Family visas: apply, extend or switch

7. 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 both:

  • you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English
  • your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree
 or higher

You’ll need to send a certificate from UK NARIC confirming this when you apply.

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 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 didn’t 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 won’t need to prove your knowledge of English

You won’t 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 won’t 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).