List of Home Office Approved Secure English language tests (SELT) in 2022

The following is a list of Home Office approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for UK visas in 2022:

  • IELTS Life Skills provided by IELTS SELT Consortium (A1, A2, B1)
  • IELTS for UKVI provided by IELTS SELT Consortium (B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • Integrated Skills in English provided by Trinity College London (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) provided by Trinity College London (A1, A2, B1)
  • Pearson PTE Home (A1, A2, B1)
  • Pearson PTE Academic UKVI  (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Speaking & Listening) (A1, A2, B1)
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Speaking, Listening, Reading & Writing) (B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • Skills for English UKVI by PSI Services

This article will discuss the following:

Part 1: Do you need to take an English language test?

Part 2: What is the minimum level of English language test that you should take?

Part 3: How do I book the Home Office approved Secure English Language Test (SELT)?

Part 4: What documents do I need to include to satisfy the English language requirement for UK visas?

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part 1

Do you need to take a Home Office approved English language test?

Consideration 1 – What visa do you want to apply for?

The following is a list of visas that have an English language requirement which can be met by sitting an English language test:

Consideration 2 – Are you exempt from the English language test?

An applicant (i.e. the person who is applying for the visa) who falls into the following will not be required to satisfy the English language requirement:

  • Discharged HM Forces foreign and Commonwealth citizens (this includes Gurkhas);
  • Domestic violence victims;
  • Parents, grandparents, and dependent relatives of those with British citizenship or settlement in the UK, applying under paragraph 317 of the Immigration Rules;
  • Adult dependent relatives applying under Appendix FM (even if they are over 18 years or under 64 years);
  • Widowed partners of those who were settled in the UK,
  • Retired persons of independent means;
  • Refugees applying for indefinite leave to remain;
  • Those given humanitarian protection applying for indefinite leave to remain;
  • Those under 18 years old or over 65 years old on the date they send their application;
  • Those given discretionary leave to remain who are applying for indefinite leave to remain;
  • Those who can prove they have a medical condition (physical or mental) which stops them from learning English to the standard needed.
  • Those given leave outside the rules (ie. Gurkhas, widows, overage dependents, orphans given discretionary arrangements) now applying for indefinite leave to remain;

#1 The physical or mental disability exemption

If it would be unreasonable for the applicant to meet the English language requirement due to a physical or mental illness, the Home Office may exercise discretion in relation to the English language requirement.

“When can discretion be exercised?”

The Home Office may have to exercise discretion if:

  • the applicant has been diagnosed with a long term physical condition which stops them from learning English; and
  • the applicant has been diagnosed with a mental condition which means they cannot speak or learn English to the standard needed.

“When will discretion be exercised?”

There are certain situations where Home Office caseworkers will normally exempt the applicant from the English language requirement.

In short, the Home Office caseworker will consider how the illness would stop the person applying from satisfying the requirement.

Applicants will be exempt in the following circumstances:

  • the person applying is deaf;
  • the person applying is mute; and/or
  • the person applying has a speech impediment which makes talking difficult.

It is important to note that each application is considered on its own particular merits.

#2 The age exemption

The applicant will be exempt from the English language requirement if they are aged 65 years or over on the date that the application is submitted (by paying the Home Office fees).

Consideration 3 – Is there an easier or quicker way than sitting the English language test?

For UK partner visas, the English language test is not the only way to meet the English language requirement.

Rather, for some partners, there may be an easier and/or quicker way t0 satisfy the English language requirement.

#1 Relying on a degree level or above qualification that was taught in English

A qualification that is degree level or above (that was taught in English) may be sufficient to meet the English language requirement.

The degree will be acceptable if:

  • it is an academic qualification; and
  • the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) (now renamed ‘Ecctis’) accepts the qualification as an equivalent of a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD in the UK; and
  • it was taught in English or studied in a majority English-speaking country (not including Canada).

If the degree level or above qualification was taught in the UK, the submission of the degree certificate alone will usually be sufficient to meet the English language requirement.

If, however, the English-taught degree was obtained from an academic institution from outside the UK, to rely on that degree to satisfy the English language requirement, you will also have to submit additional documentation from UK NARIC.

With this being said, we find that most applicants who have an English taught degree that was awarded outside the UK find it easier just to sit a Secure English language test rather than going through the UK NARIC/Ecctis process.

#2 Majority English-speaking Nationals

If the applicant is a national from one of the following countries listed below, it will be very easy for them to satisfy the English language requirement:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.

