UK Immigration Updates: Home Office Approved English Language Tests

The Home Office recently published an updated list of approved secure English language tests (SELTs) and test centres. If you are coming to the UK as a student, a spouse or to work, you are required to have a minimum level of A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in speaking and listening from a UKVI approved centre. There have been several changes in the recent years to the list of SELTs and approved test centres.  UK visa applicants should consult immigration lawyers for legal advice, if in doubt of how any of the recent changes apply to them.

UKVI Approved English Language Tests

Since 6 April 2015 only exams from Trinity College and the International English Language Test System (IELTS) have been accepted for UK visa applications. The IELTS has been approved by the Home Office as a secure English language test for UK immigration purposes. As a result two new tests have been developed;

  • The IELTS Life Skills test and
  • The IELTS for UKVI.

Applicants making Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa applications (excluding Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer route) or Tier 4 visa application are required to take the IELTS Academic or the IELTS General Training for UKVI. This is because the tests have been approved by the UKVI and as a result are designed to meet certain administrative requirements as specified by the Home Office.

The IELTS life skills test is for individual applicants applying:

  • as dependants of UK citizens or settled persons; and
  • for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

The IELTS Life Skills test is available at two levels. Level A1 Speaking and Listening and level B1 Speaking and Listening. Applicants are required to select their choice of test at the booking stage on the IELTS website. Applicants must therefore exercise care when making their selection in order to avoid the delay and expense that could be incurred should an incorrect test be chosen.

In light of these ongoing developments, Applicants are advised to check the most recent list of approved SELTs before booking an English language test to ensure that it is accepted by the Home Office.

Meeting the Home Office’s English Language Requirement

If you are applying for a UK visa that requires you to prove your level of English, our expert Immigration Solicitors will be able to guide you. You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

Passing an approved English language test at the required level (varies depending on the visa) in reading, writing, speaking and listening; or

Having an academic qualification that has been taught in English and is recognised as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree.

Furthermore, you may be exempt or are able to show to meet the English language requirement in other ways. Find out more by booking a consultation with our Solicitors who are based in central London. A detailed consultation will ensure that you leave with a greater understanding of what is required of you to make a successful visa application.

UK Visa Advice For Applicants

If you would like to discuss how the English language requirement may affect you, call one of our immigration solicitors in London who will be able to assist you by meeting with you and reviewing your case. There are many providers but many have had their visas refused for taking tests with rogue providers. Contact us/instruct us so we can review your case and ensure you have the correct documentary evidence in place in this regard.


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