Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove it with an academic qualification, or by taking a test.

You do not need to prove it if you’re applying as a:

  • child
  • adult coming to be cared for by a relative

Academic qualifications

You can prove your knowledge of English if you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English.

If your qualification is from a UK university or college, you only need your degree certificate.

If your qualification is from a university or college outside the UK

You’ll need to provide a certificate from UK NARIC to show that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher and that it was taught in English.

There are 2 kinds of certificate:

  • a statement of comparability
  • a visa and nationality statement

You need a statement of comparability if you got your qualification from a university or college in one of these countries:

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

If you got your qualification from a university or college in any other country, you need a visa and nationality statement.

Take an approved English language test

You can prove your knowledge of English by passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.

If you cannot take an English language test because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you might be able to apply for an exemption. Read the guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.

If you want to settle permanently in the UK within 5 years

If you took the CEFR A1 when you first applied for your visa, you’ll need to take a CEFR A2 test when you apply to stay after 2.5 years.

If you did not need to do the CEFR A1 when you first applied for your visa but you need to do it now, you’ll need to pass it when you apply to stay after 2.5 years.

When you will not need to prove your knowledge of English

You will not need to prove your knowledge of English or take a test if:

  • you’re over 65
  • you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement

You also will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua 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
  • USA

You may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances – check the guidance for the partner (2-year and 5-year routes) or parent (5-year route).