Visa information

Applying for a visa

In order to study in the UK at Durham University International Study Centre, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

How do I apply for a student visa?

Your student visa application will work via a points-based system; if you score 40 points you will be granted a visa. In order to apply for your visa, you must first:

  • Apply for your chosen programme at Durham University International Study Centre.
  • Receive an offer of a place. 
  • Send documents to be checked by the International Study Centre, including IELTS scores, financial information, tuberculosis certificate and academic results if you have already received them). 
  • Pay a deposit and Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) payment to the International Study Centre.
  • Receive a CAS. This is worth 30 points. 
  • Apply for your visa, providing financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs. This will get you a further 10 points.
  • You may also be required to attend a credibility interview.
  • You will be contacted to let you know whether or not your visa application has been successful.

When should I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa from three months before the start date of your course at the International Study Centre. Apply early to make sure there is enough time for your application to be processed.

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

If you have a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you can arrive in the UK up to one month before your course starts. You are allowed to stay in the UK for an extra four months after your course end date.

Visa credibility interviews

A credibility interview - also known as a visa interview - is carried out by an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to establish that you are a genuine student. Not everyone will have one; it depends on which country you are applying from. If they believe you may be planning to use a student visa for holiday or work, they will refuse your visa application. The interview is nothing to worry about; you just need to show that you have done your research and are coming to the UK for the right reasons.

Where will my credibility interview take place?

You will normally be interviewed at the visa application centre when you submit your visa application documents. This interview is via a secure video system and you will be interviewed by a UKVI member of staff who is in the UK.

How should I prepare for a credibility interview?

Make sure you have researched the International Study Centre and your chosen course. Avoid yes and no answers, and try and go into more detail. The Entry Clearance Officer may be suspicious if they think you are repeating rehearsed answers. 

What questions will I be asked in my credibility interview?

Below are some examples of questions commonly asked in credibility interviews:

What made this University stand out from the rest when you were deciding where to apply?

You need to demonstrate that you researched other options, and why you decided to apply for your chosen course at Durham University.

Given the large costs associated with studying abroad, students should have an understanding of how they will pay for their education. 

Tell the interviewer why you hope studying at Durham University will help you finding a good job in the future.

You need to show that you have made living arrangements before you arrive. 

What if my student 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 challenge the decision made by the ECO. You will need to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal.