World news story

Changes to English language certification for visa applications

Please note that there have been changes to the English language certification providers approved by the Home Office for visa applications.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Home Office Licence Agreement with Educational Testing Service (ETS), to provide Secure English Language Testing, ended on the 5 April 2014. They have suspended accepting ETS tests as evidence of English language ability from new visa applicants. Applicants wishing to make an application should take a test with an alternative provider.

You must use the approved English language tests list if the visa you are applying for requires you to prove your English language ability.

The government wants to make sure this change does not have an impact on genuine international students who took an ETS test in good faith before the licence expired.

UK Visas and Immigration are accepting visa applications which rely on an ETS certificate issued before the expiry of the licence was made public on 17 April 2014. These applications will be considered as normal. Applications will be accepted until new Immigration Rules come into effect and transitional arrangements have ended.

The Home Office has made arrangements for the other SELT providers to accept a certified copy of your passport as proof of identity. If you do not have a copy, please write to them at and they will arrange for one to be provided.


· Accepted by more than 8,000 international organisations

· Designed by the world’s leading experts in language assessment

· Multiple sessions throughout the year

· Fast and reliable delivery of results

· Both American and British spelling are accepted

· Two versions of the exam available depending on the needs of the candidate

· Oral exam is done face-to-face

· Better preparation for the academic environment than other tests

IELTS with the British Council

· Dedicated and friendly team

· Expert advice on how to prepare for the exam

· Register online or in person

· “Road to IELTS” – 30 hours of online preparation materials – free!

· Special arrangements for candidates with special needs

· Expert sessions with experienced staff

· New webpage:

For further information, please read this guidance. The Embassy will not be able to answer your questions regarding visas.

Published 30 April 2014