English language requirements from 28 October 2013
From October 2013, the Home Office plans to change English language requirements
for 2 areas: settlement applications for indefinite leave to remain, and naturalisation applications to become a British citizen.
Currently individuals can show that they have knowledge of life and language
in the UK by either:
- Passing the Life in the UK Test
- Obtaining a speaking and listening qualification in ESOL at entry levels 1, 2 or 3.
If you apply for either a settlement or a naturalisation application after 28 October 2013
, you'll need to show both of the following:
- You have passed the Life in the UK Test
- You have a speaking and listening qualification in English at level B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification
What is the Life in the UK Test?
This is a computer-based, multiple-choice test
taken by people applying for settlement. You can find more information about the test and how to book online at http://lifeintheuktest.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
English language qualifications from October 2013
From 28 October, UK immigration authorities will accept a range of English language qualifications
showing that an applicant meets a B1 level speaking and listening qualification.
Adults applying for settlement, either as main applicant or a dependant, will need to meet the English language qualification
Currently the following are accepted:
- Speaking and listening at B1 or above from the secure English language test (SELT)
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) at entry level 3, level 1 or level 2, including speaking and listening, and regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations (OfQAL)
- ESOL at Scottish Qualifications Framework (ScQF) levels 4, 5 or 6 awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (taken in Scotland)
Please note that the English language qualification will not need to be provided by nationals of a majority English speaking country
or individuals with a degree taught in English
In this instance, English-speaking countries are:
Antigua, Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts, Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, The Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago and the USA.
Adults applying for settlement
, either as main applicant or a dependant (including adult children of individuals who are settled) will need to meet the English language qualification.
The following groups are exempt:
- Children under 18 and individuals of 65 and over
- People with physical or mental conditions that severely restrict their ability to learn English and/or communicate, or take the Life in the UK Test
- People entering under the adult dependent relatives route, and the former route for retired persons of independent means
- Applicants seeking settled status because of domestic violence or the death of a spouse
- Refugees and people needing humanitarian protection
- People with discretionary leave to remain
While not necessarily exempt, some categories will be allowed by the Home Office to apply for further periods of limited leave
, as follows:
- Partners, children and parents applying under appendix FM or subject to transitional arrangements under Part 8 of the Immigration Rules
- People here because of long residencies (under 10 or 20 years)
- People here with dependants serving as HM Forces personnel
- Dependants of overseas nationals who originally entered the UK as points-placed migrants or work-permit holders
Individuals in certain immigration categories who have lived in the UK for 15 years
may also, with appropriate evidence, be able to apply for exemptions from the English language requirement.
Please note that any currently-exempt categories may be reviewed and changed in the future.
The Home Office has also warned that the English language conditions might change
. It's therefore important that everyone likely to be affected is kept updated of any changes in immigration laws.
Naturalisation as a British citizen
Anyone applying to naturalise as British after 28 October 2013 will now have to satisfy the new Knowledge of Life and Language requirement
. Exceptions are people over 65, or anyone for whom a physical or mental condition severely inhibits communication or taking the Life in the UK Test.
If you applied for settlement or indefinite leave to remain before 28 October 2013, you'll need to take further tests
to meet the requirements to naturalise as a British citizen after that date. However, if you have already passed the Life in the UK Test, you will not need to re-sit.
To ensure your English language and life in the UK qualifications are correct when you apply for settlement or naturalisation, please contact us at Simpson Millar
. We'll be happy to discuss the requirements with you in more detail.
The Home Office will continue to accept past certificates
for Life in the UK Tests taken before 25 March 2013.