This guide is for applicants who have submitted an immigration application to UKVI for common routes including student visas, skilled worker visas, spouse visas, and innovator founder visas, although the points covered are generally applicable to most visa applications.
If UKVI considers any aspect of your application to be complicated, it will usually notify you that your application is not straightforward. Sometimes, that will be it, and you will just have to wait a little bit longer for your application to be processed. Other times, things may be a little bit more complicated, and UKVI may request your attendance for an interview to ask further questions. If this happens, it will likely be for one of the following reasons.
UKVI needs to verify your immigration history
If your immigration history involves visa refusals, removals or deportation from the UK or any other country, or if your history is otherwise unclear, inconsistent, or complex, you can expect UKVI to delay the processing of your application and to ask you to provide more information about any particular event.
UKVI needs to verify your employment history
If your employment history involves working for a government department, agency or other state organisation, UKVI may ask additional questions to better understand your role and responsibilities.
UKVI needs to verify your financial information
This most commonly occurs when you appear to have insufficient funds to meet the financial requirements of your route, or you are relying on support from a third-party financial sponsor such as a parent, friend or sponsoring organisation. Reliance on other documents such as savings accounts in joint names or assets which are not clearly in your name may also be a reason for further inquiry. UKVI may inform you that it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to contact the financial institution which holds the funds on which you are relying. In this case, you will usually be given a short period of time to provide alternative documents.
UKVI needs to verify your relationship
Whether you are applying to come to the UK to visit family members or you are seeking to enter the UK as the partner or spouse of a British citizen, you can expect UKVI to undertake checks to confirm your relationships are genuine. Where there is a requirement to prove your relationship as part of your application, such as with various types of family visas, there will be greater scrutiny. You could be asked relevant questions to verify information you are expected to know, such as where and when you got married.
UKVI needs to verify your purpose of travel
You will be scrutinised if there is any doubt as to the reason for or purpose of your intended travel to the UK. This can apply to any visa, but more often applies to those applying for a visitor visa or other short-term visas such as temporary work visas or short-term study visas. If it remains unclear why you have applied for your particular visa, what you intend to do whilst in the UK, or if you will return to your home country after your visa expires, your application could be refused.
UKVI needs to verify your English language ability
If there is doubt as to a qualification or the certificate you have provided in support of your English language ability, you can expect to be asked questions about the institution you obtained it from, what you had to do to obtain your certificate, or other general questions to ascertain whether your spoken English matches the level which you claim it is.
UKVI needs to verify your academic history
Much like with documents in support of your English language ability, UKVI may need to verify your academic certificates. You could be asked about the institution you studied at, the modules you took, the type of assessments you completed, or anything else relating to your course or grades.
UKVI needs to undertake additional security checks
If you are applying from a country involved in political tensions or with a history of ties to terrorist activity, UKVI may take more time to conduct necessary security checks. This also applies if you have a history of criminal convictions, including non-custodial sentences such as bans, fines or community service.
What will happen during the interview?
Applications made from outside the UK will normally involve an online or telephone interview. Applications made from inside the UK could be in person. In either case, your interviewer will be someone who works for UKVI and is involved in some capacity in the decision-making process for your particular application. This person could ask you questions related to any of the points mentioned above, or about any of the answers in your application form.
Each application to UKVI will be considered on its own merits. The timeline for one applicant may vary considerably from another's, so it is important not to panic if you have been notified that your application is not straightforward or you have been told you need to attend an interview. You should remember to check your emails for any updates about your application, as interview requests are normally communicated by email rather than telephone. Once your interview has been completed, most applicants should not have to wait too much longer for a decision.
If you have been told by UKVI that you need to attend an interview and you are unsure about the process, or have questions about any aspect of your application, contact us to discuss it today.