Visa information

Applying for a visa

In order to study in the UK, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Will I be granted a student visa?

UK visa applications work via a points-based system. In order to be eligible for a visa, you must score 40 points. The visa process is as follows:

  • Apply for your chosen programme at Kingston University International Study Centre.
  • Receive an offer letter.
  • Send the requested documents to the Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Adviser to be processed.
  • Receive a CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Study).
  • Apply for your visa, including financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs.
  • You may then be required to attend a credibility interview.
  • You will be informed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) whether or not your visa has been approved.

When should I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa up to three months before your course start date. 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?

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.

Can I work during my pathway programme?

If you are a Tier 4 student, you are entitled to work during your pathway programme at the International Study Centre providing that your visa is granted on or after 1 August 2019.

The main purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for students to come to the UK to study. Where a student is permitted to work, the intention is that this should be an opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study. In most cases we expect this to be taking a part-time role for an established business/organisation (for example, a customer service role at a retailer) or as part of a work placement provided it is an integral and assessed part of your course.

A Tier 4 visa allows you to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week during term-time for an undergraduate level study or 20 hours per week during term-time for a postgraduate level study. This is the maximum hours in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation. 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.

If allowed to work, students cannot:

  • 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 where the student is awaiting a decision on an application they have made for leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • 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 conditions of leave if found working.

Visa credibility interviews

Applicants from certain countries may be required to attend a credibility interview.

What is a credibility interview?

A credibility interview (also known as a visa interview) is designed to establish that you are a genuine student, and not planning to use a student visa for holiday or work. The interview is nothing to worry about; you just need to show that you are serious about studying here, and that you have researched your chosen course and university.

Where will I have my credibility interview?

You will be interviewed at your local Visa Application Centre, via a video link with a member of staff in the UK.

How should I prepare for a credibility interview?

Make sure you have researched Kingston University and are able to explain why you chose to study here. Give detailed answers, and try to speak as naturally as possible.

What questions will I be asked in a credibility interview?

Below are some examples of questions you may be asked during your interview:

The purpose of a Tier 4 visa is to study in the UK – not to work. The UKVI are aware that some students who are given working rights get heavily involved in a job, working more hours than instructed, but this should not be your focus while in the UK on this visa.

The Immigration Officer might also ask if you intend to work, and you will need to make clear that if you do work, it will be in a job that allows you to gain work experience in the chosen field of study, and assure them that you would not work beyond your working right hours.
You need to be able to tell the interviewer about the research you have done into universities, and why you think Kingston would be best for you.
Explain why you have decided to travel to the UK, rather than studying in your home country, or elsewhere.
Show that you have done your research, and have reasons for choosing this course over others.
You need to demonstrate that you are aware of the costs of higher education, and that you can afford tuition fees and living costs. 
Tell the interviewer how you hope your chosen course at Kingston University will help you in the future. 

What if my student 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. You will need to respond in writing to each of the points raised in the refusal.