Student smiling outside Aberdeen

Student visa

Visa applications and credibility interviews

You will need a Student visa (formerly known as a Tier 4 visa) to study at the University of Aberdeen 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 have been offered a place on a course
  • You must have received a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) from our Admissions team
  • You can speak, read, write and understand English
  • You have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course

What is a CAS and why is it important?

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a unique reference number which confirms you have been accepted on a course of study in the UK. You must have a CAS number before you can apply for a Student visa.

You can receive your CAS up to 6 months before your course start date if you reside outside the UK, and up to 3 months if you are in the UK.

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 visa process

In order to apply for your visa, you must:

  • First, apply for the programme of your choice at the International Study Centre, and receive an offer.
  • Next, you must send the requested documents to be checked by the Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Advisor.
  • You will then pay a deposit and CAS payment.
  • Your CAS will be issued. 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. 

Students at University of Aberdeen International Study Centre applying for one of our integrated programmes will benefit from an Integrated CAS (iCAS) – with visa sponsorship from the University for the full duration of their integrated programme. You will benefit from only needing to make one visa application to study in the UK, saving you time and money as you won’t need to obtain a new visa before you progress to your course of study with the University. Please note the Undergraduate Foundation Programme is only offered on a Study Group CAS.

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 for holiday in the UK.

Whether or not you will be invited for a credibility interview depends on which country you are applying from. However, the UKVI reserve the right to interview students from any country if they think it is necessary to do so.

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 the University of Aberdeen 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 the University of Aberdeen International Study Centre?
    What made you choose the University of Aberdeen 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 support is available?

As part of your Student visa application, you may be required to attend a credibility interview to ensure that you comply with the UK’s Immigration Rules.

To help you prepare for a UKVI credibility interview and reduce your chances of a visa refusal, our UK Visa and Compliance Team conduct Pre-CAS interviews. If you have been identified as requiring a Pre-CAS interview, then you must attend one before your CAS can be issued. You will receive more information about this once you have confirmed your place.

As part of your visa application, you may be asked to submit financial evidence to prove you have enough funds to study in the UK. You do not need to prove you have enough money to support yourself if you are exempt or are a national from one of the following countries listed here, however you might be asked to provide this evidence before you get a decision on your application.

Our Visa and Compliance team help support your visa application by conducting financial document checks after your pre-CAS interview and before you receive your CAS.

Your agent representative will receive an email when to upload your financial documents for approval. It is important to read the requirements carefully to submit the correct and complete documents.

For any questions relating to financial document check, please email visaquestions@studygroup.com.

What if my visa is refused?

If you do not 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 Administrative Review from outside the UK.

If you are applying from the UK and your visa is refused, you must apply for an administrative review within 14 days of getting the decision.

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, permission to stay will also be granted depending on your length of course.

Working during your pathway programme

If you hold a Student visa to study at the International Study Centre you are entitled to work during your pathway programme. For more information on working during your studies, visit UKCISA.

The new Student visa route is replacing the Tier 4 route. The purpose of the Student visa 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 student 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 Student visa, you must not:

  • be self-employed or engage in business activity
  • take employment as an entertainer or as a professional sportsperson, including a
    sports coach
  • fill a full-time permanent vacancy 

Join us today

Our student enrolment advisors are available to answer your questions and help you with your application. We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Aberdeen family.