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English Language Requirements for Spouse Visa

The UK spouse visa requirements are governed by Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. There are numerous requirements, however this blog will only focus on the English language requirement.

The Home Office requires an applicant to possess a good knowledge of English language. An applicant can meet the English language requirement by one of the following:

1. The applicant is a national of a majority English speaking country, namely:

Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; or the United States of America.

2. The applicant has passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a specified minimum level (see below) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Home Office. The level of proficiency will depend on the stage of the spouse visa:

  • Entry clearance – minimum of level A1
  • Leave to remain – minimum of level A2
  • Settlement – minimum of level B1

3. The applicant has an academic qualification which is either a Bachelor’s, Master’s degree or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK.

However, if the applicant gained their qualifications from outside of the UK, the institution must be deemed by a UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK. Importantly, it is required that UK NARIC has confirmed that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or above.

4. The applicant is exempt from the English language requirement if at the date of the application any of the following applies:

  • the applicant is aged 65 or over;
  • the applicant has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or
  • there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK.

The Home Office requires an applicant to possess a good knowledge of English language

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This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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