At the heart of UK immigration systems, English language skills lies an integral component as part of prerequisite for many UK immigration route including student visa, business visa, professional visa and family visa. applicants for UK visa are required to fulfill the relevant  English language level for their immigration category.  Language skills for UK visa is statutory requirement and must meet before they have been issued UK visas. Only approved English language test can be used to demonstrate the English language competency.

What test is a Secure English Language Test SELT?

Candidates are required to demonstrate their English language skills by appearing on a secured English language test SELT. Applicant coming to the UK for various purposes including family reunion, family partners, business immigration, study purposes and et al are expected to demonstrate a strong grasp of the English language. The SELT is performed in UK home office approved test centers and are administered under strict UKVI guidelines. There is no difference in the content and nature of the test but the difference lies in the administration of the test performed by the UK home office approved examining bodies.

Four ways to satisfy UK english language requirement

Candidates can prove their english language skills by:

  • being a citizen of a majority English speaking nation; or
  • passing a prescribed  English language test as detailed in home Office website; or
  • a course of study which was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’ by UK NARIC; or
  • applicant have already shown their English language skills in a previous application.

Components in a UKVI IELTS

There are four components in a standard English language test conducted by prescribed home office listed institutions. Listening component measure the applicants ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas. The reading component test the applicants skills related to understand bottom lines, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. In their writing skills, applicants are required to demonstrate logical presentation of the relevant facts and opinions. In the spoken component, candidates speaking skills are tested.

CEFR levels of English Test

CEFR organizes language proficiency in six levels. Starting from basic user of the language to the competent user of the language.

Six levels of CEFR

Basic User

  • CEFR Level A1
  • CEFR Level A2

Independent Speaker

CEFR Level B1

CEFR Level B2

Professional Speaker

CEFR Level C1

CEFR Level C2

List of approved test for UKVI English language requirement

The list of approved tests gives the CEFR level and minimum grade requirements for each level.

The approved IELTS SELT Consortium tests are:

  • IELTS for UKVI
  • Life Skills

English Language requirement for UK student visa

Students coming to UK for study purposes are required to meet the English level set by the academic institutions registered as sponsors by UK home office. Although it is not necessary to appear in UKVI SELT, according to genuine students rule, students are required to demonstrate their competence in english language at a level which meet the prerequisite for studying the relevant courses.

For the following application routes, you will need to take a test that assesses your reading, writing, speaking and listening abilities:

For the following application routes, you will need to take a test that assesses your speaking and listening abilities:

National of a majority English speaking country

If you are from a country whose residents speak english as their primary language, you will not be required to demonstrate your English language skills for UK immigration purposes.

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


An applicant can prove their English language competency by demonstrating that they have pursued a course of study which was taught in English language and the course is equivalent to a UK degree level program. UK NARIC can provide a comparable certificate which can be used for UK visa purposes.

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