There are two battles to be won if you dream to study in the UK or anywhere in the world for that matter – first, getting admission into a university and second, getting a study visa.
To study in the UK, you get your university admission after clearing a mandatory admission interview with the university officials. Once you get your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)- which is your final offer letter from the UK university- you will be eligible to apply for a study visa. Before your study visa is granted, you will have to go through one final interview with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which is your visa interview. This visa interview is also known as the credibility interview.
Through a credibility interview, the UKVI is looking to see if you are a genuine student. In this article, you will understand what exactly a credibility interview is and get an idea of what type of questions you can expect from the interview.
A credibility interview is an interview conducted by the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) to authenticate your intentions of studying in the UK. Upon clearing this interview, you will be provided the UK student visa. Please note, the UK student visa was previously the Tier 4 General Visa. Click here to read more.
You receive your CAS (final offer letter) from a UK university.
You now apply for a study visa by submitting your application form, CAS and required biometrics.
You are called for an interview, either on video call or in-person at the visa application center or British Embassy.
The duration of the interview is generally around 10-15 minutes. A video recording of your interview and your documents are sent to an Entry Clearance Officer who will then assess your application.
The questions they officers ask you will focus on your reasons to study in the UK, your background, study plans, professional goals, and finances. These questions will be similar to the ones during your university admission interview to recognize your capability of being a genuine and good student. This is because according to the new UK government rules, every university must maintain a minimum of 90% success visa rate for the CAS released by them. If they have less than 90% success rate, their sponsorship license (provided by the UK government) may be canceled.
Study visa rejections can happen but these are typically only when a student is
However, there is absolutely no need to panic. Most students applying for a Masters program in the UK, do so out of a passion and motivation to do better in their career and in their field and this motivation is automatically translated into a successful and convincing interview process.
Even if you are confident in your language skills and ability to answer the interview questions authentically and compellingly, it is always best to practice your answers before your interview.
You can answer this by talking about the educational standard differences between India and the UK or the unavailability of course options in India. You can also talk about the advantages of studying in the UK, for instance, its shorter course duration, world-renowned education system, research facilities, cultural diversity, and reputation of universities.
This question is asked to understand if you have done enough research about a particular university before choosing it. In this case, you can talk about what you know about the university like its distinct features, research facilities, its ranking in the chosen field, specific faculty members you want to work with, and any other reason which might have prompted you to choose that particular university. You need to explain why that reason is important to you. You are also expected to mention other universities you have considered to apply and the reason for not choosing them.
This question is asked to understand your professional goals and how it would connect to your current career. You can answer by explaining how much you enjoy the particular subject and how passionate you are about it. You can also talk about how taking this course will lead you towards your dream job or career, however, you need to have sound knowledge in that field and must provide valid reasons to back up your statement. Your answer might also lead to a few follow up questions such as:
You need to be aware of the university location and other geographical information of the UK. The interviewer must not feel that you have not done enough research about the university location and its facilities. Your accommodation arrangements must be made as soon as your admission is confirmed, so you can inform the interviewer of the same.
As your primary intention is to study, and you cannot rely on part-time work for your survival and tuition fees, you are not supposed to put out your true intentions even if you have them. You can always say that you hope to work if it will enhance your academic studies by providing you with relevant work experience. You must also be aware of the part-time hours you are allowed to work while studying and the hourly rate of pay.
This is one of the most important questions in a credibility interview and is asked to confirm your financial capability of funding your UK university tuition fees as well as your survival in the UK during your study time. As part of your application, you are supposed to submit your proof of funds available. You can explain to the interviewer about the source of funds, whether it is through your savings or property or an education loan, or even if a relative has sponsored you. However, you need to also explain to them how you will be able to repay the amount in this case. This will also lead to a few other follow up questions such as:
This question gives you the opportunity to explain to the interviewer what you have been doing during the gap. It can be anything from acquiring a new skill that will help you in your career to working in a relevant field. However, make sure you are also answering why you are returning to continue your education.
While this is a straightforward question and warrants a straightforward answer, do elaborate on how the chosen course will help develop your career or how the acquired work experience will help you in your studies.
There may be other questions not indicated in the list above that get asked of you during your interview. Don’t panic. Remember that if you have done your research and know your answers regarding why you intend to study the course, at the specific university, your eligibility and how the course takes you closer to your dream career, your answers can never be wrong. Do remember that your communication skills will also be assessed throughout the interview, so make sure that you are prepared for that.
A few students might be required to take a second interview if the interviewer finds that the information provided by the student is not enough. If you are called back for a second interview, the interviewer will ask you more in-depth questions to understand you better and take a call.
Sometimes, in spite of doing everything possible right, you might still have to face a visa rejection due to various other reasons. So, the best thing to do in those times is to understand the reason for your rejection, rectify it and reapply. A majority of student’s visas that were rejected initially and are reapplied after making changes, are accepted. You have an option to reapply for your study visa multiple times. However, if you are not getting through even after multiple attempts, you can always choose to study in countries that are more lenient in providing study visas and have fantastic world-class universities like Canada or Australia for instance.
If you would like to know more about the credibility interview or require assistance in practicing for your mock interviews, feel free to contact our student support team.
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