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UK Spouse Visa English Requirements in 2023
The UK Spouse Visa English Test (IELTS) requirements in 2023 have specific criteria for applicants seeking entry clearance, extension, and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications under the Family (Partner) route. It is essential for applicants to understand these requirements to ensure a successful visa application.
UK Spouse Visa English Language Requirement Levels
- Entry Clearance (Initial Visa): CEFR Level A1for speaking and listening
- Visa Extension (Further Leave to Remain): CEFR Level A2 for speaking and listening
- ILR (Settlement): CEFR Level B1 in speaking and listening skills and pass the Life in the UK Test
UK Spouse Visa Accepted English Language Tests
- The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the approved tests for UK visa applications. Other approved tests include LanguageCert, Pearson PTE, and Trinity College London.
UK Spouse Visa Minimum IELTS Scores
- A1 CEFR Level: IELTS 4.0 overall, with at least 3.0 in Speaking and Listening
- A2 CEFR Level: IELTS 4.5 overall, with at least 4.0 in Speaking and Listening
- B1 CEFR Level: IELTS 5.0 overall, with at least 4.0 in Speaking and Listening
UK Spouse Visa English Test Validity
- English language test results are valid for two years from the date of the test. Ensure that your test result is still valid when submitting your visa application.
UK Spouse Visa English Requirement: Exemptions
Some applicants may be exempt from the English language requirement, including applicants:
- aged 65 or over
- with a physical or mental disability that prevents them from meeting the requirement
- who are nationals of majority English-speaking countries
Remember that meeting the UK Spouse Visa English Test (IELTS) requirements is only one aspect of the application process. Applicants must also meet other eligibility criteria, such as financial and relationship requirements, for a successful visa application.
UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements 2023
Certain applicants may be exempt from the UK spouse visa English test requirements due to age, disability, exceptional circumstances, nationality, or their educational background.
Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries
Applicants who are nationals of majority English speaking countries are exempt from the English language test requirements. To claim this exemption, applicants must provide a valid passport or travel document. If these documents are unavailable, applicants may present a current national identity document or a letter from their national government, embassy, or high commission, confirming their full name, date of birth, and nationality.
List of Majority English Speaking Countries
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States of America
Degrees Taught or Researched in English
Applicants with a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree taught or researched in English in the UK or a majority English-speaking country can claim an exemption. They must submit a copy of the academic degree and an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from UK NARIC confirming the degree’s academic level.
Degrees Taught in Non-English-Speaking Countries
Applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree taught in non-English-speaking countries (e.g., India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana) must provide the following to claim an exemption:
- A copy of the academic degree
- An Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from UK NARIC confirming the degree’s academic level (at least a bachelor’s)
- An English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) confirming the applicant’s proficiency level (e.g., A1, A2, B1) for their degree
Applicants aged 65 or over are exempt from the UK spouse visa English test requirements.
Applicants with mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from meeting the English test requirements can claim an exemption.
Exemptions may also be granted under exceptional circumstances that prevent an applicant from meeting the English test requirements, such as applying for leave to enter or remain under the 10-year family route.
3. Approved Language Tests
Approved English Language Tests for UK Spouse Visa
Applicants who do not qualify for exemptions must take a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to demonstrate their English speaking and listening skills. They must achieve a minimum CEFR Level A1, A2, or B1 for UK spouse visa entry clearance, extension, or ILR (settlement) applications, respectively.
While there are several approved English language tests available, the IELTS Life Skills and Trinity College’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) tests are specifically designed to meet UK spouse visa English language requirements. IELTS Life Skills is a popular choice for entry clearance applications due to its extensive network, while GESE is a suitable option for leave to remain, extension, and settlement applications.
IELTS Life Skills for Spouse Visa UK
IELTS Life Skills is the most widely used test for meeting UK spouse visa English language requirements. The test is designed to meet immigration requirements under Appendix FM and assesses only speaking and listening skills. Two candidates take the IELTS Life Skills test simultaneously, and the test taker evaluates both candidates’ English language skills.
