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The Most Common Student Visa Issues and How to Solve Them

It’s every international student’s worst nightmare. Showing up to a visa appointment you’ve been anticipating for months and something goes wrong.

But don’t worry! I’ve been there and it always worked out. Here are some possible issues my friends and I have run into in the past so you can avoid making the same mistakes we did:

  • A signature is missing on a document

  • A document is missing

  • Something wasn’t translated

  • Your passport expires within 9 months

  • There were additional on-request documents required that you didn’t know about

  • There aren’t two copies of everything

  • You didn’t bring the right payment method

  • (By mail) you didn’t include a stamped and addressed return envelope

In this case, don’t panic. Some things are easy fixes. If you forgot to make copies, they may just offer to make copies. If not, ask if you can run to a copy center or library nearby. If you forgot the correct payment method, ask to run to a bank, post office, etc.

But some things won’t be so easy. If your moving date is approaching and you are on a tight deadline for applying, the most important thing is to make sure that the application procedure begins ASAP. So, be extremely polite, turn on the charm, and insist on submitting your application incomplete with the promise of submitting that missing document immediately. I can’t say this will work 100% of the time because on the NYC consulate website, they specifically say they won’t accept incomplete applications. BUT, I recommend at least trying for two reasons.

First, when I had to work with a lawyer, he told me I should always do this because they are required to accept the application even if it is missing literally every document except the actual application. This way, you can at least get the process started and, if you're applying for an extension or renewal in the Czech Republic, you can’t be deported while you have a visa in processing. However, I am not sure if this law applies to all visas or just extensions/renewals filed in the Czech Republic.

Second, it worked for me! And it wasn’t for an extension or a renewal but for a new visa. I got to the appointment and realized that my roommate was the main signatory on our apartment lease and, since my landlord just dropped a new copy of the lease off in our mailbox, I didn’t think to have her sign it too. When the consulate pointed this out, I nervous laughed (of course), turned to my friend, and said “oh my God I’m gonna get deported!” (I was applying in Vienna on a tourist visa, it’s a long story so check out Tips & Tricks for more info). Anyway, the lady must have taken pity on me and said, “If you think you can get back here at 8:00 am tomorrow morning with that signature, I will take the rest of the documents now and start processing the application today.” So, the next morning at 7:45, I was waiting outside the embassy with the signed contract in hand.

In the event they won’t take the incomplete application, start asking for advice and figure out the quickest possible route to getting everything sorted. This could include submitting via mail with next-day delivery, getting a new passport expedited, submitting in another country, or getting an emergency second passport. Read more about all these options in Hacking the Visa System (More Tips & Tricks).

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Edited by Sophia Pedigo


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