When should I apply for a visa?
The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before your course start date. Apply as soon as possible after this 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 your course is between six and 12 months long, you may arrive in the UK up to one month before the start date. You can stay in the UK for an extra four months after your course ends. If you are on a short-term study visa, you must leave after either six or 12 months (depending on the length of stay applied for).
The Visa Process
In order to be granted a visa, your application must be approved at every stage. The process is as follows:
- You must apply for a programme at Cardiff Academy.
- You must receive and accept an offer of a place on your chosen programme.
- Your paperwork will be checked by Cardiff Academy staff, including financial statements and IELTS scores. A tuberculosis certificate is also required for applicants from some countries.
- Pay a deposit and CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Study) payment to Cardiff Academy.
- Your CAS will be issued.
- Apply for your visa. You must attach financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs, as well as a consent letter from your parents if you are under 18 years of age.
- It is uncommon for under-18s to be invited to a credibility interview, although you should be prepared just in case.
- You will be contacted to let you know whether or not your visa application has been successful.
Visa Credibility Interview
Although it is unlikely, you may be required to attend a credibility interview to ensure that you comply with the UK’s immigration rules. In the interview, an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will try to establish that you are a genuine student. You need to show you are serious about studying, and that you have good knowledge of your chosen college and course. If you have done your research, the interview is nothing to worry about. The interview is just designed to filter out people who are planning to use a student visa to work or holiday in the UK.
How will the interview happen?
Your visa interview will normally take place in your local Visa Application Centre, via a secure telecommunications system.
How should I prepare for a credibility interview?
Do some detailed research; make sure you know about Cardiff Academy and are able to explain why you chose it. What appeals to you about the local area, the courses offered and the teaching style?
What questions will I be asked in a visa interview?
Below are some examples of questions you may be asked. Think carefully before answering, because your answers may raise concern with interviewers, if they think you are not taking the process seriously. Be honest, and avoid yes and no answers as much as possible. Try to speak naturally.