Spouse Visa English Requirement

This relates to Spouse Visa English RequirementSpouse Visa English Requirement in the light of Appendix FM for Family Members of the Immigration Rules. For the initial 30 months application as a spouse/partner of UK Sponsor an applicant needs to demonstrate a minimum English Language proficiency level of A1 and for subsequent 30 months leave to remain application the required level of English Language is A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The requirement attracts a number of exemptions relating to age, disability, exceptional circumstances. Moreover, a National of Majority English Speaking Country and an applicant who has a degree taught in English are also exempt from spouse visa English Test requirement.

English Language Requirement for Spouse Visa

The Paragraph E-ECP.4.1. of Appendix FM relates to the manner in which English Language Requirement for Spouse Visa can be fulfilled; whereas, E-ECP.4.2. provides the details of exemptions. In fact, E-ECP4.1.(a) and (c) also relates to exemptions for National of Majority English Speaking Country and Degree Taught or Researched in English, respectively. Therefore, if an applicant does not claim for any exemptions then needs to furnish an approved English Language Test such as IELTS UKVI with a min score of CEFR A1.

Immigration Rules Appendix FM

A1 Requirement for Initial Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain Application for 30 Months

Entry Clearance
E-ECP.4.1. The applicant must provide specified evidence that they-
(a) are a national of a majority English speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6.;
(b) have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State;
(c) have an academic qualification which is either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK; or, if awarded by an educational establishment outside the UK, is deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, and UK NARIC has confirmed that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or above; or
(d) are exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-ECP.4.2.

Leave to Remain
E-LTRP.4.1. If the applicant has not met the requirement in a previous application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner or parent, the applicant must provide specified evidence that they-
(a) are a national of a majority English speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6.;
(b) have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State;
(c) have an academic qualification which is either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK; or, if awarded by an educational establishment outside the UK, is deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, and UK NARIC has confirmed that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or above; or
(d) are exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-LTRP.4.2.; unless paragraph EX.1. applies.

A2 Requirement for Further Leave to Remain Application for 30 Months

E-LTRP.4.1A. Where the applicant:
(i) in a previous application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner or parent, met the English language requirement in paragraph E-ECP.4.1.(b), E-LTRP.4.1.(b), E-ECPT.4.1.(b) or E-LTRPT.5.1.(b) on the basis that they had passed an English language test in speaking and listening at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages;
(ii) was granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner or parent; and
(iii) now seeks further leave to remain as a partner after 30 months in the UK with leave as a partner; then, the applicant must provide specified evidence that they:
(a) are a national of a majority English speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6.;
(b) have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State;
(c) have an academic qualification which is either a Bachelor‟s or Master‟s degree or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK; or, if awarded by an educational establishment outside the UK, is deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor‟s or Master‟s degree or PhD in the UK, and UK NARIC has confirmed that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or above; or
(d) are exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-LTRP.4.2.

UK Visa English Language Requirement Exemption

There are quite a few exemptions for meeting the English Language requirement.

In terms of E-ECP.4.2. applicants above 65 years of age are exempt from UK Visa English Language Requirement. Applicants with a disability and exceptional circumstances are also exempt.

Entry Clearance

E-ECP.4.2. The applicant is exempt from the English language requirement if at the date of application-
(a) the applicant is aged 65 or over;
(b) the applicant has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or
(c) there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK.

Leave to Remain
E-LTRP.4.2. The applicant is exempt from the English language requirement in paragraph E-LTRP.4.1. or E-LTRP.4.1A. if at the date of application-
(a) the applicant is aged 65 or over;
(b) the applicant has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or
(c) there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement.

Applicant a National of Majority English Speaking Country

If the applicant is a national of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA then there is no need of providing any evidence for English Language proficiency. Similarly, nationals of island nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jamaica also don’t need to provide any evidence for meeting English Language requirement.

Appendix FM-SE

28. The evidence required to show that a person is a citizen or national of a majority English speaking country is a valid passport or travel document, unless paragraphs 29 and 30 apply. A dual national may invoke either of their nationalities.

29. If the applicant has not provided their passport or travel document other evidence of nationality can be supplied in the following circumstances only (as indicated by the applicant on their application form):
(a) where the passport or travel document has been lost or stolen;
(b) where the passport or travel document has expired and been returned to the relevant authorities; or
(c) where the passport or travel document is with another part of the Home Office.

30. Alternative evidence as proof of nationality, if acceptable, must be either:
(a) A current national identity document; or
(b) An original letter from the applicant’s national government, Embassy or High Commission confirming the applicant’s full name, date of birth and nationality.

Degree Taught or Researched in English

In terms of E-ECP.4.2.(c) if an applicant has a bachelor’s or master’s degree, PhD taught or researched in English in the UK or any of the Majority English Speaking Country (except for Canada) then the applicant is excluded from the requirement. For a degree taught in other countries such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, Canada etc. an applicant needs to provide a certificate from UKNARIC that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or above.

