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English Language Requirements for a UK Family Visa

English language requirements are essential for obtaining most visas in the UK for non EEA nationals. This also applies for those coming to UK through a family route. When you apply for a family visa as a partner or parent, you need to prove your knowledge of the English language. However, English language requirements often change; find out what the language requirements are and how to fulfill them in this guide. You can prove your knowledge of English by taking an English test or with an academic qualification, passing an approved English Language test with the minimum speaking and listening test at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Language) Level A1. Note that you don't need to prove knowledge of English if you are a child or adult who is being cared for by a relative coming to the UK. Recently, the rules for English language requirements have changed in relation to family-route visa extensions. If you applied for a 5-year family visa in the UK and passed an English language test at CEFR A1 level, you will need to apply for an extension under Family Immigration Rules after staying in the UK for an initial 2.5 years. When applying for this extension, you need to pass a speaking and listening test at CEFR Level A2; this is higher level than CEFR level A1. However, not everybody needs to prove English proficiency to CEFR Level A2. This new level does not apply to those applications who are:

  1. Over 65 years of age
  2. Have physical or mental conditions which does not allow them to meet this requirement
  3. Nationals of a majority English speaking country (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA)
  4. Exempt from meeting this requirement
  5. Have degree in English
  6. With exceptional circumstances which prevent them from being able to meet the requirement.
  7. Partners of members of HM Forces.
  8. Partners and have been granted leave under Part 8 of the Immigration Rules and have not yet completed the route to settlement. This is because they have not yet met the B1 English Language and Life in the UK Test requirements for indefinite leave to remain.

If you are not exempt and fail to meet the CEFR level A2 English language requirement for further leave to remain as a partner or parent under the 5-year route to settlement after 2.5 years in the UK, then you must either meet the relevant requirements of Appendix FM or demonstrate exceptional circumstances in order to be granted leave to remain in UK on family or private life grounds under a 10-year route to settlement. If you need any advice or further information on this new English language requirement or making an application under the family route then you can contact us


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.