Cambridge English exams accepted by the UKVI for family visa applications
If you need to take an approved English qualification as part of your UK family visa application, you can choose a Cambridge English exam.
The guidance in this article is from the GOV.UK website. If you are in any doubt regarding whether the Home Office will accept an exam that you have taken, or you have any questions about completing your application, you should speak to them directly.
If you are applying for a family visa, and intend to satisfy the UKVI requirements by taking one of the UKVI's recognised English tests and qualifications, the following Cambridge English exams are acceptable:
Minimum grade required
You must pass at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale for your first visa application.
IELTS Life Skills
(Level A1, A2 or B1)
IELTS for UKVI
Bandscore 4.0 or above
in the Speaking and Listening papers.
There are exemptions that mean some applicants may not need to prove their knowledge of English or take a test. Please contact the Home Office directly, or visit the GOV.UK website, for further information regarding this.
If you want to settle permanently in the UK within 5 years
You may have to pass a higher CEFR level if you want to stay in the UK after 2.5 years. What you need to do depends on what CEFR level you passed for your first visa.
According to the GOV.UK guidance, if you passed:
- level A1, you’ll need to pass level A2 in speaking and listening
- level A2, B1, B2, C1 or C2, you can use the test again for your application if it’s still on the list of approved English language tests
If you were given an exemption, you’ll need to pass a test at level A1.
Which exam should I take?
It's up to you which exam you take, but the IELTS Life Skills Level A1 and A2 tests are designed specifically for those applying for visas with A1 and A2 level English language requirements. They measure only Speaking and Listening skills (so there are no written test papers) and are the lowest level exams we offer which are accepted by the Home Office for these purposes.
Alternatively, you can take IELTS for UKVI, which assesses all four language skills. It's important to make sure you take IELTS for UKVI rather than our regular IELTS test. IELTS for UKVI is the only version approved for UKVI purposes, and is only available at test centres selected by the UK government.
How do I register for an exam?
You will need to take one of these tests at an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) centre. You can find a list of these centres on the IELTS website. Select the option for IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills and then choose the country where you would like to take the test from the drop-down menu. You will need to follow the steps online to register using the secure booking system.
Test dates and registration fees for IELTS Life Skills and IELTS for UKVI are fixed and are listed when you register. You will need to contact your chosen test centre directly if you have any further questions.
Please note that all Cambridge English tests must be taken under supervised conditions; they cannot be taken over the internet or on the telephone. If there are no centres near you, you will need to travel to take your test.
When will I get my results?
Results for IELTS Life Skills are normally released within 7 days of the test date.
Results for IELTS for UKVI are normally released around 13 days after the exam date.
You can find further information regarding family visa applications on the UKVI website.
You will need to contact the Home Office directly if you have any questions about your visa application.
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