SOPs or application essays are an important part of the application process for foreign universities. However, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) is not a document exclusive to the university application process and also applies to the visa application process.
There is quite a fundamental difference between the two SOPs. While one is addressed to an admissions committee at a university, the other is addressed to immigration authorities. This makes it important to understand the two individually as well as separately rather than on the same lines. This informative piece would tell you about the most common mistakes which should be avoided in a visa SOP or visa letter.
What is a Visa SOP?
The immigration authorities of any country shall be interested in knowing the purpose of your entry into their country and assess whether the intent of the applicant is true and fair. It is on the basis of this assessment that the authorities issue a green flag for the immigration rights of the applicant. Avisa SOP, also known as a visa letter, works as the voice of the candidate and speaks of the intent and purpose of the applicant to the authorities.
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Importance of Visa SOP
A visa SOP or letter is intended to approach the visa embassy officers expressing the desire of studying in the chosen country. The presence of visa SOP is functionally justified by the following;
Visa Interview is situated at the final stages of the whole visa process.
It is not possible to assess all the applications through visa interviews in person.
Visa SOP acts as the voice of the candidates themselves.
It is easier to select genuine candidates among the bulk of applicants.
By now it must be clear that a visa SOP is for the benefit of immigration authorities. So, the writing and voice must be chosen accordingly, and while there are ways to understand and design what to do, the knowledge of what not to do, while writing a visa SOP is also important!
Common MistakesWhileWriting a Visa SOP
The most common mistakes that are made while writing a visa SOP have been explained and also reasoned below to make it easier for you to understand why they are tagged as mistakes.
Impression of Academic SOP
The applicant needs to be clear that the visa SOP is addressed to the immigration authorities of a country and must include information and intent in relation to the immigration rights for which the application is being submitted. An academic SOP purely caters to the course program the candidate is applying for. This essay is dedicated to the background which is relevant to the course and the future plans of the candidate in relation to the course.
On the other hand, a visa SOP should talk about the intent and purpose of the applicant in relation to the country in which they want to study. Hence, if the application is for a student visa, the application must explain academic aims, and if it is for a work visa, the application must explain work and career aims. The two essays have different purposes and are addressed to different authorities and hence must also have different writing styles.
Absence of Academic and Career Prospects
For a visa SOP, it must be made sure that the writer explains the academic background and the future plans of the applicant. The same must make an impression that the candidate is eligible for the course program and holds enough interest and talent in it that the country can devote its resources to their education.
Ignoring the Relevance of Course
The applicant needs to relate the course they are applying for with their academic background. If the two are not related, they would be required to show proper cause for this switch and relate it to their future prospects. Often when the candidate fails to show any relevance to the course, the immigration authorities reject their student visa application.
Failure to Show Intent of Return to Home Country
It is required by the candidate to prove that they aim to return to their home country on completion of their course program and expiry of their student visa. In the excitement of writing about their future prospects, candidates fail to track that their SOPs start reflecting on their desires of staying and making a career in that study destination rather than that of going back to their homeland.
Failure to Show Relevance of Study Destination
A visa SOP must be able to show some reason(s) why the candidate is opting for a particular country. The study program may not only be offered in other countries but there is also a possibility that the advancement of the course and teaching methods are at par with other countries or even the home country. In such a case, it becomes important that the reason for choosing the destination country among all is satisfactory and beyond doubt.
Failure to Prove Future Career Prospects
The future career prospects of a candidate based on the relevance of the program must also be delivered by the applicant. The plans of the candidate must reflect their intent to use and apply the knowledge gained from the course program in a profitable and successful manner. These plans obviously need to be realistic and plausible.
In your visa application, always mention the correct dates of course commencement, orientation, and flying as well as the landing date to reach the destination. Confusing the visa officer with incorrect dates may lead to a visa rejection. Cross-check the dates with your offer letter before sending out the final visa letter.
Failure to Prove Financial Capacity
In the Visa SOP, you will be needed to clearly showcase your ability to finance your stay and studies in the chosen country. You must mention the expected expenses of your first-year tuition fee and living expenses for one whole year and prove that you have sufficient funds against the same.
Tuition Fee: You must provide information on your sources/sponsors of finance such as family or guardian support or self-funding, savings (family or self), education loan (its receipt and other details), approved scholarships and their amount, etc.
In case your family is funding your education, you must write about their occupation details, salaries, savings, etc. Personal details of family are also essential, such as the number of dependants in your family (younger siblings, older parents/grandparents, children, etc.)
If you are funding your education with an educational loan, you must write about the family assets against which you have received the loan. Do not forget to precisely include the bank account numbers, family income, amount of tuition fees, loan amount, the exact amount of savings, etc. (whatever is applicable in your case).
Living Expenses: You will also have to ensure you fulfil sufficient funds against your one-year living expenses in the intended country.
Canadian authorities require international students to apply for GIC under which they deposit an amount of CAD 10,000 in their bank account. This amount acts as security and is remitted to the student in instalments of CAD 2,000 during their first year of stay, with the first instalment handed over upon arrival in Canada.
Similarly, German authorities require students to open a Blocked Account with their bank in which a deposit of EUR 10,332 has to be made. The account carries a monthly withdrawal limit of EUR 861, and it covers the maximum duration of one year of stay in Germany of the student.
Failing to Provide Information on Accommodation, Travel, and Health Insurance
While drafting a Visa SOP, the main focus must be placed on providing all the necessary information which proves that you will be able to manage your lifestyle in such a study abroad destination.
You will be required to furnish proper and clear details of where you plan to stay on arriving at the destination. If you plan to stay temporarily at a hotel and then shift to a more permanent residence, then you must provide details of both these accommodations and the duration of your stay at each of the stops. Moreover, you cannot act on a whim and simply structure a plan, you will have to furnish proof backing your claim, such as an invoice from the hotel, a rent agreement, or a university dormitory registration letter and invoice.
Similarly, you will be required to also provide your travel details such as how you plan to arrive in the country and once there how you plan to navigate through the region. In case your university or residence is located far from your arrival stop, then you need to detail your plan for reaching your destination and this plan needs to be logical and practical. This requirement is mandatory when you apply for a visa to study in France.
All abroad countries require mandatory student health insurance coverage for foreign nationals seeking to study in the country. You need to prove the existence of such insurance and also prove that the policy will cover your health complications while you reside in your destination country.
Keeping these mistakes in mind might help you draft a flawless visa SOP. If the aforementioned requirements are not met in your application, then your visa application might be rejected.
Things to Keep in Mind While Writing a Visa SOP
While the writing process of a visa SOP might become smooth with the help of the above pointers, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when writing an SOP for a visa:
Be to the point and only put forth what is necessary. Too much-exaggerated content will only create problems in the process.
Focus on highlighting important points first. Give priority to explaining academic background; relevance of the program and future prospects; and, intention to return to home country.
Adhere to the word limit. In any case, the visa SOP must not exceed 1,000 words or be shorter than 500 words.
The grammar and language of the SOP must be proper and reflect fluency in language and understanding of the formal nature of the application.
Review your visa SOP at least two to three times so that the representation made by the essay is as desired and not faulty. It is always better to run it by experts.
Writing an SOP for a student visa can be difficult, but your probability of getting it right can be improved by avoiding the above-mentioned mistakes in the visa letter. Apart from avoiding these mistakes, you must do your research, grasp the requirements, submit precise details, satisfy the required financial criteria, and submit your application by the specified date.
Our study abroad experts can help you in any manner possible and ensure a successful visa application. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have all your queries answered today.
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