Difficulties in submitting the English Language Test due to the Coronavirus pandemic

We have been inundated with enquiries from worried Applicants who cannot sit the English language test due to the suspension of B1, A1 & A2 tests as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week Trinity College announced their Test centres will be suspending tests with immediate effect until 1 July 2020. The announcement leaves a large group of Applicants with upcoming visa renewals before 1 July 2020 in a difficult situation.

What is the English language requirement?

Applicants applying for a UK visa will need to prove their knowledge of the English language. The level of English proficiency that you will need to show will be contingent on the visa category you apply under. The English language requirement does not apply for short-term visas such as the Standard Visitor visa.

What to do if you cannot sit an English language test?

If your visa is set to expire before 1 July 2020 and you need to sit an English language test in order to meet the English language requirement of a visa application, we recommend you contact our immigration team for advice immediately. There are a few options available depending on the visa expiry. However, Applicants must ensure they submit the application as normal before the deadline. However, Applicants should instruct one of our immigration solicitors to prepare the application form and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In the visa application form, there are questions specifically asking how the English language requirement is met and it is important that these questions are answered correctly. The onus is on the Applicant to show that it was not possible to sit an English language test.

Who does not need to prove their knowledge of English?

If you are from a majority English speaking country you will be exempt from meeting the English language requirement. If you are from a country that is not on the Home Office list of English speaking countries you are expected to meet the requirement. Other exemptions also apply where:

  • The applicant is aged 65 or over at the date of application; or
  • The applicant suffers from a mental or physical disability; or
  • There are exceptional circumstances as to why an applicant cannot meet the English language requirement.

If you are relying on exceptional circumstances to show an exemption you must submit sufficient evidence as described in the Home Office English language Policy Guidance.

How to meet the English Language requirement?

There are a number of different ways you can meet the English language requirement. You can meet the requirement if:

  • You have passed an approved test at an approved test centre or above the required level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); or
  • You have an academic qualification taught in English i.e. a BSc or MSc degree taught in the UK or an outside the UK if the UK Naric confirms the degree was taught in English; or
  • You are from a majority English speaking country.

Applicants can choose to meet a higher level if they wish from the onset as this will make the extension and settlement application easier. In terms of the different levels, if you obtain an A1 or A2 qualification you will be considered a basic speaker if you obtain a B1 or B2 qualification you will be considered an independent speaker. Lastly, if you obtain a C1 or C2 qualification you will be considered a proficient speaker.

The Home Office regularly update the list of approved test centres at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-applying-for-uk-visa-approved-english-language-tests. 

What level of English is required for partner visas?

If you are applying for your first partner visa under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules you will need to prove you have knowledge of the English level of at least level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On 3 November 2016, the Home Office increased the level required for partner extension applications under Appendix FM from Level A1 to A2 CEFR.

What level of English is required in business visa applications?

If you are applying for a Tier 1 Start-up or Tier 1 Innovator visa under Appendix W to the Immigration Rules you will need to prove that you have knowledge of the English level of at least level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If you are applying for a Tier 2 General work visa you must show at least level B1 CEFR.

What level of English is required in Indefinite Leave to Remain applications?

If you are applying for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK you can meet the English language requirement by having an English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 CEFR. In addition to the English language requirement, applicants must show sufficient knowledge about Life in the UK by passing an acceptable test.

How our immigration solicitors can help with a visa application?

Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in UK visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of different clients from family-based applications to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The key to submitting a successful visa application is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules and submitting the correct supporting documents. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.

Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to submit a successful visa application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application to apply for a UK visa. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

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