Credibility Interviews – Tier 4 Visa
- In 2012 the Home Office amended the Immigration Rules to allow entry clearance officers and caseworkers in the UK to test the credibility or ‘genuineness’ of a Tier 4 applicant.
- This change came into effect on 30 July 2012 for entry clearance applications and from 1 October 2013 for leave to remain applications. The tests have been introduced in phases, and until 6 April 2014 they affect only Tier 4 (General) applicants who are not ‘low risk’ nationals. This exemption ceases to apply from 6 April 2014; everyone who makes a Tier 4 (General) application on or after that date can be called for interview.
- All Tier 4 applicants overseas can expect to receive a short credibility interview at the beginning of the application process which will be conducted via Skype with a Home Office employee in the UK. The process should take around 15-20 minutes during which time you will be asked a series of mandatory questions and your answers transcribed.
- Where an initial interview raises concerns a student may be required to attend an in-person interview at the visa application centre before a decision can be made on their application.
- Tier 4 applicants in the UK may be contacted to participate in an interview if there are discrepancies between the supporting documents which have been provided and the information included in the visa application form, or if the caseworker considering the application requests an interview in order to obtain more information before they can make a decision.
- An interview in the UK can take between 30-60 minutes and will usually be conducted by Skype with a Home Office employee based in Sheffield. You will most likely have to travel to a VFS centre in order to participate in the interview and the Home Office will send you a letter with details of when and where you will need to go.
- Failure to attend an interview when invited may result in your visa application being refused.
- A transcript of your interview will be included in the information which the caseworker will use to decide your application. You can request a copy of your interview transcript and we suggest that all students do this.
- You will be asked questions about why you chose the UK, the University and your course, how you intend to fund your studies in the UK and also how this fits into your career aspirations.
- If you have previously studied a course which is at the same level as the new course and you received an academic progression justificationstatement alongside your CAS, you are more likely to be invited to an interview. This is because the caseworker is required to assess whether the academic progression requirement is met. When making this assessment, the caseworker will consider the level of the courses, the subject matter of the new and previous courses, your education history, the credibility for your rationale for wishing to study the new course, and whether the justification statement sufficiently explains why you are applying to study a course at the same level. If you are invited to an interview, you should be prepared to talk about reasons why you want to pursue the new course sufficiently.
Typical questions may include:
Q: Why did you choose this University ?
Think about why you chose the UK rather than your home country, other English-speaking country or country which other students of your nationality choose to study in.
Q: Why did you choose your course?
There may be many courses in the same subject area as the one you plan to study at this University. What is it specifically about the course which you prefer and which suits you over other course choices? Think about your decision process.
Q: How do your studies fit into your career plans?
Think about what your plans are after you graduate – how will the knowledge and skills you gain from your course at this University help you with the type of work you hope to do. Does your course lead to any professional exemptions or qualifications and are these recognised in your country? Do you know what others graduating from the course you will be following went on to do eg the types of roles and organisations they work for? If the course you plan to study is at a similar academic level to previous studies, how does it represent progression and does it have a vocational focus? If this is the case, be prepared to explain this.
Q: If the costs of pursuing your course of study are higher in the UK than in your home country, why have you decided to incur the extra costs involved with studying in the UK?
Think about the advantages that a degree from the UK might give you and why you and/or your family are prepared to make this investment. Have you made a realistic assessment of all the costs involved and how you plan to pay for them. These cost include accommodation and costs of living.
Q: You have previously studied in the UK – why have you chosen to return?
Think about how the new course relates to previous studies and how it might build on your previous learning.
Q: You have had a long break in your studies, why are you returning to study now?
Think about how you explain your decision in the context of your long-term career plans.
Q: Do you plan to work in the UK?
You cannot rely on funds from working to pay your course fees and living costs so you need to be aware of this. The main purpose for being in the UK is your studies so, if you do hope to work, think about how this would enhance your academic studies. You also need to demonstrate an understanding of the hours you are allowed to work and typical rates of pay.
Q: How will you fund your studies?
Answer preparation: The purpose of this question is to check that your funds are genuinely available to you for your studies. As part of your application you will have submitted proof of your finances – ensure that you are very clear about the source and availability of these funds, also how you plan to pay for subseqent years fees if your course is more than a year in duration. If you have official financial sponsorship make sure you are aware of the amounts and exactly what is covered. If you have a loan, how will you afford to pay this back? How much will your accommodation cost and are you clear about the cost of living in the UK?