A visa is a document issued by the counrty you are going to, proving that you now have the permission to enter and stay in the country. Going off to study abroad you wiill usually apply for a specific student visa, which allows you to study at an institution of higher education in the issuing country.
A visa gives you the right to enter a country and stay there, however it does not automatically give you any other rights. To be able to work or study you might need an additional permit. A visa is often valid only for a certain period of time, to stay longer you usually have to apply for an specific extension or residence permit.
General Visa Information
The issuing authority, usually a country's foreign ministry or department, may request appropriate documentation to apply for a visa. Requirements may include proof that you are of good health, hat you will be able to support yourself in the country you are travelling to, that you are of good character (e.g. have no criminal record) and some require that you are already accepted to the university you are planning ot attend. You are often asked to prove that you have proper health insurance from you home country if anything was to happen during you stay abroad. Developed countries often in addition to this require proof that you will return to your home country after completing your studies do to immigration issues.
Visa for Studying Abroad
Going off to study abroad you will usually apply for a specific student visa, which allows you to study at an institution of higher education in the issuing country. However, some countries do not have specific visas for students, studying in Algeria for example, you will be issued a tourist visa even for post secondary education.
The visa qualifications depend very much upon which country you live in and to which you are asking the permission to enter, contact your international office for more specific details and application.
When do I need or NOT Need a Visa?
As we have established already, everything regarding visas depends on which is your home country and which country you are travelling to. In some cases you don´t need a visa at all to travel and study in another country, this usually means that the countries have an agreement of some kind. A good example of this is the EU in wich you do not need a visa to travel back and forth.
To find out more about which of the student visa facts listed above apply to you and your country contact the foreign embassy of the country you are planning on travelling to for your unioversity studies.