K M Enayet Hossain
07 February, 2021

2.7 min read


Student visa refusal reasons and prevention

Learn the common reasons for student visa refusal & rejection and follow the steps to avoid visa refusal to study abroad.

If you are looking to study abroad, you will need to secure a student visa prior to the course starts. In most cases, visa issuing authority will want to justify your credibility as a genuine student visa issuing authority will want to justify your credibility as a genuine student in the form of interviews before making a decision.


There are many reasons for visa refusals but here are a few of the common reasons –

1. Failure to prove genuine intention to study or credibility as genuine student

  • Poor academic backgrounds and long study gap without explanations,
  • Choosing to study irrelevant course,
  • Doubts in intention to study the proposed course,
  • Academic ability to study the proposed course,
  • Lacking in knowledge of course and institution and awareness of alternatives,
  • Suspicious reasons for choosing a particular course or institution, including undue influence from family, friends and agents,
  • Failure to explain why the student has chosen this country rather than the home country or other international study destinations.


2. Lack of knowledge about the prospective course

  • what the prospective course offers, what knowledge it covers,
  • why the course would be beneficial and what are the learning outcomes,
  • course level, modules, structure, duration, assessment criteria, teaching methods,
  • failure to compare similar/same courses offered at other universities,
  • academic progression offered by the course,
  • career prospects in home country after graduation.


3. Lack of knowledge about the prospective university

  • reasons for choosing the university, awareness of alternatives,
  • how the university compares with other universities in the country and other countries,
  • teaching and assessment methods in the university,
  • facilities and resources offered,
  • lack of knowledge about course faculty,
  • Unique features  of the faculty and the university,
  • location of the university.


4. Intention to leave the country at the end of the course

  • applicants’ plans on completion of studies i.e. career prospects in home country,
  • individual’s economic circumstances i.e. motivation for migration,
  • links with the destination country including family and friends,
  • links with country of origin, including family, employment and business interests.


5. Poor English language standard

  • no or low English language test score,
  • lacking basic English language competence,
  • failure to communicate in correct English without aid of an interpreter,
  • doubt in the ability to study the proposed course.


6. Submission of an invalid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)/Visa Letter

  • invalid supporting documentation,
  • submission of ‘provisional’ certificates,
  • failure to submit the education documents listed on the CAS,
  • discrepancies relating to the proposed course and/or institution,
  • not providing other documents that have been highlighted on the CAS.


7. Failure to submit specified financial documents

  • failure to provide sufficient evidence of available funds,
  • not being in receipt of the required funds for the mandatory period prior to application,
  • submission of fraudulent documentation or non-verifiable documents,
  • unable or unwilling to give a credible explanation of the source of funds,
  • unable to give a credible explanation of how the funds would meet course and maintenance costs in future years,
  • suspicion that money for the course was provided by an agent or other third party,
  • an applicant/sponsor’s level of income did not equate to the cost of the proposed course,
  • doubts in the ability to accommodate and maintain themselves and any dependants,
  • doubts over whether funds could be accessed in the destination country,
  • the applicant’s bank account was opened a short time before the application was made,
  • had no history of money regularly coming in,
  • submission of incorrect documents or incorrect formats.


Wanting to study abroad is a huge commitment that involves time, money and above all your future. For genuine students a degree from world-class universities abroad could make a huge difference and you well deserve it. After overcoming the hard hurdles of acceptance by university, it is heart-breaking if you get your study visa refused, and we no way appreciate this. You may avoid refusals by following the steps below –

6 steps to success (6s2s)

Step 1
Allow enough time to take preparation: take long preparations before admission and visa application. Gain sound efficiency in English language.


Research for detailed information: research, research and research in courses, universities and countries in details before making a decision to study abroad – be informed, be engaged.


Step 3
Make arrangement for finance: talk to your family, take financial preparations, maintain appropriate funds in appropriate formats.


Step 4
Gather appropriate documents: gather documents in correct formats i.e. original certificates, all documents in English, evidence to prove sources of funds.


Step 5
Allow enough time for admission: apply for admission well before the course start date –ideally at least 3 months before your planned visa application.


Step 6
Allow enough time for visa decision: submit visa application at least 6 to 8 weeks before your proposed course start date.



  • apply if you are not a genuine student,
  • if you do not have financial ability,
  • get your agent or someone else showing funds,
  • submit any fake document or give false information,
  • fall for cheap courses, cheap institutions and cheap promises.


Please read our blog ‘Credibility Interviews preparation for offer letter and student visa’ to prepare well for your higher study overseas.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q What is the difference between visa rejection and visa refusal?

A Your visa application will be rejected if it does not meet the 'validity' requirements for example completing wrong application form or mandatory sections not completed, non-payment of correct application fee and IHS fee, failing to provide biometric fingerprint, valid CAS, travel document etc. Where an application is deemed invalid, it will be rejected. It will be as if a visa application had never been made.

A refused application is a valid application which has been assessed by an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO), but does not meet the Student visa requirements. In this instance you will receive a refusal notice explaining why your application was refused; in other words, which requirement was not satisfied.

Q Will UK Home Office refund my fees if my visa is refused?

A Home Office will not refund your visa application fee if your visa gets refused. However, they will refund your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee if you paid it. Normally, the refund is automatic; you do not need to contact them, it will be refunded to the same account from where you paid it.

Q Will the University refund my tuition fee deposit if my visa is refused?

A You should notify the University that issued your CAS about your visa refusal and send them a copy of the refusal letter. Normally, most of the UK universities will refund your tuition fee deposited to them in full without any deduction if your visa gets refused. However, some universities may deduct £200-£500 as administrative charge. You should have been given tuition fees refund policy with your offer letter and find the information there. If you are not sure about it, you can contact them direct before paying your tuition fees deposit. Normally, universities will refund your tuition fees deposit to the account from where it was paid.

Q Is there any appeal right against the visa refusal?

A There is no appeal right against the UK student visa refusal. However, in most cases the Home Office will give you the right to submit an Administrative Review (AR) application. This is where you believe the decision to refuse your application was incorrect and you request that the Home Office look at the application again. You will be given instructions in your decision letter on how to apply for an administrative review. You cannot submit any fresh documentation or evidence with an admin review.

There is a £80 charge for Administrative Review application. You must apply online for an administrative review within 28 days of getting the decision.

Q Can I apply to study in the UK if I have visa refusal/s in the past?

A Visa refusal is part of the visa applications, not all applicants get visa granted and the refused applicants would have opportunities to apply for visa again to the same country or to another country for same type or other type of visas.

If you have visa refusals in the past and now wish to apply for UK student visa, you can do so if you can prove positive changes of circumstances which were the reasons for your earlier visa refusal for example, you failed to show enough funds in your account on earlier application and got refused, but now you have the required amount of funds available or your level of English was poor when made the earlier application, but now you have good IELTS score or earlier your student visa was refused but you obtained a visit visa for the same country later etc. – all these scenarios prove changes of circumstances to positive directions and you should normally be accepted by most of the UK universities and if you make a valid student visa application to UK Home office, you can expect a positive outcome.

Having said so, it is also crucial to know that if your earlier visa application was refused due to deception, fake document or materially false information, then you have very slim chance of getting accepted by any university and visa grant by the Home Office.

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