English Language Changes

Not content with the changes made to the English language requirement on 5th November 2015, the UK Government has recently declared a further change and announced that from October 2016 there will be a new English Language requirement for those applying for a visa EXTENSION application under the family route as a non – EEA national partner or parent.

What does this mean?

Up until October 2016, anyone seeking a visa extension under the family route as a non EEA national partner or parent, could rely on the English qualification they submitted for their initial visa application (this would have been a qualification with an approved language provider at A1 level).  Their grant of leave to remain would have been for a period of 2.5 years.

The changes mean that in order to apply for an extension application after completing 2.5 years in the UK on the 5 year partner or parent route, you will need to pass a speaking an listening test at level A2 CEFR.

All applications submitted before October 2016 will still be able to use a Level A1 test.

Do the upcoming changes impact upon the English language requirement for indefinite leave to remain/settlement?

No, the rules governing the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain  are not affected by this and so  it will still be necessary, for those applying for settlement, to pass a test at level B1 (with an approved English language provider) as well as passing the Life in the UK.

What is an approved English language provider?

Only certain English qualifications are recognised by the Home Office.  Failure to provide a test pertaining to an ‘approved English language provider’ will mean that that test will not be accepted by the Home Office.

The following link provides detail of approved secure English language test and test centres that have been assessed as meeting the Home Office requirements.  The table lists the test centres details and the also the CEFR level and minimum grade requirements for each level:


Can alternatives be provided?

As an alternative to the English language test, you must be able to evince that you have a qualification such as a UK Bachelors or Master’s degree or equivalent, OR are a national of a majority speaking country as recognised by the Home Office ( Antigua and Barbuda Guyana Australia Jamaica The Bahamas New Zealand Barbados St Kitts and Nevis Belize St Lucia Canada St Vincent and the Grenadines Dominica Trinidad and Tobago Grenada The United States of America).

If relying on a degree that was taught or researched in English then you must be able to provide your original degree certificate and prove either one of the following:

Original correspondence (a letter or certificate) from UK NARIC confirming the comparable level of your degree, in addition to this, you will also need to provide a letter from the university confirming that the degree was taught in English.

An original and official certificate from your university confirming the degree was taught or researched in a majority English-speaking country (except Canada).

If you would like any advice or further clarification on the forthcoming changes, or any assistance with submitting an application under the family route then please contact a member of our team.