For partner visas, this is because of paragraph 28 of Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules which makes it clear that, in such a case, all you will need to do is submit a passport which shows the majority English speaking nationality.

appendix fm se paragraph 28

But what if your passport has been lost or stolen, has expired and been returned to the relevant authorities or if it is with another department of the Home Office?

In such a case, you should make this clear in the application form.

If this is not made clear, then the Home Office caseworker can then accept a current national identity document or a letter from the applicant’s national government, Embassy or High Commission confirming the applicant’s name, date of birth and nationality.

If the applicant has multiple nationalities, including a nationality that falls within the majority English speaking country, then applicants can rely on that particular nationality to satisfy the English language requirement.

FREE UK Partner Visa Video Series

CLICK HERE to watch our free video series.

In this free video series, we discuss:

  • The financial requirement
  • The online application form
  • Document translations
  • The adequate accommodation requirement
  • The English language requirement
  • Dependent children requirement
  • The unmarried partner visa requirement
  • Other partner visa requirements

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part 2

What is the minimum level of Home Office-approved Secure English language test that you should take?

Consideration 1 – What visa are you applying for?

Partner visas (including spouse visas, FLR(M) visas, unmarried partner visas, fiancé(e) visas)

Entry clearance or initial leave applications:

Level A1 CEFR (unless exempt)

Example #1

Tammy is applying for a UK spouse visa from Thailand.

She has never been issued a UK partner visa before.

For her first application, the required CEFR level will be A1.

Example #2

Austin is an Indian national who is currently in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Since he would like to switch into the partner category, the required CEFR level will be A1.

Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partners who are extending their visa in the UK via the FLR(M) route

Level A1 CEFR

Example

Beatrice came to the UK on the 1st January 2022 on a UK fiance visa.

Beatrice’s visa, as is usually the case for fiancé(e) visas, is valid for 6 months.

Beatrice has already passed the A1 test and can re-use the same certificate for her FLR(M) application (which should be submitted after marrying but before the 6 months expiring in the UK).

Leave to remain visas where the applicant is extending their 33 or 30-month partner visa:

Level A2 CEFR

Example

Matthew previously applied for entry clearance as a spouse.

He met the English language requirement by obtaining an A1 English test.

To extend his spouse visa, Matthew will have to pass a Level A2 CEFR English test or higher.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

The level of English test required is entirely dependent on the path you used to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The applicant will be exempt from satisfying the English language requirement if they are applying for ILR under the following categories:

  • as a refugee;
  • as someone who has been issued humanitarian protection;
  • as someone who has been issued discretionary leave to remain; or
  • as a victim of domestic violence.

If the applicant is not exempt, then the level that they will be required to sit and pass is generally Level B1 CEFR.

British Citizenship

For those applying for British citizenship, the level which is required is normally Level B1 CEFR.

If the applicant is a non-EEA national, they will probably have already passed this when applying for indefinite leave to remain.

Tier 2 (General) Visa

If the applicant is applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa, the level that they are required to evidence is Level B1 CEFR.

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa

If the applicant is applying for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa, the level that they are required to evidence is Level B2 CEFR.

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

If the applicant is applying for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa, the level that they are required to evidence is Level A1 CEFR.

Tier 4 (Student) Visa

If the applicant is applying for a Tier 4 (Student) visa, the level that they are generally required to evidence is Level B2 CEFR.

If, however, the applicant is applying to study a course that is below degree level, then the level that the applicant will be required to sit and pass is B1 CEFR.

Consideration 2 – What is your English language ability like?

If the applicant has an advanced level of English, they wish to consider sitting a test at a higher level than needed if they are applying for a partner visa.

Whilst the minimum level required for partner visas can be as low as A1 level, it should be noted that spouse visa extensions require a minimum of A2 whilst ILR and British citizenship applications require a minimum level of B1.

Therefore, where the applicant is required to pass an A1 English language test, they can sit an A2 or B1 English language test and then rely on that same English language test for future applications.

For UK partner visas, this is because of paragraph 32D of Appendix FM-SE which states that applicants can reuse their English certificate test certificate in subsequent applications in the following circumstances:

  • if it is from a provider which is not on the approved list anymore, or
  • if it is from a provider which is still approved but the particular test taken with the provider is no longer approved, or
  • if it was taken in a test centre which is no longer approved, or
  • if it is past its expiry date.

There are, however, a few things to consider:

  • The applicant will only be able to reuse their English test certificate if they had ‘continuous leave’ since their last partner visa application; and
  • The applicant will not be able to reuse their English test certificate if the Home Office caseworker has doubts about how the test was taken or obtained.

‘Continuous leave’ is when the applicant extends the partner visa on time and had no periods of uncertain or illegal immigration status.

