UK Tier 4 Visa Credibility Interviews: What To Expect

Life in the UK
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Now that you've received an unconditional offer from your chosen UK university and submitted your Tier 4 student visa application, you must then give your Biometrics, and afterwards attend a credibility interview – IF you are asked to do so.

While it is infrequent, some student visa applicants may be invited for an interview to support their application to study in the UK. So, if you are selected, how should you prepare?

What are 'credibility interviews'?

Introduced by the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to ensure that only 'legitimate' and 'credible' students are granted the immigration permission to study in the UK, credibility interviews are a crucial part of the Tier 4 visa application process.

If you are selected, credibility interviews tend to last around 30 minutes and are conducted in English, either via a video link (similar to Skype), in-person or through a telephone.

Will I have to attend an interview?

According to the UKCISA, individuals who are not considered to be a 'low-risk national' are more likely to be selected for an interview – the University of Warwick provides a comprehensive list of low risk nationalities which are normally reviewed on a yearly basis here.

Deciding factors as to whether you are a high-risk national includes previous visa refusals, or inconsistencies between supporting documents and the information provided in your visa application form.

Also, depending on a number of reasons, for example whether you’re applying for a Tier 4 visa from overseas (entry clearance) or from within the UK (leave to remain), you may need to attend a short credibility interview (5 to 10 minutes) at the beginning of the application process. Depending on how satisfactory the interview was, you may or may not have to attend a second (30 minute) interview.

How will the interview take place?

During the interview, attendees are expected to answer a number of questions that are related to their:

·         background;

·         immigration history;

·         course of study;

·         reason(s) for opting the college/university;

·         source of funding;

·         and career aspirations.

For instance:

1.      How the particular course will support your future career

2.      Where you plan to live in the UK

3.      Why you chose to study in the UK – rather than elsewhere, such as your home country or Australia, etc.

4.      Do you know how large the university is, how many students?

5.      How do you explain the gaps in your study history (if relevant)?

Other areas to consider:

Your immigration history

o   Previous refusals (any visa type)

o   Previous violations in the UK or other countries

o   Time already spent in the UK

Your education history, study and post study plans

o   Academic progression

o   Gaps in study

o   Reason for returning to, or commencing, study

o   Non-completion of a previous course

o   Rationale and level of research carried out

Personal and financial circumstances

o   Realistic funds to meet both tuition and maintenance fees

o   Origin of funds

o   Financial conditions of the applicant and dependant(s)

o   Funds must usually belong to either:

     - The applicant

     - Applicant's parents (Legal Guardian if under 18) – No other family members

     - Government sponsor body or international company

o   Distance between accommodation and study – how will the student get to the University for class?

Pull factors

o   Why did the student choose the UK?

o   Was the ease of working during or after the course a deciding factor?

Vague responses are not sufficient!

It is important that you are prepared to discuss the above topics in detail and are always mindful to link your answers to why you intend to study in the UK where possible. 

For example; "Why did you choose to study in the UK?"

"The UK has good quality education and great weather."


"Before making my decision, I considered the pros and cons to studying in the UK. Although it is more expensive than studying in my home country, it is less expensive to study here, in comparison to the US. UK degrees are recognised worldwide and less common amongst the people in my home country, which I therefore think will increase my employability."

Clearly, the second answer is a far stronger choice!

If you have any further questions about credibility interviews, or Tier 4 visas in general, contact us on

Keep an eye out for more details on our Visa Information webinar session, coming in the very near future! You'll get the opportunity to ask questions during the webinar and receive an instant answer from a licensed visa and immigration advisor.

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