Applying for your student visa


Before you join us at the International Study Centre, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

Am I eligible for a student visa?

The three main requirements for studying in the UK on a student visa are:

  1. You must have already been offered a place on a programme
  2. You must have enough money to fund your course, as well as your living expenses
  3. You must be able to speak, read and write English to a good level.

Understanding the visa application process

Visa applications are processed based on a points system. If you achieve 40 points, you will be granted a visa. After applying for your programme at the International Study Centre, you can begin the process, which includes:

  • Receiving an offer to study on your programme, worth 30 points.
  • Sending your supporting documents to be checked by our Admissions Team – we can help you with this.
  • Obtaining your CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Study) – worth a further 10 points.
  • Applying for your visa and attaching any necessary financial statements.
  • Attending a credibility interview, if required.

Once you have gained your 40 points, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will contact you, letting you know whether your application for a visa has been successful.

When should I apply for my visa?

By applying for your visa as early as possible, you are ensuring there is enough time for your application to be processed. The earliest you are able to apply is three months before the start of your course. As soon as you apply to join us at the International Study Centre, you can begin preparing for your visa application.

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

How long you can stay in the UK is dependent on your chosen course. You will be able to stay in the UK for as long as it takes to complete your course, which in Scotland is four years for an undergraduate degree and one year for postgraduate studies. How long you can remain in Scotland after finishing your degree will depend on your course. You can learn more about this by reading section 5.66 of the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance document.

Can I work during my pathway programme?

If you are studying in the UK under the Tier 4 visa, you are entitled to work during your pathway programme at the International Study Centre – providing your visa was granted after 1st August 2019.

  • About the Tier 4 visa

    A Tier 4 visa allows you to study in the UK, as well as work alongside your studies to gain a well-rounded education and develop skills for your future. This is usually in the form of a part-time role, where you will work for a maximum of 10 hours a week in term time during a below degree-level course, and 20 hours at degree level. You may work full time (up to 40 hours per week) during term breaks. This cannot be averaged over a longer period. A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday.

  • Conditions of a Tier 4 visa

    There are certain conditions to working on a Tier 4 visa. If allowed to work on their Tier 4 visa, students are not able to:

    • be employed in training (except on a recognised foundation programme)
    • be employed as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach
    • be employed as an entertainer
    • engage in business activity
    • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except on a recognised foundation programme or as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer).

    If you stop studying before completing your course, you will no longer be entitled to work and will be in breach of your visa conditions.

Visa credibility interviews

Depending on your country of residence, you may be required to attend a credibility interview. This allows an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to check your application and make sure you’re applying for the right reasons. You will need to show that you’re a serious student who has chosen your university and course for a reason. As long as you have done enough research, this interview is nothing to worry about.

  • Where will my credibility interview take place?

    You will normally be interviewed at the visa application centre once you submit your documents. You will be interviewed by a UKVI staff member in the UK over a secure video system.

  • How should I prepare for my interview?

    You will need to explain why you want to study your chosen subject and why you want to attend your chosen university, as well how you hope your course will help you in the future. Learn more about the pathway programmes at the International Study Centre to help you prepare.

  • What questions will I be asked?

    You could be asked a variety of questions at your visa credibility interview, including:

    Why do you want to study in the UK?

    Explain to the interviewer why you have chosen to go to university in the UK, rather than in another country.

    Why did you choose the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre?

    You can tell the interviewer why you think Aberdeen is the right choice for you – factors to consider include its location, the courses offered and any other research you have done.

    How will you fund your time in the UK?

    You must be able to explain to the interviewer that you have the funds to cover both your tuition and living costs in the UK.

    Do you plan to work in the UK?

    It's important that you let the interviewer know that you are coming to the UK to study and that any employment you gain is practical work experience to help you in the future.

    You must also be clear that you understand that you will not be relying on any earnings you receive through working whilst studying to pay your programme fees and living costs. These must still be evidenced as part of your visa application. You should also demonstrate that you understand the number of hours you are allowed to work during your studies.

    A good tip for your visa credibility interview is to be as honest as possible and to relax. Try not to pre-prepare your answers too much and to act naturally.

  • What if my visa is refused?

    If you receive a visa refusal, you have 28 days to submit an Administrative Review to the UKVI and contest the decision made. This requires you to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal. You must submit your Administrative Review from outside the UK – but our staff will be able to help you with this.