How caseworkers assess the credibility of a genuine student

You must be a genuine student to apply for and be granted a Student Visa. The caseworker dealing with your application will assess whether you are a genuine student.

The Home Office guidance indicates that, when assessing your credibility, all of the information provided in the application and in the credibility interview (if applicable) must be considered.

As a rule, your application should not be refused on genuineness grounds without you being interviewed, unless your application has been refused previously on genuine student grounds, and there have been no changes to the material circumstances, or no new evidence has been provided.

The caseworker may also refuse your application on genuineness grounds without interviewing you where your application is one of a significant number of identical or very similar applications, other applicants have been interviewed, the caseworker is satisfied that they are not genuine students, and the facts of the case mean that you would not be able to refute the allegation of lacking credibility.

Your immigration history in the UK and other countries, the fact that your previously submitted visa applications which have been refused, the amount of time you have spent in the UK or other countries and the purpose of staying in the UK or other countries on previous visas, and whether you have complied with the terms of previous visas are all factors to be considered.

Your education history, your study and post-study plans will also be taken into consideration. According to the official Home Office guidance, the caseworker will pay attention to the amount of time that has elapsed since you last studied, and whether you have sound reasons for returning to, or commencing, formal study of this subject, particularly after any significant gap. It will be considered whether you demonstrate sufficient commitment to the course and whether the course represents academic progression for you. The caseworker will try to determine the credibility of your rationale for, knowledge of, and research into the proposed course of study and the sponsoring institution, and into living arrangements in the UK. An assessment of how your dependants may affect your ability or motivation to study will be made. The relevance of the course to your post-study plans in the UK or overseas will be taken into consideration as well.

However, your application must not be refused based on your lack of knowledge of the location where you will be studying, of the geography of the town, or of the public transport routes.

Your personal and financial circumstances will be assessed. As the investment to gain a qualification from the UK is considerable, the caseworker will consider whether you can meet the course fees and the living costs for the duration of the course, and whether the source of the necessary funds is credible. Factors to be considered are the distance between your place of study and your proposed accommodation in the UK, your average monthly expenditure and other personal circumstances, especially where you have dependants and your ability to work is limited.

Other factors to be taken into account when assessing your credibility are whether you chose the UK because of the reputation of its academic and education institutions compared to those of other countries, whether the ease of working during or after the course of study was a deciding factor in your decision to study in the UK, whether the institution where you want to study is under investigation or has been identified by the Home Office as an institution of concern in relation to immigration compliance, or whether the application is managed by an agent about whom the Home Office has concerns.

If your ability to speak, listen, write and read English is falling short of the required level, the caseworker may come to the conclusion that you are not a genuine student.

You may also fail the credibility test where a main reason for your application is the employment, education, or health care benefits for your accompanying dependants.

If, having reviewed your application and the information provided during the interview, the caseworker is not satisfied on the balance of probability that you satisfy the requirement of being a genuine student, your application will be refused.

If you want to apply for a Student Visa and need specialist advice, feel free to contact me. Please note that I am an accredited immigration adviser, not an employee of the UK Visas and Immigration. I charge fees for the advice provided.