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Common scenarios for study visa rejections in the UK and how to tackle them

Attending a credibility interview to study in the UK or pretty much attending any study visa interview is a nightmare these days as your study abroad dream depends on you being approved based on the interview. 

However, cracking your study visa interview need not be nerve-wracking and complicated if you understand the intent behind asking you the interview questions and how to answer them genuinely. 

If you are not sure what a credibility interview is, you can read everything you need to know about it and what to expect from here. In this article, let us understand what the Visa Officer expects from you. I will also go through some common scenarios for study visa rejections in the UK and how to tackle them. 

According to a document published by UK’s Home Office which is responsible for immigration, security, law, and order, an analysis has been made to understand the need for a credibility interview and selecting genuine students. Although the document is very old, the findings still hold its importance to today’s credibility interviews in the UK.

Why is the credibility interview taken?

International students constitute a major chunk of people who enter the UK every year. Of these, a majority of people do not have the intention to leave the UK and settle there (legally or illegally). Therefore, in order to limit the visa approvals to genuine students and weed out the bogus ones, the UKVI (UK Visa and Immigration) has started credibility interviews. 

Another point to note is that, unlike countries like the US and Australia, the UK does not check on departures and hence is unable to determine whether a student has left the UK after graduation or not. Such reasons have made it important to approve only genuine students in the UK. 

How are students deemed credible?

Genuine intention to study and leave the UK after graduation were the two most important elements in determining a credible student through the course of a visa interview. Other factors in determining the student’s credibility were the ability to study and complete the proposed course and the ability to be self-sufficient financially during the course of their study time in the UK. 

According to the document, below are some of the primary indicators in determining a potentially less credible student.

  • Poor academic background (including long gaps in education)
  • Applicant’s lack of knowledge about their institution and course
  • No or less academic progression offered by the course (in the applicant’s career)
  • Any undue influence from other parties in selecting a course or institution

As the student’s intention could not be deciphered from their application alone, the visa interviewer tries to understand the applicant’s intent by asking questions related to :

  • Applicant’s economic circumstances
  • Links with the UK, including family and friends
  • Applicant’s plan after completion of studies 
  • Links with the country of origin, including family and business interests

Now that you understand what a visa officer looks for in a potential applicant and what might tip him/her off and reject visa applications, let us look at some common scenarios and how to tackle them. 

Typical rejected cases and how to respond

Case - 1: A student applied to ABCXYZ University. The visa officer asked for the name of the education provider and the student replied with ABCXYZ College. The student was next asked about the name of the course. He answered with ‘International Management’ before correcting himself by saying ‘International Marketing’. Upon being asked about modules, the student could not answer. The visa officer next asked the reason for choosing ‘International Marketing’ and the student answered that his current work involves marketing. However, he later admitted that his work involves import and export and that marketing plays a very small role in his everyday work.

Result: In this case, the visa was rejected as the student was not able to convince the visa officer about why he chose a particular course. The student was also not able to answer the university name and course details properly. 

Advice: Always make sure that you are aware of all the details pertaining to your university, course, and course modules. The visa officer must not feel that you are not serious about your education. Also, you need to be able to justify the reason for choosing a university or course and convince him/her of your educational ambitions. 

Case - 2: A student had applied to DEFUVW University and her study visa was rejected. The rejection was stated as “you considered colleges in a localized area of Scotland to study and you chose this college primarily as your husband has studied there. You appear to have prioritized locality over course content and quality of education and I do not find this as a credible manner for choosing a college. There is a possibility that you are seeking to enter in order to gain permission for your husband to enter the UK for employment as your dependent.”

Advice: Here, the applicant’s reason to study in a particular college was not strong enough or believable. Also, since dependents of study visa holders are allowed to work full-time, the visa officer had reason to believe that the applicant was trying to enter the UK so that her husband could find employment as a primary reason. 

While there is nothing wrong with your dependant tagging along with you to the UK on your study abroad journey, you need to provide a valid reason and support it with strong answers. In this case, the applicant’s reason to study in that particular university was not based on course content or quality education.

Another best practice in spouse cases is to apply for a study visa individually and later have the spouse join you in order to prevent arousing suspicion. 

Case - 3: A student got his visa after being accepted by one of the UK’s universities and his IELTS was waived off. However, upon landing in the UK airport, he was questioned by the Immigration team. As his English language skills were not up to the mark, he was unable to understand the questions of the visa officer. Eventually, he was deported back to India. 

Advice: In spite of getting an IELTS waiver from a university, you need to make sure that your English language skills are good. Your command over the English language will be assessed not just during the visa interview but also upon reaching the UK and going through immigration. 

Case - 4: A student has applied for a university in the UK and as proof of financial capability, the student has shown money which was in his father’s firm’s current account (company account). Due to this, the visa is rejected.

Advice: According to the UKVI’s guidelines, you are allowed to show bank details of a current account, however, the account should be on a person’s name and not firms/companies, even if your father/family owns 100% of the firm/company. It can either be in your name or your father’s name.

Case - 5: A student in her interview stated that her husband will be sponsoring her education. However, her husband’s salary was 4 lakhs INR per annum (as per the salary slips shown) while her tuition fees were 8 lakhs INR per year. Hence her visa was rejected. 

Advice: In the case of a sponsor, always make sure that the sponsor’s income or assets will be able to pay for your tuition fees as well as for your survival during your study time in the UK. Income proofs or IT returns of other sponsors like your parents can be shown to the visa officer to prove that you are financially covered for your study, both tuition as well as the living. 

Case - 6: A student has submitted his father’s fixed deposit documents to show financial evidence. However, the date of the deposit was 7 months before the visa date and did not show that the money was held in the fixed deposit account for the immediate 28 days before the visa date. 

Advice: Whichever financial evidence you submit, make sure that the money is held in your account for at least an immediate 28 days before the visa date. 

I hope this article sheds light on how to tackle some of the questions you might be asked in your credibility interview in the UK. If you have further queries, you can always reach out to our expert student support team directly on +91-9303-42-42-42 or write to them at contactus@ubergrad.com to avail complete free assistance.

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