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Changes to the English Language Requirement for the Family Route

In 2016 the Government announced that individuals in the UK on a visa under the 5 year family route (spouse visas and those granted visas on the basis of children) and applying to extend their stay, will now have to do a further English language test at a slightly higher level to prove that they have maintained and improved their level of English. One of our Immigration Solicitors, Melissa Southall, outlines the changes below.

When making an extension application, individuals will need to pass a speaking and listening test at level A2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)  in order to qualify for further leave to remain on the five-year partner or parent route to settlement. The test will cost £150.

This change will come into force from 1st May 2017, so anyone whose visa expires after that date will need to have taken and passed the new Level A2 exam with an approved provider. It should be noted that the Home Office now only accept qualifications from either Trinity College London or IELTS SELT Consortium. For information on approved English language providers click here.

However, if an individual passed an approved exam at Level A2 or above in their initial application then the Home Office state that they can continue to rely on that certificate, if:

  • the applicant has had continuous leave as a partner or parent since the Home Office accepted that test result as valid; 
  • the Home Office has no reasonable case to doubt the test result was genuinely obtained; and 
  • the test result has not been withdrawn by the provider 

Furthermore, individuals will still be able to rely on relevant Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees taught in English. 

The same exemptions as for the current English language requirements will continue to apply to the Level A2, namely on the basis of age, disability or in exceptional circumstances. 

If you would like further information or need assistance with you visa extension application then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our immigration team on 0808 168 5550 or email


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