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Which English test is required to apply for British Citizenship?

One of the key requirements of obtaining British citizenship is to demonstrate you have the required English skills and that you meet the English proficiency standards put in place by the Home Office.

For more information about British citizenship and making an application reach out to one of our expert immigration advisers for more information. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.


What is the English language requirement?

Anyone wanting to become a British citizen or obtain settled status in the UK must meet a number of requirements and one of these is referred to as the English language requirement. This means that you must be able to show you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and that you are able to read, write, speak and understand a certain level of the language. You will need to submit proof of your English skills when you make your application for British citizenship.

There is more than one way that you can evidence you have the required English level when you apply for British citizenship including:

  • Take and pass an approved English language test – this must be at an approved UK test centre
  • Have a degree that was taught or researched in English
  • Be a national of a majority English speaking country

Which English test allows me to become a British citizen?

If you have not obtained a degree that was taught in English or come from majority English speaking country then you must take a English language test to meet the government immigration requirements.

This test must be a recognised English test and taken at an approved centre. The type of test you must take is known as a Secure English Language Test (SELT).

You can meet the English proficiency language requirement by passing an approved test at either B1, B2, C1 or C2 level.

When you apply for citizenship you will need to provide a copy of your test certificate or the unique reference number that is given to you when you have successfully completed the English test.

Am I exempt from the English test for British citizenship?

Some people are not required to take the English test for British citizenship and you may be exempt. If you are unclear if you need to take the test then you are advised to seek advice before submitting your British citizenship application otherwise you could face lengthy delays or possible refusal.

You are exempt from the English language requirement to become a British citizen if you are over the age of 65, aged below 18 or if you are unable to meet the requirement due to a long-term physical or mental disability – you will need to provide an exemption form completed by a doctor confirming your physical or mental condition and explaining why you are unable to take the test.

You also do not need to sit a language test if you are a citizen of a majority English speaking country. For example if you are a national from countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Ireland, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.

If you already have a degree that meets the English language requirement for British citizenship

You will not need to take the English language test if you have already obtained a degree that was taught in English.

It is important to note that to meet the English language requirement then it must be an academic degree obtained either from a UK university or from a university in an English speaking majority country.

You will need to provide your degree certificate if you studied at a UK-based institution. If it is not a UK degree then you must provide a copy of your degree certificate and Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from Ecctis that explains your degree is equivalent to a UK qualification and an English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) that confirms it was an English taught or research degree.

What does taking the English test involve?

It is advisable to prepare for your English test in advance so that you make the process as worry-free as possible.

Remember you will need to take some form of identification with you on the day of the test. This must be either a valid passport or travel document, a valid EU Identity Card or a current biometric residence card. If you do not take a valid form of ID you will not be allowed to take the test.

Your English test for British citizenship will test you in the key skills of the language – reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The exact format of your test depends on the provider that you have chosen but they tend to follow a similar format.

For example, one of the most popular providers is IELTS. This involves a 30-minute listening test, a 60-minute reading test and a 60-minute writing test all taking on one day. This is then followed up a short speaking test which you can do up to a week after the first tests. In total, the test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes and is a good way to test your speaking and listening abilities.

The Life in the UK Test

As well as the English language requirement, you are required to take the Life in the UK test to ensure you meet the criteria for British citizenship. This is a separate test about life in the UK, with questions about the country’s customs and traditions, history, laws and political system.

Contact us today if you require assistance with your British citizenship application.

How Can IAS Help?

IAS advise and assist many people with their British Citizenship case.

To naturalise in the UK, you must hold ILR, permanent residence or EU Settled Status. At IAS, we can help you with your case.

One of our qualified lawyers will assist you by:

  • checking your supporting documents to ensure that they are enough to support your case;
  • assessing your eligibility for British Citizenship, permanent residence and settled status;
  • liaising with the Home Office until your citizenship or permanent residence status;
  • preparing a Letter of Representation to be submitted alongside your forms;
  • completing each part of your citizenship application form to a high standard;
  • ensuring you are prepared for the ‘Life in the UK’ test; and
  • ensuring you are properly prepared to pass your English language test.

Call 0371 705 3851 or make an enquiry to get expert advice.

We’re here to help with your British Citizenship immigration issue.

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