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I have a rather complicated question and would appreciate any help. (I will bolden the important and relevant parts to make it easier to follow.) I'm an international student currently studying at a PhD program in Canada (2nd year). Due to the low quality of the current department, in the past few months I have been preparing to apply to some top US/UK programs this year, which I will know about the results by March or so. But some time ago I also had applied to another PhD program at an Australian university that is a good program but pales to the top US/UK programs in my field, and I just received an offer from there and will have to make a decision about the offer in a few weeks.

My question: if I go to Australia and within a few months get an offer from a US/UK university, would it be feasible to get a US/UK visa? It would be a back-to-back student visa applications: Canada (two for two years), then Australia (for a few months), then US/UK. Would the US/UK visa agents be suspicious of this pattern? Would this make getting a US/UK visa more difficult or even impossible? (Please ignore the moral profile of the thought, aka., ditching one program after another; I'm just thinking about the visa challenges at this stage.)

To make things even more complicated, I should add that I have Iranian citizenship, and already struggled to get my Canadian visa; getting a US/UK visa is statistically more difficult for people of my nationality.

NB: I'm not asking for advice on whether or not I should do as above, but rather whether or not this pattern can make getting a visa hard or impossible.

Please do let me know if anything is unclear or if I should make adjustments to my post.

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From a visa approval point of view, it's totally fine. There's nothing "suspicious" about studying overseas in multiple universities/countries, and as long as you're accepted by a legitimate university, are making progress towards your degree(s) and have your finances in order, you would generally be fine.

Your Iranian citizenship does complicate things for the US in particular, so one thing to beware of is logistics: if your passport is stuck at one embassy (and US embassies are notorious for slow processing times, which have been made even worse by COVID), you obviously can't apply for visas anywhere else while you wait, and there's even been stories of people missing flights because they couldn't get their passport back in time. This won't be an issue for Australia though, since all Australian visas are now electronic.

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    This is especially true for graduate studies where starting a semester in one place and continuning elsewhere does not really exist. – chx Nov 23 '20 at 7:48
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    Is the OP making progress towards their degree? So far nothing I read indicates so. What I see is hopping around changing countries. From a US perspective it could easily be a reason for refusal. – user 56513 Nov 23 '20 at 10:38
  • @user56513 They're two years into their current program. On what basis would they refuse the visa? – lambshaanxy Nov 23 '20 at 11:46
  • @user56513 in the present program I'm progressing toward the degree, but if I start the Australian program, there will be barely any time to do anything by the time that I'll be applying for the US visa (we're talking February to April or so; so around two months). (Remember: these are all different PhD programs.) – qu71 Nov 23 '20 at 16:06
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    @lambshaanxy I think you are missing the point. They are applying for a students visa, not a visitors visa. A students visa to go and restart the program in a different country. So it is not going to be a step forward. It looks like hopping around. – user 56513 Nov 23 '20 at 16:54

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