Degree Taught or Researched in English – GOV.UK
If your degree isn’t from a UK university, you’ll need your original degree certificate and one of the following:

  • an original letter or certificate from UK NARIC confirming the equivalent level of your degree, plus an official letter from your university with your name and degree confirming that your degree was taught in English
  • an original and official certificate from your university confirming the degree was taught or researched in a majority English-speaking country (except Canada)

UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements

If none of the aforesaid exemptions is available then in terms of Paragraph E-ECP.4.2.(b) an applicant is required to furnish an English Language Test with a minimum A1 level of the CEFR for speaking and listening. For details please refer to List of Approved Tests and Providers.

Depending on the English Language proficiency, an applicant may opt for A2 Test instead of A1 as for further leave to remain applications as a spouse after 30 months in the UK with leave as a spouse, an applicant needs to pass an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum level A2 of CEFR.

Immigration Rules Appendix FM-SE

Evidence of English Language Requirements

27. The evidence required of passing an English language test in speaking and listening (at a minimum of level A1 or A2 (as the case may be) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) with a provider approved by the Secretary of State, where the applicant relies on that pass to meet an English language requirement, is confirmation on the on-line verification system operated by an approved English language test provider, as specified in Appendix O to these Rules, that:

(i) the applicant has passed such a test; and

(ii) that test was an English language test in speaking and listening which is approved by the Secretary of State, as specified in Appendix O, and was taken no more than two years before the date of application and at a test centre approved by the Secretary of State as a Secure English Language Test Centre.

32B. Where the decision-maker has:
(a) reasonable cause to doubt that an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 or A2 (as the case may be) of the Common Framework of Reference for Languages relied on at any time to meet a requirement for limited leave to enter or remain in Part 8 or Appendix FM was genuinely obtained; or
(b) information that the test certificate or result awarded to the applicant has been withdrawn by the test provider for any reason, the decision-maker may discount the test certificate or result and require the applicant to provide a new test certificate or result from an approved provider which shows that they meet the requirement, if they are not exempt from it.

32C. If an applicant applying for limited leave to enter or remain under Part 8 or Appendix FM submits an English language test certificate or result which has ceased by the date of application to be:
(a) from an approved test provider, or
(b) in respect of an approved test, or
(c) from an approved test centre, the decision-maker will not accept that certificate or result as valid, unless the decision-maker does so in accordance with paragraph 32D of this Appendix and subject to any transitional arrangements made in respect of the test provider, test or test centre in question.

32D. If an applicant applying for limited leave to enter or remain under Part 8 or Appendix FM submits an English language test certificate or result and the Home Office has already accepted it as part of a successful previous partner or parent application (but not where the application was refused, even if on grounds other than the English language requirement), the decision-maker will accept that certificate or result as valid if it is:
(a) from a provider which is no longer approved, or
(b) from a provider who remains approved but the test the applicant has taken with that provider is no longer approved, or
(c) from a test centre which is no longer approved, or
(d) past its validity date (if a validity date is required under Appendix O), provided that it is at or above the requisite level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and when the subsequent application is made:

(i) the applicant has had continuous leave (disregarding any current period of overstaying where paragraph 39E of these Rules applies, as well as any previous period of overstaying where: the further application was made before 24 November 2016 and within 28 days of the expiry of leave; or the further application was made on or after 24 November 2016 and paragraph 39E of these Rules applied) as a partner or parent since the Home Office accepted the test certificate as valid; and
(ii) the award to the applicant does not fall within the circumstances set out in paragraph 32B of this Appendix.

Refusal

In case the spouse/partner visa is refused due to the English Language then the refusal letter will state that the applicant is not exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-ECP.4.2. or E-LTRP.4.2 for an entry clearance or leave to remain application, respectively.

In addition, the immigration officer will highlight one or more of the following options in the refusal letter:

  • the applicant is not a national of a majority English speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6., nor have you provided the evidence specified at paragraph 28-30 of Appendix FM-SE;
  • the applicant has not passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1/A2 of the Common European Framework with a provider and/or at a test centre approved by the Home Office and/or have failed to provide the evidence specified at paragraph 27 of Appendix FM-SE;
  • the applicant does not hold an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be the equivalent to the standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English.
  • the English language test certificate or result provided by the applicant does not meet the requirements set out in paragraphs 32B/32C/32D of Appendix FM-SE

The refusal letter would conclude by stating that the applicant has failed to meet the requirements of the relevant paragraphs [E-ECP.4.1. and E-ECP.4.2./E-LTRP.4.1./ E-LTRP.4.1A. and E-LTRP.4.2.] of Appendix FM and paragraphs 32B/32C/32D of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules.

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