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What English test is required for ILR?

A key requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain is to meet the minimum English language requirement in speaking and listening. To prove this, you must take a Home Office-approved English language test.

For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your Indefinite Leave to Remain application, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375  for further guidance.


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    English test for ILR

    In order for your Indefinite Leave to Remain(ILR) to be processed, you must be able to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement to at least CEFR level B1, which is set out in the Common European Framework.

    The best way to prove your English language knowledge is by taking an English Language test. It is important to be aware of the type of test you can take that will be accepted by UKVI to grade your English language skills.

    You must ensure that you pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to the minimum required level in speaking and listening, unless you are exempt or from an English speaking country. Upon doing this, you can proceed with the rest of your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application.

    The English Language test is often feared as a way to catch you out, however, it is just there to grade your competency and ensure you are meeting the ILR guidelines.

    For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your Indefinite Leave to Remain application, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375  for further guidance.

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    Secure English Language Test (SELT)

    All Indefinite Leave to Remain applications must be accompanied by proof that you have taken a Secure English Language Test (SELT) that has been approved by the Home Office. Only the tests that have been vetted by the Home Office are accepted, so you must ensure you take a SELT at an approved test centre. Below are the approved English Language tests and their test centre:

    • Pearson– PTE Academic UKVI or PTE Home
    • PSI Services– Skills for English UKVI
    • Trinity College London– Secure English Language Tests for UKVI, Integrated Skills in English (ISE) or Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)
    • IELTS SELT Consortium– IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Life Skills
    • LanguageCert– LanguageCert International ESOL SELT

    Each test has its own set of requirements on how to achieve the minimum B1 CEFR level, but, it is up to you which test you select.

    Who is exempt from the English Language Test requirement?

    In some instances, you may be exempt from taking the English Language test to meet the ILR requirements. However, these are limited circumstances. You do not need to prove that you meet the English language requirement if you are:

    • Under the age of 18 years old
    • Over the age of 65 years old
    • You have a long-term physical or mental condition that may prevent you from taking a test
    • You are from a majority English-speaking country
    • You have an English language qualification (speaking and listening) already, this can include a degree taught speaking and listening qualification

    If you believe you are exempt due to a physical or mental condition, you must provide an exemption form completed by your doctor.

    Those from the following countries do not have to prove their knowledge by taking an English Language test: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and, the USA.

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      How to prepare for your English Language test

      The Secure English Language Test consists of two modules; speaking and listening. Both modules are taken on the same day during the same test and take around 2 hours and 2o minutes to complete.

      There are a wide range of official resources available online to help you prepare for the test. If you are opting to take your Test with Trinity College London, they have resources readily available to candidates on their website, which coincide with what is required from a test candidate in the Common European Framework.

      On the day, you should arrive at the SELT test centre in good time for your exam along with the required identity documents and a confirmation letter, if you have one.

      The day of the English test

      When you arrive at the test location, you will be greeted and have the test explained to you. You will be required to surrender your mobile phone and belongings until the test is over. You will then be taken to a test waiting area where you will be registered for the exam. Your ID will then be scanned and you may be asked to have a photograph taken for their records.

      Typically, both speaking and listening tests will be split into morning and afternoon sessions on the same day. You will be allowed to leave the centre after the morning session but must return promptly for afternoon proceedings.

      You will be taken back to the registration room to wait to be called for the second half of your test. After this you will be able to retrieve your belongings and leave with your provisional test result which will be issued after the test. Your confirmed result will become available within 4-7 days afterwards.

      What happens if you fail the test?

      If you fail the English Language test in speaking and listening, you may be offered the opportunity to resit to reassess your speaking and listening skills.

      You should get in touch with your test provider to find out the guidelines on resists as they may vary between establishments.

      If you are resitting, you should consider preparing for the test again by looking at approved resources and taking practice tests online.

      How long is my test certificate valid for?

      After you have passed, your test certificate will remain valid for 2 years after the date that you passed. You should use it within this time to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

      If you lose your certificate, you can request a replacement to be sent to your home address, however, this will incur an additional cost.

      If you are planning to apply for British citizenship after ILR, you may not have to retake the test again to prove your English language knowledge.

      How can IAS help?

      Taking an English language test can seem daunting. Here at IAS, our trained immigration lawyers understand the pressure that test day can bring. If you require guidance on which Home Office-approved English language tests are available to you, you can get in touch with our team today.

      For further guidance call our friendly team of advisors on  0333 305 9375.

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