Paperwork to get to the country
The paperwork is extensive.
The hardest part is getting an apostillized birth certificate. I did not know what this meant at first. Being born in England, that meant I had to get an official birth certificate from England and get it apostillized. Fortunately there are companies in England who will do the whole thing for you. For other countries, I don’t know how easy it is, especially if you were born in India.
Criminal background checks, bank statements and some other things.
The whole process is a bit sketchy because ideally you should have all these things upon entry into the country but very few do and so you enter on a visitor visa which gives you 90 days access to the country. Technically, this is illegal as you are entering the country under false pretenses because you are not visiting, you are a student. But the country does not seem to mind this.
If you decide that you don’t want to finish off the paperwork, good luck. I have seen a couple things happen. First off, some students have had the immigration police come to their house and been forced to fly back to the US. For others, when they come back to the country after a home visit between semesters, they are denied entry into the country and sent right back home on the same plane.
The stupid thing about the whole process is that your student visa does not last for the entire stay on the island. A couple months before you are leaving for good, it will expire. At that point you have to decide whether you want to get all the paperwork again or just take your chances for a couple months. I chose the latter, as did many, without any problem.