If you are looking to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you will need to ensure that you meet all the requirements, including proving your knowledge of the English language. To do this, you may need to take an English test from an approved provider.

Who needs to prove their knowledge of the English language

In some cases, you may not need to prove your knowledge of English to apply for ILR. You will need to meet this requirement if all of the following apply to you:

  • You are aged between 18 and 65
  • You do not have a long-term physical or mental condition
  • You are not from a country that is on the list of exempt nations

If you have a condition, you will need to provide an exemption form completed by your doctor or specialist.

Citizens from the following countries are exempt from the English language requirements for ILR:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Ireland (for citizenship only)
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

There are further exceptions where individuals may not need to prove their knowledge of English, such as victims of domestic violence, refugees or other individuals in exceptional circumstances living in the UK.

Taking an English test for ILR

To prove your knowledge of English to apply for settlement, you will need to take an approved test qualification of at least level B1.

These English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tests must be delivered by providers that are currently on the Home Office’s list of approved providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson

If you are applying from outside the UK, you may also choose PSI Services (UK) Ltd, and from within the country, Trinity College London is also an option.

Once the test is taken, you will be provided with a unique SELT reference number that you must use during your application, so that the Home Office can check your results.

Alternatives to English tests

You may also be able to prove your knowledge of English if your degree was taught or researched in English. It must be an academic degree, not a vocational one.

Documents you may need as proof include:

  • A copy of your degree certificate
  • If the degree does not come from a UK university, you will also need an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQALS) from UK ENIC (formerly UK NARIC)

If you do not have a certificate, you may still be able to prove that you hold a relevant degree.

Contact us for help

If you need any help with obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain, we can help with all aspects from applications to requirements and documents. Please get in touch, and one of our team will be happy to discuss your case and how we can help your specific situation.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

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