Spousal or Partner Visa Applicants to Pass English Language Test

On the 26th July 2010 the UKBA announced that effective 29 November 2010, all non-EU nationals applying for spousal or partner visas would need to meet certain English language requirements.

Under current rules, non-European migrants applying for partner visas must prove that

A) their marriage or partnership is genuine, and B) that they have the means to support themselves financially.

From the 29th of November however, a new rule will apply: applicants will also have to demonstrate English language ability at the A1 level (speaking and listening). This is the level required for skilled workers granted visas under Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

Who will be affected?

The new language requirement will apply to spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, same sex partners, fiancé(e)s and proposed civil partners and will be compulsory for both people applying from within the UK and for those applying from overseas.

It is estimated that the new ruling will lower the spouse/partner applications by around 10% and that those most affected will be applicants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

This new rule will not apply to people coming from a country where English is the most spoken language and these people will automatically meet the language requirements.

On the UKBA website, the following countries are listed as being “English speaking”:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

What next?

Robyn Cory, 1st Contact Visas Manager suggests that anyone wanting to apply for a spouse or partner visa do so soon. “The English Language Test can take up to a month, simply to obtain an appointment and complete the examination. This can reduce the speed at which applicants can process their spousal / partner visa applications and in effect interfere with their immigration plans!.”

For information pertaining to this and any other UK visa requirement, visit www.1stcontactvisas.com or speak to a qualified visa consultant by calling 0800 856 2473.


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  • Malinda Kirby Bell

    Good day,
    I am desperate for assistance in obtaining a spouse visa, I got married in November last year, have submitted my application to the British embassy for approval, leave to enter the UK was refused on grounds that all my tertiary education does not meet the required standard.
    I cant seem to find anyone to personally speak to for further assistance as I am now left with the option to appeal the decision.
    Is there anyway 1st Contact can assist me, as the process has become extremely taxing in emotion, finance and time.

    Malinda Kirby Bell