What you need to know about the UK’s English Language Test

If you are a non-European migrant wanting to enter or extend your stay in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person already settled in the UK, you must now show that you can speak and understand English at an acceptable level.

You must meet this requirement if:

  1. You are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland,
  2. You are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here, and
  3. You want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as that person’s husband, wife, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

The requirement applies to applications for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain and further leave to remain.

Please note that this does not apply to indefinite leave to remain or citizenship applications, where the existing Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement applies instead.

In order to meet the English language requirement, you must show one of the following:

  • That you are a national of a majority English-speaking country,
  • That you have passed an English language test approved by UKBA, or
  • That you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or above.

Evidence needed:

To show that you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to submit your current original passport or travel document.

To show that you have passed the English language test, you must submit with your application, your original test result certificate showing your name, the qualification and the date it was received as well as the UKBA-approved test centre.

To show that you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, you must submit the original academic certificate on the institute’s official letterhead, showing your name, the title of the degree and the date it was obtained.

Exemptions to English language requirements:

There are certain exceptional circumstances where you do not need to meet the UK’s English Language Test requirement. You will need to provide evidence of one of the following to qualify for exemption:

  • That you are aged 65 or over when you make your application,
  • That you have a physical or mental condition which would prevent you from meeting the requirement, or
  • That there are exceptional compassionate circumstances which would prevent you from meeting the requirement.

For any help or advice regarding UK visas, please visit www.1stcontactvisas.com.


  • rosewellzz

    I’ve already got my ILR [April 2013] (after 5 years of HSMP and then Tier 1) I had to prove that I was taught in English back in 2007 when applying for HSMP. Does this mean I have to now suddenly write the test again when applying for my UK citizenship early next year???

    • Kristy

      Hi Rosewellzz,

      As you held the HSMP/ Tier 1 visa you will not be required to write the English language test, as you have already met the English Language requirement within the UK.

      I trust this has assisted.

      Kind regards

      Kristy Goate’
      Immigration and Nationality specialist
      0207 759 5309

      • Ash Trick

        Hi Kristy,

        That was informative. I also came to UK with HSMP visa and had a letter from university saying medium of study was in English. I got my ILR approved in March 2013 and I’m going to apply for Citizenship in March 2014.
        Do I need to get some certificate from NARIC stating my medium of study was in English? If yes, how do I approach?

        Please advice.


        • Daniel

          no you would have already passed the LIUK test to get ILR, so just apply for Citizenship as this is a requirement which you already met.

  • Victor

    What do you have to score in IELTS to fulfill the requirements

  • Nicky

    I am applying for ILR in January 2014.
    I came through the Tier 1 (General) Migrant route and did the IELTS test back in November 2008 to gain entry clearance under this status. The IELTS test is only valid for 2 years. I understand that I do not need to sit another test as I have proved my English Language capability already, however my question is specificially is they will accept an IELTS test that has expired.
    Thank you

    • Fatima

      Hi Nicky

      I am applying for ILR in 08/2014. I wrote the IELTS test when i came to the country in 2011 ( pre-requisite for spousal visa). Do I need to resit the EnglisH test?

      • http://www.1stcontact.com 1st Contact

        Hi Fatima,

        It’s likely that you have to re-do the English test as the IELTS test has a two year validity, so should this have expired, you will be required to complete the English proficiency requirement at a level B1.

  • Cands

    Hi there

    I wonder if someone could please point me in the right direction. I’ve had my ILR since April 2013. I am now in the process of applying for my naturalization and need to write an English test. I am looking at doing the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) however there are two courses to choose from: Academic Module or General Module – there is a big difference between the two.

    Is anyone able to tell me if the General module will be sufficient for my passport?