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 through 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 (Tier 4 General 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 or also known as the credibility interview.
This whole process might be pretty overwhelming to you. However, it is not difficult or impossible if you understand what UKVI looks for in a genuine student and prepare for it. 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.
What is a Credibility 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 Tier 4 (General) study visa.
The interview will be taken once you receive your CAS (final offer letter) from a UK university and you have enrolled your bio-metrics after applying for a study visa. It will either be conducted on a 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 asked will be focused on your reasons to study in the UK, your background, study plans, professional goals, and finances. Similar questions are also asked in 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.
Reasons for study visa rejection
While we cannot ascertain the exact reason for study visa rejections as there are many, below are some of the common ones.
- Unable to justify or provide financial proof to support yourself financially during your study time in the UK (both tuition fees and living expenses).
- Ignorance about the university and course details which shows the interviewer that you have not done enough research.
- Not having a fixed plan for your study time in the UK and after graduating.
- Having plans to permanently stay back in the UK after graduating.
- Missing or incorrect documents.
- Poor communication skills.
- Failure to convince the interviewer about your genuine reasons to study in the UK.
- Falling short of academic achievements.
Things to remember before you attend your study visa interview
Now that you know the common reasons for a study visa rejection, here are some important points that you need to be aware of before you take your visa interview.
- Practice for the interview by taking part in as many mock interviews as possible.
- Research about the university from online articles and the university’s website and know your course details (you can also get details at www.ubergrad.com).
- Ensure you are able to communicate properly and also concentrate on your language fluency.
- Make sure you are dressed decently in formal clothing (even if it is a video interview).
- Double-check your details and documents and arrive at the venue early.
- Avoid giving vague answers and demonstrate that you have done your part of the research.
- Finally have a positive body language and answer confidently.
Common questions you can expect in the credibility interview and how to answer them
Why do you want to study in the UK?
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 like its shorter course duration, world-renowned education system, research facilities, cultural diversity, and reputation of universities.
Why did you choose this university instead of another university?
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, 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.
Why did you choose this course and how many modules does it have?
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:
- How long is the duration of the course?
- What is the structure of the course?
- What are the modules in the course and which ones are you interested in?
- How many semesters are there in the course and how many credits will you need to clear the program?
- What qualification will you receive after completing this course and how will you be assessed?
Where is your university located and your accommodation details?
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 and inform the same to the interviewer.
Do you plan to work while studying?
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.
How will you fund your studies?
This is one of the most important questions in a credibility interview and is asked to confirm your financial capability of funding your 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:
- Are you aware of the living costs in the UK?
- Will you be able to make the payment for your tuition fees upfront?
- What is the relation between you and your financial sponsor and their profession?
- Do you have the bank statements showing the availability of the money in your bank account?
- Have you made an assessment of all the costs including for your survival and how you plan to afford them?
Why is there a gap in your education or employment?
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.
What is your current occupation?
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.
Apart from the above common questions, you might be asked other questions that you might not be ready for. Whatever might be the question, answer honestly to the best of your knowledge. 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 for more in-depth questions to understand you better and take a call. It is also likely to go on for a longer duration.
What to do if your study visa is rejected?
Sometimes, in spite of doing everything possibly 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, you can always contact us at +91-9303-42-42-42 or write to us with your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org to get free assistance from our expert student support team.