IELTS Life Skills for CEFR Level A1 (entry clearance), A2 (extension or leave to remain), and B1 (ILR or settlement) have durations of 16-18, 20, and 22 minutes, respectively. There is no break between the speaking and listening components. The test fee is typically £150 within the UK, though fees may vary slightly depending on the service provider and country. Multiple registration methods are available, including registering with the British Council or other service providers.
Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) for Spouse Visa UK
Similar to IELTS Life Skills, Trinity College’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) is designed to assess the English language listening and speaking skills of spouse visa applicants. To qualify for a UK spouse visa leave to remain, extension, or ILR (settlement), applicants must pass the GESE test by achieving Grade 2, 3, or 5, respectively. GESE Grades 2, 3, and 5 are equivalent to CEFR Levels A1, A2, and B1, respectively. The durations of GESE Grade 2, 3, and 5 tests are 6, 7, and 10 minutes, respectively. The GESE test fee is £150, and applicants receive their provisional results on the same day. Trinity College typically sends the certificate within seven days.
4. Final Thoughts
Navigating the UK spouse visa English language requirements can be challenging, but it is essential to ensure a successful application. By understanding the necessary CEFR levels, tests available, and possible exemptions, applicants can better prepare for their spouse visa applications. Always remember to consult official sources and consider seeking professional advice if you are unsure about your specific situation.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
UK Spouse Visa English Requirements for IELTS Test: Key Points
What are the UK Spouse Visa English Requirements for 2023?
The UK Spouse Visa English Requirements for 2023 stipulate that applicants need to pass an approved English language test, such as the IELTS, at a specific Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level. These requirements are crucial for those looking to join or remain with their spouse or partner in the UK.
Are there any exemptions to the UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements?
Yes, there are certain circumstances under which applicants may be exempt from the UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements. These exemptions often depend on specific conditions related to the applicant’s situation.
What are the approved English Language Tests for a UK Spouse Visa?
There are a number of approved English Language Tests for a UK Spouse Visa, including the popular IELTS test. These tests are recognized and accepted by the UK immigration authorities.
How do the UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements affect ILR applications?
Understanding the UK Spouse Visa English Test Requirements is also crucial for those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. Like initial applications and extensions, ILR applications may also require proof of English language proficiency at a certain CEFR level, unless exemptions apply.
What are the IELTS Test Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
For a UK spouse visa, applicants need to demonstrate English language skills equivalent to CEFR Level A1 in speaking and listening. The IELTS requirement for a UK spouse visa is a band score of 0.0-4.0, which corresponds to CEFR Level A1. According to official CEFR guidelines, A1 Level English language users can:
- Understand and use basic expressions to satisfy concrete needs
- Introduce themselves and ask others questions about personal details
- Interact simply if the other person speaks slowly and clearly
What are the IELTS Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa Extension?
For a UK spouse visa extension, applicants need to demonstrate English language skills equivalent to CEFR Level A2 in speaking and listening. The IELTS requirement for a UK spouse visa extension is a band score of 0.0-4.0, which corresponds to CEFR Level A2. According to official CEFR guidelines, A2 Level English language users can:
- Understand frequently used expressions in most intermediate areas such as shopping, family, employment, etc.
- Complete tasks that are routine and involve a direct exchange of information
- Describe matters of immediate need in simple terms
What are the IELTS Test Requirements for Spouse Visa ILR?
For an ILR application under the spouse route, applicants need to demonstrate English language skills equivalent to CEFR Level B1 in speaking and listening. The IELTS requirement for a UK spouse visa ILR is a band score of 4.0-5.0, which corresponds to CEFR Level B1. According to official CEFR guidelines, B1 Level English language users can:
- Understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- Deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling
- Produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
- Describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
For further details please refer UK Government: Partner Visa.