As part of your application to study in the UK, you will have to complete a student visa interview. Sometimes, this is also known as a “credibility interview” to show that you are a genuine student entering the country to study.
The credibility interview is an important part of the UK visa application process. But with just a bit of preparation, there is nothing to worry about once you understand the process and the possible questions.
In this article, we explain how to prepare for a visa interview. From what to expect on the day to common UK visa interview questions, we share everything you need to know to get through the process.
Table of Contents
- What is a UK student visa interview?
- How to prepare for the UK student visa interview
- Top tips for passing the UK visa interview
- Example questions
What is a UK student visa interview?
A visa interview is a personal interview that is a part of the UK visa process. Everyone has to attend a visa interview after completing their online application and document submission. It is used to check if you are a genuine applicant.
Generally, the interview lasts around 30 minutes. It takes place in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or online via Skype.
Visa officers will ask you questions about the intentions behind your travel. As part of the interview, UK Visas & Immigration officials will ask questions about three main areas.
- Your immigration and educational history
- Your personal and financial circumstances (including any dependents)
- Your reasons for studying in the UK (including future plans)
In addition, part of the interview process is seeing whether your English language skills are sufficient to study in the UK.
How to prepare for the UK student visa interview
Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a visa to provide full, accurate and detailed replies. Therefore, preparation and pre-interview research are important so you can provide correct answers.
To help you get ready for the interview, we have provided an overview of the information to focus on before your interview.
Go over your institution’s online prospectus and course information, being prepared to discuss the modules you’ll study.
Think about how this aligns with your long-term goals and career opportunities. Also, avoid discussing dual intentions. This includes working in the UK soon after graduation. Mentioning any different intention for a visa may suggest that academic study isn’t your primary motivation.
Read your personal statement
Re-read the personal statement you wrote when applying to your university or college. This will help refresh your memory of your reasons for studying. You may also be asked to talk about other universities or countries you considered, so have some answers prepared.
Accommodation and university location
Research the city you are planning to move to, your university and your course. Having additional details on these areas will show that you have thought it through and that your decision to study in the UK is genuine.
Finances and money
Be sure about the expenses, from tuition fees through to accommodation and cost of living. Also, be clear about your budget and your funding plans.
Speaking and listening skills
Work on your language fluency. Your answers need to be clear and understandable. You can start by practising, try talking in English regularly to your friends and family. You can also watch British movies and series; this way you can also get a hold of the local slang.
Top tips for passing the UK visa interview
With some practice and pre-interview preparation, you will be ready to pass the visa interview and focus on your studies.
Before the Interview
Here, we share some of our top tips to consider before the interview.
- Practise in front of the mirror. While answering the expected questions in front of a mirror, you can not only improve your confidence but also work on your body language.
- Practise through a mock interview. Ask one of your friends or family members to be the interviewer and mimic the environment of the interview. In addition, your university might provide services that help you pass the visa interview, including practice with a member of staff.
During the Interview
When the interview day comes, taking time to prepare yourself and to make some final preparations can be very important. To help with this part of the interview, consider the following tips.
- Dress professionally. A visa interview is like a job interview. Dress up smartly as it will not only create a great first impression but also make you feel more confident.
- Greet the visa officer and introduce yourself. Walk in, say good morning/afternoon and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. This will show that you are confident and will help you start the interview on a positive note.
- Listen carefully and answer clearly. Pay attention to the interviewer and give answers that are to the point. You can be conversational and add additional points but don’t stray away from the question.
- Feel free to let the interviewer know if you’re struggling. For instance, if you do not understand a question you can say, "Can you please repeat/rephrase the question?" If you are unable to keep up with the interviewer's speed, you can say, "Can you please talk more slowly?" Likewise, you can tell them about anything troubling you, just do so professionally and respectfully.
- Be honest. Even if you do not know the answer to the question, politely tell the interviewer that you do not know. Visa officers are well trained to notice when you are bluffing your way through the question.
- Be real; do not exaggerate. You do not have to sell yourself or overstate your qualifications. At this point, you will already have an acceptance letter from a university. Remember that the visa officer just wants to check your intentions, so be yourself.
Example UK Student visa interview questions
When answering UK student visa interview questions, give as many specific details as possible.
With this in mind, it helps to prepare short responses to some common UK interview questions for student visa applications so you’re not caught off guard on the day.
Remember officials are only interested in understanding if you are a genuine student. Don’t feel too much pressure when answering UK visa interview questions. Answer truthfully, calmly and openly and, most importantly, be yourself.
Here are some questions you’re likely to face.
- What course or degree are you studying, and why did you choose this?
- What are some of the modules you’ll take as part of your course?
- Why did you choose this university and city? What other institutions did you consider?
- How far is your accommodation from your college? How will you travel to classes?
- What qualification(s) will you receive when you graduate?
- Who will be paying for your course? (i.e. yourself, parents or grants/scholarships)
- If your parents are supporting you, what are their job(s) and annual income?
- Where have the funds in your or your parent's bank account come from?
- How much money will you need for living expenses and accommodation?
- What is your expected salary on return to your home country (or elsewhere)?
Your personal background
- Have you ever travelled abroad or lived in any other countries before?
- Do you have any friends or family in the UK?
- If you’ve previously studied in the UK, why have you chosen to return?
- Why did you decide to study in the UK as opposed to another country?
- How do your studies fit into your long-term career plans?
1. How do I schedule a visa interview?
You can schedule your visa interview after finishing your visa application through the visa immigration services website. You will receive an email confirming your appointment.
2. Will I be called again for a second interview after completing my first visa interview?
In most cases, only one visa interview is conducted. However, you might be called a second time if the visa officer needs some clarification. Keep checking your email (including your spam folder) to find out if they need to see you again.
3. How long is a visa interview?
A UK student visa interview will typically be under 30 minutes.
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