Tier-4 guide to visa interviews

General Information

What is the credibility interview?

Credibility interviews are now part of the Student visa application process. After you have submitted your visa application, you will be called to an interview to answer questions from an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) about your prospective studies in the UK. The aim of the interview is to ascertain if you genuinely wish to study in the UK and if your declared circumstances are genuine.

Who will be interviewed?

All applicants who are applying for a Student visa are likely to be interviewed.

When I will be interviewed?

Your interview is likely to take place immediately after you enroll your biometrics in the Visa Application Centre.

Why do I need to attend the interview?

The Entry Clearance Officer has to check that you are a genuine student and you really are coming to the UK to undertake studies. During the interview you will also be expected to demonstrate that your English language ability is sufficient to successfully follow your course

How the interview will be done?

You will probably be interviewed by video-call (similar to Skype) but you may also be interviewed in person or on the telephone. Your interview will last approximately 10-15 minutes

After the interview

The interviewer will write down everything that you say and will send this record to the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO). The ECO will decide your visa application on the basis of the credibility interview and your other supporting documents submitted with your Student visa application.

We recommend that you request a transcript when you have completed the interview and also write down everything you can remember from the interview when you have finished. You should keep your record of the interview safe.

Second interview

You may be called for a further interview if the ECO needs more information or clarification about your situation. Be prepared to provide evidence if requested, for example, of the sources of your income.

Preparing for your visa interview

Most Student visa applicants are required to attend an interview with UK Visas & Immigration
Your interview will be conducted via a secure video conference, or in some cases by telephone. Think carefully about how you would answer questions on all the following topics but note that this is not an exact or exhaustive list – be prepared to answer whatever questions you are asked thoughtfully. Be specific and detailed in your answers.

Why did you choose to study this course?

  • How will studying this subject help you meet your career goals?
  • Which modules on this course which especially appealed to you? You must be able to speak clearly about the content of the course that you have applied for

Why did you choose to study at this Institution?

  • What made this Institution the right choice for you? Present facts and figures.
  • What was it about this Institution facilities, course, modules, reputation or accreditation which helped you reach your decision?

Did you consider studying any other courses?

  • Be prepared to talk about the other subjects you thought about studying.
  • Why did you eventually decide on the course you have been accepted for?

Did you consider studying at any other Institution, either in the UK or overseas?

  • It is expected that you researched your options carefully. Be prepared to name other Institutions you considered and reasons why you chose this institution.
  • Why did you decide on the UK and on this this institution in the end?

What was the last course you successfully completed and when did you complete it?

  • Be prepared to talk about your study history.
  • Be specific and detailed about which courses you studied and when.

How will your course at this Institution assist you in your future plans?

  • Be prepared to talk in detail about your career plans following your course.
  • What job or position will you be qualified for, having completed this course?
  • How much can you expect to earn?

You should consider what you plan to do once you have completed your course and how undertaking this course will improve your future career prospects. If completing this course will help you to obtain a better job, earn a higher salary or start your own business, you may be asked to explain in exactly what way this course will help you to do so.

How your chosen course relates to your previous qualifications and experience in your home country or the UK?

Consider how your chosen course will help you build on your previous studies or experience. If there has been a long gap since you last studied, think about why you did not study earlier and how re-commencing your studies now will help your career plans for the future.

Where is the Institution located and where will you live in the UK?

  • Make sure you know which city your campus is in. Be prepared to describe where that city is in the UK and give at least 2 key facts about the city.
  • Where exactly will you live? Have you booked accommodation on campus? If not, what address will you stay at and how far is it from the campus?

How will you travel to your place of study and how much will this cost?

  • Make sure you have researched how you will travel between your accommodation and campus.
  • How much will this transport cost?

How did you acquire the necessary funds to meet the course fees and living costs?

  • How much are your course fees? How much have you paid already for course fees and accommodation?
  • Explain where you got the money to study in the UK. If parent(s) are paying, where does their money come from?
  • How can you be sure you will have enough to fund your entire course?

Living and studying in the UK a large financial commitment. The ECO may want to check that you know how much money you will need to study in the UK. They may also check how you will obtain these funds whether this is from personal savings, from your family or from another source. If you are using your family’s savings to fund your studies, you should speak to your family about how they saved the money, for example, through working, inheritance, or land ownership. You may also want to think about how undertaking the course at this institution will be financially beneficial to you in the long term.

Do you have plans to work in the UK and do you understand the conditions of a Student visa?

Student Visa holders are not permitted to fund their studies in the UK through work. For further information see: https://www.ukcisa.org. uk/Information--Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Student-route-eligibility-and-requirements

If you are applying with dependents, about the legitimacy of your relationship

If you are bringing your spouse or long-term partner, you may be asked questions to check that this is a genuine relationship

If your children are coming to the UK with you, then you should think about who will care for them and their education in the UK. See www.ukcisa.org. uk for useful information. You will also need to think about where your family will live as part of your preparations for coming to the UK

top tips and advice to the successful visa interview

Our advice for your interview

1. Give full answers to explain your situation in detail

The interviewer will not have access to your visa application form, or any other information about you. This means that you have to explain your answers fully – do not assume that the interviewer already knows about your situation. For example, if you have studied in the UK before, you will need to tell them this as they would not already know

2. Answer as naturally as you can, and only answer the questions you have been asked

The purpose of the interview is to check that you can demonstrate in conversational English that you genuinely want to study in the UK. It is important that you do not avoid the question and try to add unnecessary information to your answer. The decision as to whether to grant or refuse your visa application is not made by the person interviewing you – the transcript forms a part of the information used to assess your application. The interviewer is unlikely to have detailed prior knowledge of your country and will not have prior knowledge of your plans, motivations, and experiences, so if it is relevant to the question – tell them about it!

3. Prepare for the interview well, but do not rehearse specific answers.

To help you prepare, think fully about why you are choosing to study your programme at this institution, and the questions listed above. However, part of the purpose of the interview is to check you can speak English naturally, so do not give fully rehearsed pre-prepared answers, or If you have any friends, family or colleagues who speak English, talk with them in detail about your plans and motivations for study in the UK – this is the kind of conversation you will have in your interview. It might also help to watch British films to get accustomed to the accent!

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