The visa process is scary for many students for a reason. It is a strict, complex and challenging legal procedure- definitely a huge task to grow up to. Let’s see what you can expect and how long it usually takes.
First of all, you must know that there is no straight answer for this. The length of the process depends on your home country, on how busy the local embassy and the Immigration office are, how well your visa folder is prepared and so on.
If we take everything into consideration, from the moment you book the visa appointment to the point where you have your visa in your hands can take 3-5 weeks in less busy areas and periods up until 3-5 months in the busiest times of the busiest countries.
Please always make sure to follow BIC recommendations, as we always monitor the situation and will advise you accordingly.
What are the steps of the visa process and how much time do they take?
- First, you need to get accepted to a Hungarian university to even think of starting the study visa process. This means, you have to go through the admission process and obtain a Final Acceptance Letter.
- Once you have your Letter, you must book a visa interview appointment. During the visa interview you’ll have to submit all your documents (your folder) at the embassy and also take an oral interview or a written test there. Most embassies let you book your visa appointment max 90 days before the semester starts at your uni.
At the beginning of the summer, embassies are still more relaxed, and usually you’ll have an appointment in 1-3 weeks. As the summer progresses and more and more students apply for a visa appointment, this can take even more than a month.
If you have to wait too long for a visa interview date, please notify BIC to see if we can get an interview date for you quicker.
- After booking the appointment, you’ll have to collect all your visa supporting documents to a folder and show up at your visa interview. They’ll take your interview and all your documents. The embassy then sends your documents to the Hungarian Immigration Office (so the final decision is NOT made on the spot!). It’s still important to perform well on the visa interview, as the embassy’s opinion can change the final decision largely.
- After you had your interview, you’ll have to wait for the decision made by the Immigration Office. You must know, that the evaluation period is longer for certain countries than others due to more thorough national security screenings. Usually the results will come back in a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The best case scenario would be 2-3 weeks, worst case scenario is 20-25 weeks. Last year, the average visa decision time was 4-8 weeks according to our experience.
So what can you do to make the visa process faster?
- The first is obvious: apply to the university on time. You can even apply to multiple unis and programs, so you can make a final decision quickly when needed. The most optimal is to have your Final Acceptance Letter by May- June.
- Apply for a visa appointment as soon as possible. It’s very important to carefully pay attention to the communications from BIC. Once your admission officer tells you that you can go ahead and book an appointment, don’t hesitate or lose time- book the first one that is available and also works for you.
- Start preparing the visa supporting documents on time. You can start this even before your final acceptance… the more time you have for it, the better.
- Bring a complete and perfect folder to your visa appointment. This is super important. By the time you go to your visa interview, your folder must be perfect, otherwise the whole decision can stretch out too much. Consider taking our Visa assitance- this is service that helps you make sure that your folder is impeccable.
- On the interview, be firendly, agreeable and professional. The happier the embassy is with you, the more likely they’ll forward your documents to the Immigration office with a good recommendation.
- Always make sure to read communication from BIC and the embassy. This is not the time to be lazy to read or miss important info.
So is a June- July visa interview still good for the September intake?
Yes, June & July are optimal in most countries. If you can get an appointment only for August, it’s not a lost cause either, sometimes the visas come around in just a couple of weeks so you can be in Hungary for the beginning of the semester.