Are you looking to find the various English tests and other accreditation bodies that you need for your Spouse visa, Work Permit, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and Naturalisation here in the UK?
For the past 8 years that I have lived in the UK, there were countless times that the UK Home Office changed their rules around the immigration policies. Some of the things that they’ve implemented are the Secure English Language Test and Citizenship test (Life in the UK).
I must admit that the changes to the policies are tougher on immigrants, with the goal to cut down immigration here in the UK. On my journey to become a Naturalised British Citizen, I have had to take and pass all the exams required, Thank God I did!
The UK Home Office implemented the Secure English Language Test (SELT), there are two accredited Language test providers that can give the test here in the UK and internationally. They are the Trinity College London and the Cambridge English Language Assessment.
Who needs to take the SELT?
The majority of the UK immigration routes will need to obtain SELT. These are:
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur)
Tier 2 (General, Minister of Religion, and Sportsperson)
Tier 4 (General)
Representative of an Overseas Business
Settlement and Citizenship
The tests vary depending on the type of immigration route that you are taking. Some routes will require a thorough English Language Assessment (Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking) these are common on academic and business routes.
However, for settlement and partners, the Life Skills test are advisable, where only Listening and Speaking sections are to be taken.
The two accredited SELT by the Home Office are:
IELTS SELT Consortium (The UK and International)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international English Test that is recognised worldwide. It is used primarily for migration, academic or work purposes. The IELTS exams are mostly paper-based and time pressured with the scoring system of Band 1 to 9. The exam results are only valid for 2 years.
The IELTS tests required by the Home Office are the IELTS for UKVI and the IELTS Life Skills.
The IELTS UKVI will assess the four language skills (Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing). The UKVI test results equivalent levels of B1 to C2 (depending on your exam results) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). There are two types of UKVI tests, these are the Academic (which you can use for applying in universities and immigration) and the General (which can be used for immigration purposes only)
As for my experience, I took the IELTS UKVI (Academic) as I deemed it to be multi-purpose.
The IELTS Life Skills will assess the only two language skills (Listening and Speaking) that are vital for community integration. The CEFR equivalent levels are A1 to B1 (depending on your exam results).
IELTS EXAM PRICE: It varies from country to country, rough estimate between £117 to £200. Please check the test centre where you will be taking the exam.
TRINITY COLLEGE London (UK Only)
Trinity College London is another accredited provider in the UK to get SELT, approved by the Home Office for immigration purposes. This is a paper-based and face-to-face exams.
There are two types of exams conducted by the Trinity College London, they are Graded Examination in Spoken English (GESE) only test the speaking and listening. The Integrated Skills in English (ISE) test the four language skill same as the IELTS exams.
Trinity College London Exam Price: £150 (GESE) | £180 (ISE)
Another exam and assessment that I took for my visas and settlement here in the UK.
UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK Naric)
UK Naric is an assessment body that is approved by the Home Office to evaluate the foreign degree to compare it to a British recognised qualification.
UK Naric assessment results can support the Point-Based System routes (Tier 1, 2 and Representative of an Overseas Business visa), family route (Spouse and partner), settlement and naturalisation.
If the UK Naric assessment deems that your foreign degree is equivalent to a British Bachelor’s Degree or higher, this will enable you to fulfil the Home Office requirements for the Language test.
Tip: Don’t forget to also submit your High School Diploma together with your UK Naric Application.
UK Naric assessment price: £125 per application + VAT
Life in the UK (Citizenship Exam)
The Life in the UK exam is needed when you are ready to apply for your Naturalisation to become a British citizen. The exam is based on the handbook “Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents”.
The test questions are mostly the about the history, culture and tradition of the UK.
Life in the UK test price: £50
Those are the exams and assessment that will help you with your UK visa and settlement. Good luck on your application.
If you would like to share some tips and experience on various exams to take, please leave a comment in the comment box below!
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