Do Backlogs Affect the Student Visa Process?


Sristy Sharma
Updated on May 31, 2023 06:21 PM IST

Are you worried about backlogs becoming the reason for your student visa application rejection? Then you have arrived at the right place! Read below to find out whether backlogs have any effect on the student visa process, and if they do, then to which extent.

Do Backlogs Affect the Student Visa Process?

There has always been an existing debate about whether backlogs affect the student visa process. Often you might find it discouraging to apply to study abroad if you have backlogs in one or more subjects. To get things straight backlogs do not directly affect the student visa process.  Most international applicants in study abroad destinations such as the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, etc are accepted for admissions even if they have backlogs in their previous academic qualifications on the condition that they must be cleared before starting the intended academic course in universities. 

On the other hand, you must keep in mind that visas and backlogs have no direct connection. The visa process is completely related to the immigration rights of an individual and the decision on a visa is taken considering the suitability or eligibility of the candidate to enter a country based on certain pre-requisite conditions. So to clear the air, though most of the time backlogs do not affect student visa procedures there may be some chances that backlogs may lead to rejections. This article intends to clarify HOW and WHEN your visa process can be affected by backlogs. 

What are Study Backlogs?

All the subjects or papers that you have failed to clear or pass during your program of study are collectively known as backlogs.

You would be required to sit back for these papers and score the required minimum marks in order to clear your backlogs. While some papers may have a limited number of attempts available to clear the backlog, for some you may attempt as many times as you want. Here, you must make sure that you do not have any active backlogs while applying for admission abroad.

When applying to a foreign institution for a course program, all the information related to previous qualifications have to be furnished, thereby disclosing the following

  • Have you had any backlog(s) in any subject?

  • Is any of your backlogs active?

  • How many attempts did you take to clear your backlogs?

  • In which subjects did you have backlogs?

This information is supported with the help of a backlog certificate, which is required at the time of admissions process in most of the universities abroad. Apart from a certificate, you can provide background and further information on these backlogs in your Statement of Purpose or college essays, if asked.

Why are Backlogs Important for Studying Abroad?

A backlog is typically considered as having a negative effect on your admission for study abroad because it is connected to factors like lack of motivation or preparation. You have a limited selection of institutions even though the majority of leading nations, including Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, accept students with backlogs.

However, you should not give up because there are still many other things to consider when reviewing applications from students with backlogs, including their general academic performance, the subjects in which they have accumulated them, their attempts to catch up, and the present state of their backlogs.

Know More About Effect of Backlogs On Your Visa Approval!

What is a Backlog Certificate?

A backlog certificate is generally issued by the institution where you are studying at present. It contains vivid details of all your backlogs. In case you do not have any backlog, your institution will not provide you with any backlog certificate. There are chances that your study abroad university can ask for an academic transcript that certifies all your academic records even if you do not have any backlogs. 

The process of counting backlogs differs from one country to another. While some countries count the backlogs, others count the number of attempts one requires to make to clear the backlogs.

The college authorities who are in charge of distributing academic transcripts, mark sheets, certificates, and degrees are the ones who issue backlog certificates. You can collect them from the concerned office. 

Effect of Backlogs on Student Visa Process

As mentioned above, your backlogs would have no impact whatsoever on your student visa process, which is based on the following:

  • Documents to be filed for visa application

  • Financial incapability

  • Character or behavior problems

  • Legal problems

  • Intention to depart from destination country after student visa expiry

  • Visa interview or visa letter/SOP

  • Travel history

Yet, there are cases where backlogs have become the core cause behind the rejection of student visa applications;

  • Absence of letter of enrolment from the university

  • Rejection of admission application by the university

Absence of Letter of Enrolment from the University

The absence of the letter of enrolment from the institution means that your admission is still  not final and hence following points become important:

  • Is the admission procedure as per the tentative or declared schedule of the university?

  • Are there admission lists that are yet to be declared by the university?

  • Are the number of backlogs such that they can result in the rejection of the candidate's admission application?

  • Are the backlog subjects important to the point that rejection of the candidate’s admission application is possible?

  • What is the acceptance rate of the university?

  • The manner in which the university deals with backlogs, and whether it has accepted students with backlogs before?

If any of these questions give an answer which is not favorable to the possibility of your admission, then the Student Visa application can get rejected. 

The Student Visa approval is wholly dependent on determining whether you are a suitable candidate to be allowed immigration rights within the country or not. In cases where the admission application of a candidate has still not been accepted, their student visa may be rejected

Rejection of Admission Application by the University

Even if your backlogs are accepted by the university, the subjects in which you have backlogs may lead to the rejection of your visa application. This happens when the subject is relevant to the program you are applying for. Once the application is rejected by the university you have applied to, you will no longer be eligible for Student Visa. Hence, while the backlogs do not have a direct effect on the student visa process, them being the basis for your inability or probable inability to enter the country may end up becoming the base reason for rejection of student visa application, even if all your documents and other formalities are complete and true.

In conclusion, you have no reason to worry if you already have your Letter of Enrolment on hand. Also, you should make sure that you do not have any active backlogs while applying to a university. Even a single active backlog may result in the rejection of your admission, further resulting in the rejection of your student visa.

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Effect of Standardised Tests on Student Visa

Apart from the Backlogs in academics, sometimes Standardised test scores may also affect your Student Visa. The effect of Standardised tests on your Student Visa can be understood in the following situations:

  • If you have attempted standardised tests multiple times and your scores are still not enough to confirm your admission, then submitting them in the absence of an acceptance letter may get your student visa rejected. This is because the probability of your acceptance is now low. However, if you have received your acceptance letter then you have to submit that and the scores will not matter for your visa application.

