UK Visas and English language Requirements

English language requirements have been a norm in the UK for many different UK visa categories and immigration routes. If you are from EU or EEA national, you will also be subject to passing the English Language requirements from December 1st 2020 if you would like to live and work in the UK and such requirements have not been added to the EU Settlement Scheme application (that you must apply through if you have no done already to remain in the UK after Brexit).

Who needs to meet the English Language Requirements?

If you are a non-EEA national who applying for various visa categories to enter the UK should take into account the fact that there is an English Language Requirement on plenty of visa routes.

Which UK Visa Categories are Exempt?

There are several visa categories that do not require non-EEA applicants to have a specific level of English.

  • Tier 1 Investor;
  • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent;
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer);
  • Tier 4 (Child) Student;
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker); and
  • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme);
  • UK Visit Visas

What if you are:

From a Majority English Speaking Country?

Alternatively, you will not need to satisfy the English language requirement if you are from a majority English speaking country. The UK government regards the following overseas countries as majority native English speaking:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

A Representative of an Overseas Business?

Those non-EEA nationals who want to act as a Representative of an Overseas Business will have to meet CEFR level A1 of the English language speaking requirement and will need to demonstrate this by passing an approved English language test. You can be exempt from this if you have an academic qualification that you were taught in English and one that is recognized by UK NARIC.

Interested in the New Tier 1 Innovator Visa and Start-Up Visa routes?

In 2019, two new visa routes, the Tier 1 Start-up Visa and the Tier 1 Innovator Visa came into effect. Those non-EEA nationals who would like to apply through these routes will have to meet CEFR Level B2 of an approved English Language test that is recognized by UK NARIC.

What about Student Visa Holders?

If you are a student visa applicant, the English Language requirement for your visa will depend on specific criteria from the Higher Education Institution’s (HEI).

Applying for British Citizenship & Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Certain visa categories in the UK do have exemptions from English language requirements however if you are over the age of 18 and want to apply for British Citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain you will be required to prove your level of English at some stage within your application.

Over the age of 65 & have physical/mental conditions?

If you happen to be 65 or over, or you cannot meet the English language criteria because you are suffering from a physical or mental condition, you may not need to meet these criteria at all.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

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