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Visa Interview Guide

Important: The information contained below is for guidance only. Although every effort is made to ensure its accuracy, we strongly recommend you visit the for up-to-date information. Further details on eligibility, required documents and application can be found here -

What is the Visa Interview (Credibility Test)?


Tier 4 applicants aged 16 or above can be asked to attend an interview during their visa application process. The purpose of visa interview is to check applicant’s credibility as a genuine student and interview questions can include applicant’s reasons for choosing to study their programme in the UK, their knowledge of the chosen programme and whether they can afford their studies in the UK. These interviews can be carried out via video link with the Home Office interviewing team in the UK, face-to-face with Entry Clearance Officers based in UK Embassies/High Commissions or via telephone.


  • Video-linked interviews: When students submit their applications in their home country at a Visa Application Centre (VAC), they could be asked to attend an interview with the Interviewing Officers, who are based in the UK, via the video-link facility. Interviewing Officers will be asking a series of questions around student’s intention to study their course with the institution in the UK.

  • Face-to-face interview with an Entry Clearance Officer at the local embassy or consulate for which students would normally be invited to attend an appointment in advance. The questions will be around intention, but can also be around their financial background, previous education/work history and other immigration-related questions.

  • Telephone interviews can also be conducted at times with a Visa Officer so students must make sure their telephone contact details are up to date and be prepared that there is a chance they might be called upon by the Visa Office.


Will students always be interviewed when they apply for a visa?


Yes, for Tier 4 General applicants applying from the countries where the Credibility Test has been rolled out and this will happen when they submit their visa applications at their local VACs. It is worth to note that UKVI defined ‘low risk’ countries are exempt from the Visa Interview requirement.


How do I prepare for the Visa Interview?


We do recommend our students to prepare for these visa interviews so they can answer the questions properly and accurately to assist the Visa Officers who will be assessing their applications and this also ensures there is minimum delay to the processing of their visa application.

Here are a few things to bear in mind:


  • Do attend - Failure to attend the interview may result in your application being automatically refused. In the event you cannot attend, contact the Visa Office to reschedule.

  • Do answer - You should always answer all questions fully and honestly.

  • Do think - You should think in advance about your course, the documents you provided for your visa application, and your intention to study. The UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) want to know that you have given serious thought before choosing your course and researched the options.

  • Do speak in English! - One of the most important things they will be checking is your level of English, so always answer in English, not via an interpreter.

  • Do ask - Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question to make sure you are providing the information they want.


General information

  • What is the name of the school? This may not be the same as the school's Tier 4 name – check your CAS statement for these details.

  • Did you use an educational agent at any stage (even if you stopped using them)? Who is/was your agent and why did you choose them?

  • Why did you choose this university/college/school? Why did you choose this course and how does it relate to your previous study? Why do you wish to study in the UK? Why not stay in your own country to study, if similar courses are available there?

  • What is your plan after completing the course? Do you intend to stay in the UK (for additional studies) or are you returning home?

  • If you are changing course or study pathway, why are you are making such a change of direction in your studies?

  • How do you explain any gaps in your previous education/employment history?


Intended Course(s)

  • What is the course name and academic level? What qualification will you get after the course if you pass? This is all on your CAS and/or offer letter.

  • When does the course start and finish? How many terms/semesters is it?

  • What are the modules/subjects of the course? What will you study during the course? How are you going to be assessed on the course? 

  • Did you do any research before choosing the school/course? What other schools/courses did you consider, and why did you decide on this one?

  • How is this course going to benefit you for your future career and/or academic plans?


Financial Circumstances

  • Who is going to pay your tuition fees and living costs? Where did they get the money? What is their salary?

  • You might need to provide documents to prove your financial ability to study in the UK, such as additional bank statements and proof of income from your financial sponsors. Do you have all of these? Make sure you bring additional documentations required by the Visa Office.

  • Do you know how much it costs to live in the UK and also what you might spend on day- to- day items such as food, travel and accommodation?

  • Do you know the total cost of the course and have an idea on any future courses?


Living in UK

  • Where is the school? Which city is it in and which part of the UK does it belong to?

  • Have you arranged accommodation? If not, why not? How will you/did you find it?

  • How much does accommodation cost in the city/town where you will be studying?

  • How will you commute between your accommodation and the school (bus, train, underground etc.)?


Tier 4 General Student


Students applying for Tier 4 General must complete and pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT). All students requiring a SELT will need to take an IELTS for UKVI test at an approved SELT centre.  


Please note that students progressing from a Tier 4 Child visa to a Tier 4 General visa are exempt from the SELT requirement if they have successfully completed a course in the UK as a Tier 4 (Child) student or as a student under rules in force before 31 March 2009, where they were under 18 when granted leave, provided the course was at least six months long and it was completed no more than two years before the CAS was assigned. 

  • RQF/QCF/NQF Level 3-5: CEFR Level B1 (IELTS 4.0 minimum in all 4 components)

  • RQF/QCF/NQF Level 6+:  CEFR Level B2 (IELTS 5.5 minimum in all 4 components)

  • Students over 18 with English level below B1/IELTS 4.0 will have to use the Short-term Study visa route.


Tier 4 Child Student

  • There is no need for a Secure English Language Test (SELT) as Cambridge Education Group can self-assess entry level of English (with no minimum restriction) and recommend appropriate English training to each student's needs

  • Students can take English language modules before their main academic course under one single CAS (as long as they are 16 or over and joining Pre: Programme/A Level/IB Diploma course)

  • Only CATS students may use the Tier 4 Child visa  route as long as they intend to join Pre: Programme, IB Diploma or A Level courses. 


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