requirements are met," he said.

According to experts from the British Council, Karachi, the most important requirement for a visa application was a valid acceptance letter from an authentic educational institution in the UK as it had become common that students were misguided by various colleges that were not credible enough. "There are about 40,000 colleges in the UK and one should cross-check their authenticity with the British Council. It is not enough to rely on the Internet," said Wali Zahid, acting director of the British Council, Karachi. He said an acceptance letter must be attached with the visa application while an unconditional offer letter could also be considered in the condition of late submission.

"The second important tip is a proper financial statement from an authentic sponsor," said Azhar Rafiq, Manager Education UK, Pakistan. "The applicant needs to provide a bank statement at least six months old that should show a sufficient amount for his education and accommodation expenditure. For a one-year Postgraduate course, costing £7,000, one needs to show a bank statement of at least £15,000 considering £7,000 accommodation and other expenditures," he explained.

Student Education Adviser Sayyed Amir Ali said that the third tip was that the sponsor must be a close relative such as parents or siblings. "In case of a guardian, closer relatives like uncles and in-laws could be considered. Students with scholarships do not need financial statements," he added.

Andy Tinney said added that a valid reason behind choosing the UK and a particular institution for study could be the fourth important requirement for a successful visa application. "The student will have to give a logical answer as to why (s)he chose this particular institution and area of study. It proves their authenticity, which is preferred."

Gazali Akhtar, director Indus-Pak Advisors, said that the fifth important requirement could be the applicant's answer to why he chose his particular area of study and how it would benefit his/her professional career in the future. "One should not expect a positive response from the UK Visa officer for a course which has least relevance to your career," Gazali added.

Shahid Hussain, Education UK officer, said that the sixth important feature was a clear future career plan. "A promising career plan is important to the visa officer for his satisfaction." He added that a medical clearance certificate from a recognized medical office would also have to be submitted along with the visa application. "AKU Clinic in Clifton is the only authorized medical office for the UK medical clarification. It conducts tests for HIV and TB at a cost of around Rs 3,000. This is the seventh tip."

Original copies of these documents, a valid passport, and the VAF-1 (Visa Application Form) should be submitted to the Fedex office. These forms can also be obtained from Fedex offices free of cost. The submission fee for a completed form will include Fedex Courier service fee Rs 900 and visa fees Rs 8,375. Normally, the entire visa process takes 15 working days. In case of rejection, the applicant can reapply but the process would start from the beginning, said Shahid Hussain, Education UK officer. By Mashiur Rahaman (Daily times)


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