Example

Harry applied for his initial leave to remain as a partner in the UK in May 2016.

Knowing that he can re-use the test, he sat the B1 English test.

Harry submitted the FLR(M) application before his partner visa’s expiry date.

His visa did not expire and he is deemed to have continuous leave to remain.

He, therefore, was allow to reuse the same B1 English language test that he used in a previous application.

Consideration 3 – Are you located inside the UK or outside the UK?

If the applicant is inside the UK, they can take the tests listed below:

  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) by Trinity College London (A1, A2, B1)
  • Integrated Skills in English (ICE) by Trinity College London (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • IELTS Life Skills (Speaking and Listening) by IELTS SELT Consortium (A1, A2, B1)
  • Pearson PTE Home by Pearson Education Ltd (A1, A2, B1)
  • Pearson PTE Academic UKVI by Pearson Education Ltd (B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Speaking and listening) by LanguageCert (A1, A2, B1)

If the applicant is outside the UK, they can take the tests listed below:

  • IELTS Life Skills (Speaking & listening) by IELTS SELT Consortium (A1, A2, B1)
  • IELTS for UKVI by IELTS SELT Consortium (B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • Pearson PTE Home by Pearson Education Ltd (A1, A2, B1)
  • Pearson PTE Academic UKVI by Pearson Education Ltd (B1, B2, C1, C2)
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Speaking & Listening) by LanguageCert  (A1, A2, B1)
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking) by LanguageCert (B1, B2, C1, C2)

part 3
How do I book the Home Office Approved Secure English Language Test (SELT)?

How do I book a Trinity Test?

Trinity tests are booked using their online booking system.

You must state the same details which are on your passport or identity document when booking the test.

You can book your Trinity test here.

How do I book an IELTS test?

IELTS tests are booked using their online booking system.

Again, you must state the same details which are on your passport or identity document when booking the test.

IELTS test centres are located all over the world including the UK.

To locate your closest IELTS Life Skills test centre click here.

You can book your IELTS test here.

part 4

Which documents do I need to include to meet the English language requirement for UK partner visas?

#1 If you are relying on being exempt due to being 65 years of age or over

If the applicant is relying on being exempt from the English language requirement due to being over 65 years of age on the date of application, they must confirm this in the form of a passport or birth certificate.

#2 If you are relying on being exempt due to a physical or mental condition

If the applicant is relying on being exempt from the English language requirement due to suffering from a long term physical or mental condition, then they must provide proof of this.

The proof should be in the form of satisfactory medical evidence from a medical practitioner who is qualified in the appropriate field.

This evidence must set out the relevant physical or mental condition and from which it may be concluded that exemption on those grounds is justified.

#3 If you are relying on having previously passed an approved English language test

Applicants will be required to provide a unique reference number (URN) or a copy of an English language test certificate.

#4 If you are relying on a degree qualification that was taught in English and awarded outside the UK

If an applicant is relying on a degree qualification (or above) that was taught in English outside the UK, in addition to the Degree certificate, they must provide evidence from UK NARIC (now often referred to as ‘Ecctis’).

With this being said, most partners just find it easier to sit an English language test rather than having to go through the UK NARIC process.

#5 If you are relying on a UK degree that was awarded in the UK to satisfy the English language requirement

If an applicant is relying on a UK degree or above qualification to meet the English language requirement, then they must provide their degree certificate.

However, if they have lost their degree or are awaiting graduation, they can provide:

  • an academic letter from the university on headed paper stating their name, the name of their award, asserting their award was taught in English, the award was/will be granted, and the date the degree was issued or confirmation that the original cannot be reissued, or
  • an academic transcript on headed paper stating their name, the name of the University, the name of the course, confirmation the degree was taught in English and that said degree has been awarded.

#6 If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country

If the applicant is a national of a majority English-speaking country, they must provide a valid passport or travel document.

If they are unable to provide this, because their passport has been either been lost, stolen or is with the Home Office, they can provide:

  • a valid identity document
  • a letter from your government/Embassy/High Commission confirming your name, date of birth and their nationality.

 

 Frequently Asked Questions 

What happens if I do not take the correct test?

Unfortunately, if you rely on the wrong test, it is likely that your application will be refused.

Do I have to take the English language test before we submit the online application?

If you rely on an English language test to satisfy the financial requirement, you will have to sit the test before submitting the online application.

What happens if I do not sit the test at a Home Office approved test centre?

It is a requirement for those who rely on an English language test to satisfy the financial requirement for the test to be sat at a Home Office approved centre. If the test is not taken at an approved centre, the English language test cannot be relied on.

How long are English language tests valid for?

The English language tests are valid for two years.

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