Visa information

Two students studying together

Visa applications and credibility interviews

Applying for a visa

You will need a student (Tier 4) visa in order to study in the UK at the University of Sussex International Study Centre.

Will I be eligible for a student visa?

There are three main requirements for those who want to study in the UK:
• You must have been offered a place on a course
• You must have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
• You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English to a good level.

When should I apply for a visa?

You should make sure you apply early, to leave enough time for your application to be processed. The earliest you can apply is three months before your course begins.

How long can I stay in the UK on a student visa?

If your course lasts between six and 12 months, you can arrive in the UK up to one month before the start date. You can remain in the UK for a further four months after your course end date.

The visa process

Visa applications in the UK work via a points-based system. If you collect enough points, you will be issued a visa. These are the steps you must follow:

  • The first step is to apply for the programme of your choice at the International Study Centre, and receive an offer. This is worth 30 points.
  • Next, you must send the requested documents to be checked by staff at the International Study Centre. These will include a your IELTS scores, tuberculosis certificate, financial statements and exam results (if you already have them).
  • You will then pay a deposit and CAS payment to the International Study Centre.
  • Your CAS will be issued, which is worth a further 10 points. This means you can apply for your visa.
  • You may be invited to a credibility interview.
  • You will be contacted regarding the outcome of your visa application.

Visa credibility interviews

You may be required to attend a credibility interview to ensure that you comply with the UK’s immigration rules. The purpose is for an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to establish that you are a genuine student. You need to show you are serious, and that you have good knowledge of your chosen university and course. If you have done your research, the interview is nothing to worry about. The process is just designed to filter out people who are planning to use a student visa to work or holiday in the UK.

Will I need an interview?

Whether or not you will be invited for a credibility interview depends on which country you are applying from. 

How will the interview happen?

Credibility interviews normally take place in your local Visa Application Centre, via a video link. You will be interviewed by an ECO based in the UK.

How should I prepare?

Make sure you have done some detailed research on Sussex University International Study Centre, as well as accommodation options, costs, and the local area. Also familiarise yourself with the content of your chosen course.

What questions will I be asked?

Below are some examples of questions you may be asked. Think carefully before answering, because interviewers expect you to take the process seriously.

Be honest, and avoid yes and no answers. Talk as naturally as possible; you do not want to look like you are repeating pre-prepared answers.

What made you choose Sussex University International Study Centre, rather than another institution? Consider what your reasons are for choosing to study at this institution, and ensure you are able to communicate these with your interviewer.

Tell the interviewer about your research. Did you look at other options, and how did you decide this course was the best for you? How will it fit in with your future career plans?

With so many countries offering higher education, why does the UK appeal the most?

What if my visa is refused?

If you do meet the criteria set out in UKVI’s immigration rules, your application will be refused. If you receive a visa refusal, you have 28 days to submit an Administrative Review to the UKVI and contest the decision made by the ECO. This requires you to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal and you must submit your Administration Review from outside the UK.