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UK ILR & Citizenship applications - accepted B1 level Cambridge English exams


Helpdesk Training Article


Information for people applying to the UK Home Office for settlement

If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Naturalisation/Citizenship, the UK Home Office may require you to prove your knowledge of the English language.

You can prove it by having either:

If you need to take an approved English qualification, there are Cambridge English exams that meet this requirement.

For applications made from 12 November 2015 (for citizenship) or 19 November 2015 (for ILR) onwards, only IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Life Skills (Level B1) will be accepted (UK and non-UK). Additionally, you will need to take the exam at a UKVI approved centre. See below for details.

Taking a UKVI recognised English test (UK and non-UK)

If you are applying for ILR/Citizenship, 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:

Exam Minimum grade required Additional information
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for UKVI Band score 4 (Listening and Speaking components at band score 4) You will need to take the exam at a Home Office approved centre.
IELTS Life Skills (Level B1) Pass You will need to take the exam at a Home Office approved centre.

Further details

It is very important that you complete your ILR/Citizenship application carefully, correctly indicating how you satisfy the UKVI's English language requirement.

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.

Which exam should I take?

It's up to you which exam you take, but the IELTS Life Skills (Level B1) test is designed specifically for those applying for visas with B1 level English language requirements. It measures only Speaking and Listening skills (so there are no written test papers) and is the lowest level exam we offer which is accepted by the Home Office for these purposes. Results are normally released around 6 days after the exam date.

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 exactly the same as our regular IELTS test, but is the only version approved for UKVI purposes, and is only available at test centres selected by the UK government.

How do I enter for an exam?

If you wish to enter for one of our exams, you will need to register with an authorised examination centre.

You can search for Home Office approved IELTS/IELTS Life Skills centres, and register to take a test, on the IELTS website. You can also find test dates and entry fee information on this site.

Please note that all Cambridge English exams have to be taken under supervised conditions. They cannot be taken over the internet or on the telephone, so if there are no centres near you, you will need to travel in order to take your exam.

Can I use an old B1 level qualification if I am already in the UK on a visa?

Some recognised test qualifications, such as IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills, only last for 2 years. The Home Office have advised that you may still be able to use a B1 level qualification that you took more than 2 years ago in the two situations listed below.

Applying for citizenship
You can use a B1 level qualification taken more than 2 years ago if you are applying for citizenship and the qualification was accepted when you settled in the UK.

Applying to settle in the UK
You can use a B1 level qualification taken more than 2 years ago if you are applying to settle in the UK and the qualification was accepted for another UK immigration application, e.g. when you got permission to enter.

This information was taken from the website. You will need to contact the Home Office directly if you have any questions about your visa application .

If you need to take the Life in the UK test, this is arranged directly with the Home Office. Please speak to them to arrange your test, or to find out if you are exempt. Cambridge English Language Assessment cannot advise you on the Life in the UK test.

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