International Study Centre

Student visa information

The University of Sussex International Study Centre is a diverse and welcoming place

Visa applications and credibility interviews

You will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study 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?

In addition to the period of leave given to you to carry out your course of study, leave to remain will also be granted depending on your length of course. See section 5.66 in Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance document to find out more.

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 Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Adviser.
  • You will then pay a deposit and CAS payment.
  • 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 by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) regarding the outcome of your visa application.

How we can help

If you applied to study with us directly through our online application form; your Student Enrolment Advisor is available to help with all visa-related enquiries, such as help booking your visa interview and IELTS exam. Our team speak more than a dozen languages so you can feel comfortable and supported throughout this time. Your Student Enrolment Advisor can also offer you a free in-country visa agent service to handle your visa application, if you require it.

Working during your pathway programme

If you hold a Tier 4 visa to study at the International Study Centre and your visa is granted on or after after 1 August 2019, you are entitled to work during your pathway programme. For more information on working during your studies, visit UKCISA.

The main purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for students to come to the UK to study. If you wish to work, it must be to gain work experience in your field of study. This could be taking a part-time role within an established business or organisation, such as a customer service position or as part of a work placement.

If you stop studying without completing your course, you will no longer be entitled to work and will be in breach of the conditions of the visa if you do work.

A Tier 4 visa allows you to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week during the term time of any course below degree level (for example your pathway programme), and a maximum of 20 hours per week during any course at degree level.

You can work full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during official holiday periods. This also applies to English language preparation programme students. This is the maximum number of hours you are allowed to work in any one week, including paid or unpaid work for one or more organisations. This cannot be averaged over a longer period. A ‘week’ is defined by the Home Office as a period of seven days and begins on a Monday. 

If you work and hold a Tier 4 visa, you must not:

  • be employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation programme)
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • be self-employed, except if you are awaiting a decision on an application you have made for leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • engage in business activities
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

  • Why did you choose Sussex University International Study Centre?
    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.
  • Did you consider other courses?
    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?
  • Why do you want to study in the UK?
    With so many countries offering higher education, why does the UK appeal the most?

Make clear that your main purpose for being in the UK is to study, and that any employment or work placement would be to gain practical work experience in your field of study. Show that you understand that you won’t be relying on any earnings to fund your education or living costs. You should show that you understand the number of hours you are permitted to work during your studies, both in term time and holiday periods. 

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.

Do I need a visa?

Find out if you need a UK student visa on the UK government visa pages.

Need help with your visa?

By applying online directly through us, we can offer guidance and support through the entire application process - including visas.