UK Visa Applications and the English Language Requirement

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
All Applicants applying for Settlement in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain), or British Citizenship via naturalisation are required to fulfil an English Language Requirement. This English Language requirement is part of the so-called KoLL requirement or  Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK.
Applicants who are nationals of majority English speaking countries and those who have obtained a degree taught in English will not be required to undertake the separate English test. South Africans, especially those whose first language is English, are almost always taken aback to find out that they have to take the English Language Test.
How to fulfill the English Language Requirement
There are two ways to fulfil the English language requirement;
  • Applicants who have a degree from a UK institution will automatically fulfil the English language requirement. If taught in another country, and the applicant can prove that it is equivalent or at a higher standard than a UK bachelor’s degree, and provide evidence that the degree was taught in English, the applicant will fulfil the requirement. 
  • An applicant will have to pass an English speaking and listening qualification, with an approved provider, at the Level B1 or higher of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Exemptions from the English Language Requirement
Important to note is that certain persons are exempted from the KoLL and thus the English Language requirement. Exclusions are among other: Children under 18 years of age; Persons aged 65 years and older; Persons who have a physical or mental condition that restricts their ability to learn English and communicate.
English Language Test Service Providers
It is also important to note that the UK Home Office only accepts English Language tests, done at approved providers from their set list. Applicants should, therefore, check with their BIC consultant whether a service provider is approved, before booking and paying for the English test. In this regard, applicants must note that the UK Home Office has announced that from November 2015 it does not accepts ESOL tests for Settlement and British Citizenship application purposes anymore.

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