World news story
Change of student visa requirements to the United Kingdom
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
TOEFL is no longer accepted for some student visas in the United Kingdom
On 1 July 2014, ETS was removed from the UK’s list of approved English language test suppliers. This means that the British government has decided that the TOEFL English language certificates, the tests for which are held by ETS in Brazil, will no longer be accepted for Tier 4 student visa applications (Tier 4), except in the limited circumstances set out below, for a short transitional period. Students who have already had their visas issued shall not be affected.
Those who are overseas and seeking to study in one of the following courses can make a visa application relying on an ETS certificate as long as the visa is made and the visa fee paid for before 1 October 2014.
- a pre-sessional course lasting no longer than 3 months;
- a foundation course awarded at a minimum of level 3 on the revised National Qualifications Framework, or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; or
- a foundation degree, at a UK Recognised Body or a body in receipt of public funding as a Higher Education Institution.
After these this dates, visa applications relying on an ETS certificate will not be accepted.
This change does not affect visa applications for individuals wishing to study under-graduate and post-graduate courses at Higher Education Institutions (HEI), as HEIs can choose their own method of testing these students’ English language ability. It is up to the HEI to decide whether to accept ETS certificates as evidence that degree-level students can speak English at the appropriate level.
Brazilian students interested in getting a Tier 4 visa – including those who have already scheduled, but have not taken the ETS exam yet – should look for alternative certificates to TOEFL. The IELTS, Cambridge, and Pearson exams are accepted, and are available in several Brazilian cities.
General Information on the exams
IELTS is administered by the British Council and can be taken in 27 places in Brazil. The exam is accepted by the majority of British universities.
- IELTS offers 10 hours of free access to online IELTS e-learning and online practice assessment. It’s open to anyone.
- After registration for the IELTS test with the British Council, there’s further 20 hours access to IELTS e-learning, so there’s a total of 30 hours’ free IELTS online learning.
- Register here for an IELTS test.
Cambridge has 77 centres in Brazil and its exams can be taken in 22 states and in the Federal District (DF). The exam is accepted by the majority of British universities.
Pearson exams can be taken in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The exam is accepted by the majority of British universities, except Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London.