If you read our FAQ page on visas you might already know that you may need a visa to take an English course in London or to work in England. If you need a Student visa or a Worker visa, you have to meet certain English language requirements. Here are all the things you should know regarding the tests you might need to take to prove your English proficiency!
Learn more about the English language requirements for a student visa
Before applying for a Worker visa or a Student visa to study English in London, you will need to prove that you speak, write and read English at a sufficient level. UK Visas and Immigration Authorities recognize several certificates as proof of your English proficiency:
- A Secure English Language Test (SELT)
- An A-level, GCSE, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher in English, taken and passed at a UK school that you began before you turned 18.
- A degree-level academic qualification taught in English (you’ll need confirmation that it is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s, master’s degree or PhD if you gained it abroad), only for Worker visas.
Exceptions that prove the rule…
You do not need to meet the English language requirements for a Student visa if:
- you have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in one of these countries
- you are from one these countries;
- you are a Canadian citizen;
- you are coming for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA;
- you have already proved your level of English in a previous visa application.
You do not need to meet these English language requirements to get a Worker Visa if:
- you are a citizen of one of these countries.
- you are a doctor, nurse, dentist or midwife (if you have already taken and passed an English language test accepted by the relevant regulated professional body, you do not need to meet the English language requirement for Worker visa).
What is a Secure English Language Test (SELT)?
To be valid, your Secure English Language Test (SELT) needs to be recognized by British authorities.
The UK Government has established a list of approved Secured English Language Tests:
- IELTS SELT Consortium: “IELTS for UKVI” or “IELTS Life Skills”
- LanguageCert: “LanguageCert International ESOL SELT”
- Pearson: “PTE Academic UKVI” or “PTE Home”
- PSI Services: “Skills for English UKVI”
- Trinity College London: “Secure English Language Tests for UKVI”, Integrated Skills in English (ISE) or Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)
Visit this page to know the minimum grade requirements for each CEFR level.
It is up to you to decide which one you would like to take.
Your Secure English Language Test (SELT) needs to meet several conditions
To meet the English language requirements, your SELT has to be delivered from an approved provider. You can book your test by visiting one of these providers’ websites:
- IELTS SELT Consortium
- Trinity College London (if you are in the UK)
- PSI Services (UK) Ltd (if you are outside of the UK)
To be valid, your test must be taken in an approved test location. You can find a list of approved test centres on the website of the UK Government.
To be accepted, your test must have been passed in the two years before your application.
What level of English do I need to meet the English language requirements for a student visa?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is used as a reference to assess your proficiency.
For Student visa:
If you are studying below a degree level, you will need to have level equivalent to a CEFR level B1.
If you are studying at a degree level or above, you will need to have a level equivalent to CEFR level B2.
For Worker visa:
You will need to prove that you speak, write and read English at least at a B1 level on the CEFR scale.
English language requirements as a guarantee
The English language requirements for UK student visa or for a Worker visa serve as guarantee that international students and workers will be able to study or work in the country and to succeed in their studies and jobs. It will also allow them to integrate into the community more easily.
How to boost your score at a Secure English Language Test (SELT) ?
You can prepare for your Secure English Language Test (SELT) getting acquainted with the format of the test you will take. You can find a variety of study materials and resources online, such as the free learning and practice materials that the British Council offers for the IELTS. The more you know what is expected from you during the test, the bigger the chances you have to score high.
Since you will be tested on reading, writing, speaking and listening English during your Secure English Language Test( SELT), we recommend that you try to develop these skills in your everyday-life to boost your score:
- Watch TV programmes, movies, Youtube videos, listen to music in English to develop your understanding of English and your vocabulary
- Read in English : It can be newspapers, magazines, novels, or whatever interests you. It will improve your reading, understanding and writing skills!
Depending on your level of English and the one you need to achieve, you might need to take an English course. If you would like to increase your score at a Secure English Language Test (SELT), we offer General English courses and live online courses that might be interesting for you.