English test required for UK settlement visa

English test required for UK settlement visa

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Compulsory English language tests have been introduced for non-European migrants applying for a UK visa to join or marry their settled partner in the UK.

The British High Commission has announced that compulsory English-language A1 level  tests have been introduced for non-European migrants applying to join or marry their settled partner in the UK.

The United Kingdom Border Agency said the change will affect migrants who wish to join or marry their settled partner only.  Rules for other kinds of visa, including tourist and business visitor category, remain unchanged.

The change affects applicants from all non-European Union countries.

The statement said from 29 November 2010, any migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK will need to show that they can speak and understand English by taking a test with one of the approved test providers in their home country.  


You do not need to meet the English language requirement if you provide satisfactory evidence that:

  • you are aged 65 or over when you make your application; or
  • you have a physical or mental condition which would prevent you from meeting the requirement; or
  • there are exceptional compassionate circumstances which would prevent you from meeting the requirement

Nationals from the following counties are exempt from the English language requirement and do not need to undertake the English language test:

  • Antigue and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize 
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • the USA


Apart from nationals of the above countries all other applicants will need to meet this requirement if they are nationals of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here, and want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as their husband, wife, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

Under the current rules, applicants applying for settlement visas as partners must already meet a range of criteria before being allowed to enter the UK.


Expatica / Updated courtesy of Hassan Butt, solicitor, Chatham Chambers Solicitors.

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