The Home Office holds credibility interviews for most Tier 4 visa applicants applying from overseas.
Some students applying to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK are also asked to attend a credibility interview.
Nationals of ‘low risk’ countries will not be asked to attend a credibility interview. You are a ‘low risk’ national if:
- you are a national of Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, or USA, and you are applying for entry clearance in your country of nationality, or for leave to remain in the UK, or
- you hold a Hong Kong SAR passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and you are applying for entry clearance in Hong Kong, or for leave to remain in the UK, or
- you hold a Taiwan (ROC) passport with a residence card number, and you are applying for entry clearance in Taiwan, or for leave to remain in the UK
How will I know about the interview?
If you are applying from overseas
After you have submitted your Tier 4 visa application, you will receive an email inviting you to attend an interview at your visa application centre. This will take place when you go to have your biometrics taken and hand in your documents. Check your emails regularly, including your ‘Junk’ folder, so that you do not miss the email and the appointment.
If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa extension in the UK
You will receive a letter or email after you have submitted your online application telling you that you have been selected for interview and with further information about the time and location of the interview. This may not be in London and you may have to travel to another part of the UK to attend the interview.
It is very important that you attend even if it is inconvenient. If you have a genuine and compelling reason for not being able to attend the interview in the UK, please contact Student Advice for further advice as soon as possible.
What will happen at the interview?
The credibility interview is an important part of the visa application process. It is your chance to show that you are a genuine and credible student so it is essential that you prepare for the interview and take it seriously.
The interview will normally be conducted by video link to a member of staff at the Home Office in the UK. If you are overseas, it will last about 5 to 10 minutes. You may also be interviewed by telephone after the first video link interview. If you are in the UK, the interview will last about 20 or 30 minutes.
You will be asked about your previous studies both in the UK and elsewhere, your course at the University of Westminster and your reasons for wanting to study in the UK. You will be asked about why you chose the course at the University of Westminster instead of other, similar courses.
You will need to show that you know about the course you have chosen, what modules are available and why the course is suitable for you. You will also be expected to know about the University of Westminster and the facilities available. You will be asked about your plans for the future. You will also be asked how you are financing your studies and may be asked about your likely future earnings in your home country. The Home Office will want to be satisfied that you are a genuine student, that you know about your course and the University, that you genuinely have the necessary funds to pay for your studies and living costs and that your English language ability is at the correct level.
If you are extending your visa in the UK, you will be asked more detailed questions about your present course, previous courses and the reasons for choosing these courses as well as questions about where you live and what your financial support arrangements are, how much your fees are and general questions about your life in the UK and your future plans.
The interview will also test your ability to speak and understand English at the required level. If there are technical problems with the video link and you cannot hear properly, please make sure you point this out.
A report on the interview will then be sent to the Entry Clearance Officer or Immigration Officer processing your visa application.
How can I prepare for the interview?
Make sure you read the information about your course and the University on our website so that you can answer the questions confidently. Think about why you have chosen this course and why you want to study in the UK. Be clear about how the course will fit in with previous studies and your future career plans. Also be clear about how you are going to finance the course, who is providing the money, and show that you are aware of the cost of living in the UK.
If you are asked about whether you plan to work in the UK, be clear that you know that you can only work 20 hours per week in term time (10 hours per week for pre-sessional courses or other courses below degree level) and that you know that you cannot rely on finding part-time work to supplement your finances.
You can find more general information for international students about living in the UK on the Education UK website.