UK Visa English Test

English Language Requirement for UK Spouse Visa and Exemptions to English Test

To apply for a UK spouse or partner visa, you must show you can speak and understand English well. This is key for a successful application, as it helps determine your ability to integrate into UK life. We will discuss the English requirements for this visa, what is needed for an extension, and exemptions due to health or special circumstances.

English language requirements for Spouse visa

For a spouse or partner visa, you need to pass an English test at least at level A1 of the CEFR scale. This test must be taken with a provider approved by the Home Office.

English test for spouse visa guidelines

When applying for a spouse visa in the UK, it’s important to have a recent English test result. This means the test should be no older than 2 years when you apply. If you submit an old test result, your visa application could be rejected or delayed.

You must take your English test with an approved provider. If you’re in the UK, your options are:

  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • Trinity College London
  • IELTS SELT Consortium

If you’re applying from outside the UK, you can take your test with:

  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd
  • IELTS SELT Consortium

Your test must be one of the approved types, such as:

  • Pearson’s PTE Academic UKVI or PTE Home
  • PSI Services’ Skills for English UKVI
  • Trinity College London’s Integrated Skills in English (ISE) or Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) for UKVI
  • IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Life Skills
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT

Make sure to take the test at an approved location, and it must be taken within two years right before you apply for the visa.

When you go to take your test, you’ll need to bring a valid ID, like your passport, UK Biometric Residence Permit or Card, a Convention travel document, or a Stateless persons’ travel document.

English test for spouse visa extension

When extending your spouse visa after 2.5 years, you must prove your English speaking and listening skills again, but this time at the higher A2 CEFR level or above.

English language requirement exemptions for Spouse visa

You do not need to prove your English skills for a UK Spouse visa if:

  • Age: You are younger than 18 or older than 65.
  • Country: You come from a country where people speak English. 
  • Education: If you went to school or university where you used English to learn.
  • Care: You are moving to the UK because a family member will take care of you.
  • Already in the UK: If you have been living in the UK with a certain type of family visa for 5 years and want to stay longer.
  • Health: You have a health problem that makes it hard for you to show your English skills.

We will give more details about some of these reasons you might not need to prove your English later.

Countries exempt from English language requirement for Spouse visa

If you want to apply for a spouse visa and show that you know English, you don’t have to if you’re from one of these places:

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas
  • Barbados, Belize, British overseas territories
  • Canada, Dominica, Grenada
  • Guyana, Jamaica, Malta
  • New Zealand. St Kitts and Nevis. St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. USA

Academic qualifications exempt from Spouse visa English test

If you have a university degree or something even higher that was all done in English, you might not need to take the English test if you are applying to live with your spouse. Your degree needs to be as good as one from the UK, like a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. Here’s what you should do:

Have a special group called Ectiss check your degree. They will tell you if it is good enough by giving you a paper that says so.

You need to show you have this degree and that you learned in English.

If you got your degree from one of these places, you must get a “good enough” paper from Ectiss:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Make sure you also show your degree paper that has your name, the degree name, when you got it, where you got it from, and that it was all in English.

Long-term health conditions exempt from Spouse visa English requirement

If your health problem makes learning or using English hard for you, you might not need to prove your English for a spouse visa. Your doctor must fill out a form explaining why. This might be due to hearing issues, speech difficulties, or other conditions affecting speech. The visa officials will review your case to decide if you can be exempt from the English requirement. If you do not provide enough evidence of your health issue, your visa application could be rejected.

Exceptional circumstances for English requirement for spouse visa exemption

Sometimes, you might not need to prove you know English for a spouse visa if you have a really good reason. There is no fixed list of these reasons, but you need to show why you could not learn English before going to the UK or why you can not go to another country just to take an English test. Some good reasons might be:

  • If you live in a place where there is a war or a lot of fighting.
  • You are in a place that had a really big disaster, affecting lots of people.
  • You had to stay in the hospital for a long time.
  • If you are the only one taking care of a child with special needs, and this child is also moving to the UK.
  • You have been living in a place where there’s no way to take the needed English test, and going to another country to take the test is too hard or just doesn’t make sense.
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