This relates to Spouse 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. Moreover, from 28 October 2013, all applicants for settlement are required to present a speaking and listening qualification at CEFR level B1 or above and pass the Life in the UK test.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Language and Life in UK Test for Spouse Visa ILR
To qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a partner on the 5-year route to settlement
the applicant must have sufficient knowledge of language and life (KoLL) in the UK in
accordance with Appendix KoLL.
The relevant paragraph is Indefinite leave to remain: E-ILRP.1.6. However, under paragraph D-ILRP.1.2, if the applicant cannot meet the requirements in accordance with Appendix KoLL, they can only be granted limited leave to remain, provided they meet all the other requirements. From 28 October 2013, all applicants for settlement are required to present a speaking and listening qualification at CEFR level B1 or above and pass the Life in the UK test.
People aged under 18 years, or 65 years or older on the date of their application are
exempt from the KoLL requirement.
The English language test must have been taken no more than 2 years before the
date of the application. However, tests that have been taken more than 2 years ago and
have since expired, can still be accepted where the qualification:
- is from one of the providers on the current SELT list
- has previously been accepted by us as part of another immigration application,
such as for entry clearance. A qualification that is not from one of the providers
on the current SELT list, is not acceptable even if previously accepted by us as
part of another application
Read more posts on UK spouse visa route: UK Spouse Visa Requirements, Spouse Visa Extension, Spouse Visa ILR 5-year route & UK Settlement Statistics 2006-17, Set DV Guidance for Victims of Domestic Violence, Fiancé Visa UK, Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements, Spouse Visa Refusal Reasons and Bereaved Partner ILR
Perhaps, to know more about UK Visa and Immigration: Home Office Fees 2018/19, UK Visa Fees 2018, UK Visitor Visa 2018, UK Priority Visa Service, UK Settlement Visa Processing Time, UK Tourist Visa Processing Time After Biometrics, UK Visa Delay Reasons, UK Visa Reapply or Appeal, UK Immigration Appeal Waiting Time and UK Visa Appeal Solicitors