English Language Requirement for Spouse Visa and English Test Exemptions

One of the requirements for obtaining a UK spouse or partner visa is proof that you are proficient in the English language. For the UK spouse visa, you’ll need to show that your English skills are above average. When deciding whether to grant your spouse a visa to the United Kingdom, the Home Office will look at this to see if you will be able to adjust to life in the United Kingdom.

This article will explain how to get a spouse visa, how to extend that visa, and how to get around the English language requirement if your spouse has a long-term medical condition or other special circumstance.

Spouse visa applications must be accompanied by a supporting document
For a spouse or partner visa application, the English language requirement can be met by passing an approved English language test at level A1 or above on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. The Home Office requires that this be done by a vetted service provider.

Guidelines for the English Proficiency Test Required for Spousal Visas
Under immigration law, the results of an English proficiency test are considered to be valid for two years. Make sure your English proficiency certificate is still current before applying for your spouse’s visa. If you send in a certificate of passing a test that has expired, your application may be denied or held up.

As was previously mentioned, you must take your secure English language test (SELT) with a reputable service. Your only options for taking the SELT in the UK are the following:

PSI Services (UK) Ltd
IELTS SELT Consortium

Spouse visa applicants located outside the UK must take a SELT with one of the following testing providers:

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

You should bring some form of identification with you to your English proficiency exam, such as:

Travel Documents (Passport) with Biometric Residence Permit (UK)
UK Convention on Biometric Residence Cards
Documentation for international travel for people without citizenship
Marriage visa extensions require an English language test.

After 2.5 years, people who want to extend their spouse visas must again show that they can speak English well. You must now show that you can understand what is being said and what is being heard at or above the A2 CEFR level.

Exceptions to the Spouse Visa English Language Requirement
If you fall into one of the following categories, you don’t need to be able to speak English:

Ineligible for voter registration because they are either under 18 or over 65
A native English speaker (see below for more details)
A student who has completed coursework and/or research in English-language institutions
A senior citizen being looked after by a family member in the United Kingdom
Want to stay in the UK as a parent or partner for another five years but your current visa only allows you to stay for two
You have been told that you cannot fulfill the requirement because of an illness.
Later in this article, we’ll go into more detail about some of the exemption criteria.

Citizens of the countries below do not need to know English to get a visa for a spouse.
Applicants for a spouse visa do not have to show proof that they can speak English well if they are from one of the following countries:

A&B Antigua & Barbuda
Bahama Islands
overseas territories of the British Commonwealth
The Islands of New Zealand
The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
Our Lady of Mount St. Lucia
Vincent and the Grenadines
We are in Trinidad and Tobago.

Exemptions based on Academic Achievement Examine your English proficiency for the purpose of obtaining a spouse visa.
For the spouse visa English test, you may be exempt if you have a degree or other advanced academic qualification that was taught in English. Any degree that is at least as rigorous as a Bachelor’s in the UK (or its equivalent in the Commonwealth) or a Master’s degree (or its equivalent in the Commonwealth) will be accepted as meeting the English language requirement. You need to fulfil the following conditions to be exempt from this requirement:

Ectiss can verify your academic credentials. Ectiss will give you either a statement of comparability or a statement of visa and nationality to show that you are eligible.
Give proof that you have the certification and that you studied for it in English.
In order to work for Ectiss, you will need a “statement of comparability” if your degree is from any of the following countries:

The Islands of Antigua and Barbuda
Bahama Islands
New Zealand
For the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, see:
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia
Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America

The original certificate of your academic qualification must include your name, the award, the date of award, the name of the awarding institution, and confirmation that the course was taught or researched in English.

Spouse visa applicants with long-term medical conditions are exempt from the language requirement.
If you have a chronic medical condition (physical or mental) that prevents you from taking an English proficiency test, you will not be required to do so. You should have your doctor fill out a form called “Waiver request for the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement: medical opinion.” This form should explain why you shouldn’t have to know English to get a spouse visa. If the applicant has a long-term health problem that makes it hard for them to talk, like deafness, mutism, a speech impediment, or a disorder like dysphasia or aphasia, they may not be able to apply.

UKVI has discretion to determine whether a medical condition qualifies for an exemption from the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. The Home Office may reject your application if you fail to provide sufficient evidence of a genuine health condition that may prevent you from learning or communicating in English.

Exemption from the language barrier for spouse visas: English
You should be able to speak English, but there are some exceptions to this rule. You must demonstrate that you have a genuine reason for not being able to learn English before coming to the UK, or that it is not feasible or reasonable for you to travel to another country to take an approved SELT, but there is no exhaustive list of such circumstances. When it comes to the exceptions, you may encounter situations such as:

Currently residing in a nation that is experiencing either external or internal war
Be a resident of a country that is experiencing or has experienced a humanitarian crisis
Spent months in the hospital
care for a disabled child full-time and want to move to the UK
You are a long-term resident of a country that does not offer an accepted A1 test provision, and going to another country to take the test would be too expensive, time-consuming, or inconvenient for you.

Contact one of our helpful and knowledgeable immigration solicitors in complete confidence by calling 0203 643 7508 or sending an email to donm@queensparksolicitors.co.uk if you need assistance with your spouse visa application.

Categories: Home, UK Immigration

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