What is a credibility interview?
Credibility interviews are now part of the Tier 4 visa application process. They were introduced by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to try and make sure that only genuine students are studying in the UK. It is by invitation only.
What is the purpose of the interview?
The interview is to check that you are a genuine student. During the interview you will be asked questions about your background, immigration history, the studies you are planning to undertake in the UK, why you chose the University of Warwick and your course, how you intend to fund your studies in the UK and also how this fits into your career aspirations.
Will I have to attend an interview?
This will depend on where you apply:-
If you are applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa from outside the UK, you may be selected to attend a short credibility interview when you attend your appointment or shortly after you have attended your appointment.
If you are applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa from within the UK, you may be required to attend an interview. You are more likely to be invited for an interview if there are discrepancies between the supporting documents you have provided and the information included in your visa application form, or if the caseworker considering your application requests an interview in order to obtain more information before they can make a decision on your application.
If you have previously studied a course which is at the same level as the new course and you received an academic progression justification statement alongside your CAS, you are also more likely to be invited to an interview to ascertain whether you genuinely wish to pursue further studies in the UK. 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 of 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 to a sufficient extent about the reasons why you want to pursue the new course.
What do I need to do before attending an interview?
You need to confirm your attendance using the completed Reply Form before the deadline stated on the UKVI's letter. Please remember to bring the original signed forms to your interview.
How will the interview be conducted?
If you are overseas, the interview will take place at a (VAC) Visa Application Centre as stated on UKVI's letter. The interview will be conducted in English and therefore your ability to communicate in English will be tested.
The interview will normally last for 30 minutes and it will be conducted via video link with a Home Office member of staff in Sheffield in the UK. The report of the interview will then be sent to the visa officer who will consider it alongside your visa application and supporting documents. You can request a copy of your interview transcript and we suggest that all students do this.
If you are invited for an interview in the UK, you can expect to be interviewed for around 30-60 minutes and this will usually be conducted by Skype with a Home Office member of staff in Sheffield in the UK.
You need to be aware that failure to attend an interview when invited may result in your visa application being refused.
What questions may I be asked?
There are no set questions you will be asked, however from the feedback we have received the common types of questions are listed below:
Q: Why did you choose the University of Warwick?
Think about why you chose the UK rather than your home country, another English-speaking country or a country which other students of your nationality choose to study. You may find it useful to refer to the university profile on the following link: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/profile. Warwick is a campus university - what attracts you to the student lifestyle on a campus rather than in a city location?
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 Warwick. What is it specifically about the Warwick course which you prefer and which suits you over other course choices? Think about your decision process. Did you apply for other courses - why did you choose Warwick over them?
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 Warwick 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, e.g. 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 costs 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 and 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?
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?
The interviewer will also be checking your ability to converse well in English, and if there is any issue with hearing them clearly e.g. via the video link, you should ensure that you raise this so that they are aware that it is a technical issue, not one of comprehension.
Following your interview we would welcome any useful feedback you think it would be useful for us and other students to know. Please let us know using our online Contact Form.