Visas, another homework for governments towards international education and Latin America students. Part III.

by Liliana Casallas

Part III. UK System & Fact table

In the UK, the process has also been changing. Students from Latin America are able to apply online for the visa.  Students who wish to pursue their studies in the UK can use the Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which is an electronic reference number that is given to applicants as proof that they have been offered a place at an UK institute. According to the British High Commissioner, Rob Fenn, it is one of the changes in order to move toward a consolidation of one system, which integrates an online application, appointment, biometrics within the ‘point based system’ in order  to support the strategy of a centralized decision-making process for each region.

In the case of Latin America, the visa application process has been centralised in New York, where they receive and review applications.

The official time for responses takes between a minimum of 5 to 120 working days but response time depend on the country. Nevertheless, there are records of 90% applications processed in 3 days for Brazil, 5 days for Colombia, 10 days for Mexico and 30 days for Venezuela.

It is too early to state if a offshore centralized decision-making process is favourable for expediting student visas but new tools such as CAS will help with the delays caused by acceptance letters.

Certainly, some countries have an open policy to attract international students and promote higher education, others, are also interested to keep the best fresh minds as part of a strategy to invest in the country.  As seen in table IV, countries such as the US and UK run a policy to allow students to work in a particular sector after studying in the country. Contrary, Spain has a strongly restrictive visa application system and processing for applicants whatever they are a student or not. Additionally, as one can see below, there are no clear standards in terms of requirements, time, policy and approval rates.

  Australia USA Spain UK
Visa process

A1= 14 days

A2 = 21 days

A3= 90 days

Up to 60 days  (excluding visa interview, delivery)

No information

 Up to 120 days


 Visa Fee (1)


$200 (Plus booking appointment cost and $131 application process fee)



Part Time Work

Up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks.

On-campus employment of 20 hours a week or less.

40 hours for internships upon approval.


Allowed but number of hours not defined.

Up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks.


Staying beyond the authorized stay


F-1 student – An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.

Students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are entitled to legally work under Optional Practical Training for 29 months


Students are allowed to apply for Tier 1 visa, which allows students who have successfully obtained a degree or postgraduate certificate/diploma in the UK to remain and work for up to 2 years.

Approval rate

2006-07 (93.89%)


           Average 69% Not published

Not published


Table.IV. Visa facts per country

(1)       Fees converted from local currency to USD$ based on date exchange rate.


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