Spouse Visa English Requirement: language test and exemptions

Spouse Visa English Requirement for initial application: CEFR A1This relates to Spouse Visa English Requirement: language test and exemptions in the light of Appendix FM for Family Members of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, covers the following topics:

  • What is the spouse visa English language requirement?
    • Immigration rules for spouse visa English requirements
    • Exemptions for meeting the spouse visa English requirement
    • Who is a national of an English speaking country?
    • The degree taught or researched in English
    • UK spouse visa English test requirements
    • Refusal of spouse visa due to English requirement

What is the spouse visa English language requirement?

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. However, for a subsequent 30 months leave to remain application the spouse visa English requirement is A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Certainly, 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 exemption from spouse visa English Test requirement.

Immigration rules for spouse visa English requirements

Paragraph E-ECP.4.1. of Appendix FM relates to the manner in which the English Language Requirement for Spouse Visa can be fulfilled. Moreover, 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.

Exemptions: spouse visa English requirement

The following types of applicants are exempt from meeting spouse visa English requirement:

  1. Applicants above 65 years of age are exempt from spouse visa English requirement
  2. Applicants with a disability and exceptional circumstances are also exempt
  3. A national of a majority English speaking country
  4. The degree taught or researched in English

Who is a national of an 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.

Refusal due to failure to meet the English requirement

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;
  • an 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

Accordingly, the refusal letter refers to the relevant paragraphs of the Immigration Rules. Therefore, mentions paragraph 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 also paragraph 32B/32C/32D of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules.

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