  • Although you do not have multiple attempts your standardised scores are not enough to get you admission to the universities of your chosen study abroad destination, then again they will result in your student visa getting rejected. Though again the presence of an acceptance letter will reverse the situation, as the probable effect is now confirmed, and you are eligible for a student visa.

  • If your standardised test scores are enough to get you admitted in most universities of the study abroad destination, but not enough to get admission in the university or universities you have applied for, then also they become a reason for rejection of your student visa application.

In order to decide the effect of the standardised test score, each study abroad destination has an average score determined for reference. This score is the average minimum score required to get admission to universities of a study abroad destination.

Top Countries that Accept Backlogs for Student Visa Process

If you have backlogs and still wish to apply to foreign institutions, you might wish to know the countries where it is possible to study with backlogs. You must remember that the top universities abroad will be very rigorous in their admission process and there are low chances of acceptance with backlogs. However, in exceptional cases, they might consider backlogs and allow students to study with them. The middle-ranking colleges or the less popular ones or the colleges that have high acceptance rates are the ones that will generally accept students based on other factors of admission apart from the number of backlogs they have. Here are the top countries that accept backlogs and the conditions attached to them are given below: 

United States

The US universities give more preference to students without backlogs but with careful consideration, you may choose universities that do accept backlogs. A strong student profile with a good TOEFL or IELTS score along with good standardised test scores can go a long way in helping students get admission to US universities with backlogs. Up to 15 backlogs are allowed in US universities. 

United Kingdom 

The UK accepts students from all backgrounds and is not rigid enough to deny admission to students having backlogs. The universities not only consider academic profiles but also other aspects of a candidate’s profile. There is a long list of UK universities accepting students with backlogs. One has to go forward with SOP and application well to increase their chances of admission. UK universities also accept up to 15 backlogs.


Canada is strict in terms of considering backlogs however few Canadian universities accept students with 5 backlogs. An overall good percentage is required for being considered for admission. With a lower percentage and a good number of backlogs, students can expect to study PG diploma in Canada. 


3 to 8 backlogs are accepted in Australian universities. The take of the universities in regards to backlogs differ. Private ones are more lenient with their approach. Students must ensure building a strong academic profile to get admission to colleges and universities in Australia even though they have backlogs.

Do Backlogs Affect Student Visa?

Backlogs can affect the student visa process in certain circumstances. These include the absence of a letter of enrollment or acceptance letter from universities applied to or rejection of admission application as applied to university or universities.

How do Justify Backlogs in Visa Interview?

To justify backlogs in Visa interviews, either your current academic status must be enough to get you admission to most universities, or your other qualifications must be far better to get you admitted to universities of that country. Alternatively, the acceptance letter is the best justification.

Are Backlogs Mentioned in Degree?

Backlogs are mentioned in degree if they are continuing or have not been cleared yet. Cleared backlogs are not reflected in the degree. Most of the time only the final score of the subject is given in the degree, or sometimes the year of clearing the subject is given, but the attempts are not shown.

Is Student Visa Rejected if There are Several Backlogs?

A visa is not rejected if there are several backlogs. As it has been established visa is not rejected due to backlogs, therefore the number of backlogs does not matter. It is the possibility of non-admission to universities applied due to the presence of a backlog that affects the student visa process. If the acceptance letter is not there and a number of backlogs may result in admission rejection, then the visa can get rejected.

Is Absent Considered as Backlog?

Absent is considered as a backlog depending on circumstances. However, since it has not resulted in any scoring its effect on the student visa process is reduced. If the absence of an exam has resulted in the absence of an important score and it is possible that the admission application will get rejected, then absence may lead to visa rejection as well.

To sum up, you can now understand that having backlogs and getting a visa are two different things. However, the admission processes are hugely dependent on the number of backlogs you have. If you do not get an offer letter from universities for that purpose, then there are no chances of getting a visa. Again, on the other hand, your letter of acceptance is the key to your getting a student visa to study abroad. Therefore, you must concentrate on building a strong academic profile, prepare well for language proficiency and standardised tests and give your best shot!

In order to gain more clarity and guidance in dealing with backlogs and student visas or any other matter related to studying abroad, you may seek the help of our professional experts at CollegeDekho by registering on our website or writing to us at

Explore Ways to Overcome Backlogs Effect on Your Profile!


Will backlogs affect my chances of getting a student visa?

Backlogs are the unfinished or failed courses that a student must pass through to graduate are referred to as backlogs. Backlogs are a common source of concern for students who desire to study abroad regarding their chances of being accepted. It's important to keep in mind that securing a student visa may not always be impossible if you have backlogs. 

How can I get a visa even with a backlog?

You can explain your visa application backlogs if you have a letter of acceptance from a university. You should prioritise receiving a letter of admission from a university and finishing up any outstanding coursework as soon as you can.

To which countries can I apply with a student visa backlog?

Universities in some of the top countries that accept backlogs come from places like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US, etc.  Students must research the specific entrance requirements of various universities. Additionally, they could get in touch with the university's admissions office for more information on whether backlogs will affect their visa chances.


What steps should I take to reduce the chances of getting a student visa despite the backlog?

Even if you have academic backlogs, there is still a chance that you will be chosen for a foreign university. When applying to universities, you must, however, explain these backlogs. Also, work hard to achieve high test scores (GMAT, GRE, IELTS, etc.). Your profile will be strengthened if you perform well on these exams. Make sure to create a strong SOP.

Does scoring well on standardised tests help with covering backlogs?

The GMAT, GRE, IELTS, TOEFL, and other standardised tests can undoubtedly boost your resume. You may be able to excuse your backlogs if you do well on these tests. Students must realise that these exams only make up a small portion of their admissions application, nevertheless. Other application materials can affect your application. These consist of the following: a CV, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, entrance essays, and a statement of purpose. 

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