International Study Centre

Apply for a student visa

Do I need a student visa?

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

How do I apply for a student visa?

Most students will require a visa in order to study in the UK. In order to receive a tier 4 student visa, the application process is as follows:

  • Apply for your chosen course at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre.
  • Receive an offer.
  • Fulfil all the conditions of your offer and submit any documentation as instructed by the Admissions team or your Student Enrolment Adviser.
  • Receive a CAS.
  • Apply for your visa, pay the application fee, and include financial statements which prove that you have the funds to cover the course and your living costs.
  • You may also be require to attend a credibility interview.
  • If you pass your credibility interview and the required checks, you will be issued with a visa.

When should I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa up to three months before the start date of your course at the International Study Centre. How long it will take depends on which country you are applying from. Make sure you apply early so that 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 with a student visa?

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 to supplement their income whilst studying. 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

What is a credibility interview?

Applicants from some countries are required to attend a credibility interview (also known as a visa interview). These are carried out by an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to establish that you are a genuine student, and are not planning to use a student visa for holiday or work. You should take the interview seriously, but it is nothing to worry about; you just need to show that you have done your research and are serious about studying in the UK.

Where will my credibility interview take place?

You will be interviewed at the visa application centre in your country when you submit your visa application documents. You will be interviewed by a UKVI member of staff in the UK via a video link.

How should I prepare for my credibility interview?

It is in your interest to be engaged in the interview process, and demonstrate your personal interest in attending the International Study Centre. Make sure you have researched the University 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 a credibility interview?

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

  • Why do you want to study at Royal Holloway?
  • How did you choose your course?
  • How will you fund your time in the UK?

If I plan to get a job, do I need to tell someone about it?

The UKVI may ask you what your main intention for coming to the UK is. If you plan to work alongside your studies, you will need to be clear that this is not your main focus while in the UK. Any job you do whilst studying should enhance your studying and be done within your working right hours as outlined above.

What if my student visa application is refused?

If your visa application is rejected by the UKVI, 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 individually to each of the points raised in the refusal.


Willow working on a laptop

University preparation programmes are your pathway to Royal Holloway. Choose between three routes for the International Foundation Year or improve your language skills with the English Language Preparation Programme.

Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.