Dear UK Border Agency,
I would like to know that how do you decide that applicant has fulfilled English language requirement on spouse settlement visa. If applicant have got less than 4 band in reading and in all the other areas (writing, listening and speaking)over 4 and also overall band is over 4 band. would you consider that applicant has fulfilled the English requirement or does he/she have to have 4 bands across in all categories?
The reason for asking this question is I have been hearing some people with less than 4 band in one area gets visa and some people don't. So I would like to know how do you decide which one have fulfilled the requirement.
hope to hear back from you soon.
Thank you for your query.
Information can be found regarding the English language requirement for partners at the following location on the UK Border Agency website:
From 29 November 2010, any migrant applying to enter the UK or applying to remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled here will
need to show that they can speak and understand English.
An applicant will need to meet the requirement if they are:
(i) a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and
(ii) in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here; and
(iii) applying as that person’s husband, wife, civil partner, fiance(e),
proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.
Most applicants will meet the requirement by passing an English test and supplying a test certificate with their visa application or application for leave to remain.
The test is at Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) speaking and listening, which is a basic level. Some qualifications contain speaking, listening, reading and writing components however for the English language requirement you need only provide evidence of meeting passing an approved test, to the approved level in speaking and listening.
From 18 July 2011, only tests on the new list can be used to demonstrate your English language ability as part of a spouse or partner application.
Any test that is on our new list of approved English language tests (PDF 253KB opens in a new window) is acceptable to demonstrate your English
The list of approved providers can be found at the following link:
You must provide evidence of passing an approved test at an approved level as set out in the list above. You indicate that you are aware that some people have passed a test at a level higher than the required A1 level but have been refused. Without specific details of these cases it may be that they have not provided evidence of a approved test on the list above and that the level they provided was also not specified on the list above. For example the 2nd test listed "Cambridge English: Preliminary (also known as Preliminary English Test)" which is awarded by Cambridge ESOL is approved from level A2 and above. If a person provided evidence of an A1 qualification in this test it would not be accepted by UKBA as it has not an approved test.
I hope this has answered your query.
Settlement Operational Policy
Please direct all queries to Settlement [email address]
Dear Settlement Ops Policy Mailbox,
thanks for your quick response and sorry to trouble you again. I got overall idea now. but still I am confused on IELTS case. As when I read on the link you sent, it says that Applicant have to have 4 bands across listening, speaking, reading and writing. But does UK border agency only check for listening and speaking above 4 bands on IELTS?? and if applicant got say for example 3.5 on reading or writing, will he/she will still fulfill the language requirement?? I hope I explained my question properly.
Wait for your reply.
Thank you for your e-mail, you do not need to re-send your enquiry or reply to
This is the Settlement Operational Policy Mailbox which is for enquiries
about family or settlement policy. We aim to respond to external enquires
within 10 working days.
Please note we are not able to answer general enquiries, give advice on an
individual’s particular situation or provide progress updates on
applications. If your enquiry is on one of these matters you will not
receive a response and you should contact the Immigration Enquiry Bureau
(IEB) on: 0870 606 7766.
You may also find important information, including application forms and
guidance notes, on our website: www.ukba.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Please also see the following Frequently Asked Questions
If we feel that these provide an answer to your enquiry, we will not send a
Employment Routes: Continuous Residence
Q. I received my grant of leave but delayed my entry to the UK, when does
my 5 year continuous period for settlement (ILR) start?
A. Provided the delay was no longer than 90 days from the date leave was
granted your 5 year continuous period for ILR can start from your entry
For example, if you were given permission to come to the UK on 1 October
2007 but didn’t enter the UK until 1 December 2007, you may qualify for
settlement from 1 October 2012.
Q. If I delayed my entry to the UK by less than 90 days, can I still apply
at a PEO 28 days before my leave expires?
Q. I have been absent from the UK for paid annual holidays, and to attend
a number of business meetings, have I broken my 5 year continuous period
A. Provided no single absence was greater than 90 days, and your total
absences did not exceed 180 days over the 5 year period, you will not have
broken the continuous period for ILR.
Q. I have been absent from the UK on business trips and have exceeded the
180 day limit over the 5 years. Have I broken my continuous period?
A. Yes, but we may disregard such absence where we can be assured that
there would have been serious implications for the business if the travel
had not been undertaken.
Please also see the following link to the Continuous Residence guidance on
Long Residence (10 Years): Continuous Residence
Q. I have previously made an application for further leave to remain 7
days after my original leave expired. Will my residence in the UK be
deemed as legally continuous?
A. A single period of 10 days or less with no valid leave to remain in the
UK will be disregarded and so for these purposes your legal leave shall be
deemed to have been continuous.
We will also allow your ILR application to be submitted up to 28 days
after your last period of further leave expires.
Family Members: Continuous Residence
Q. I need to meet a qualifying period before applying for settlement
(ILR). When does this period begin?
A. If you entered the route overseas, the qualifying period will begin
when you arrive in the UK. If you ‘switched’ into the route within the UK,
the qualifying period begins on the date you were granted leave.
Family Members – Transitional Arrangements
Q. I was granted leave onto the Family route before the Rules change on 9
July 2012. Do I need to meet the new Rules at my next application?
A. No, anyone granted leave on the basis of the Rules in place before 9
July 2012 will need to meet those Rules when applying for further leave or
settlement. Please see our website:
English Language requirement for Leave to Remain as a Family Member
Q. Do I need to meet the English Language requirement?
A. You will need to meet the requirement if you are applying for Entry
Clearance or Leave to remain as a Partner or as a Parent of a person
settled in the UK.
Q. What can I do to meet this requirement?
A. You can meet the requirement in one of the following ways:
· by passing an acceptable test at a minimum level A1 of the Common
European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) with an approved
· by being a national of a majority English speaking country, or
o by having an academic qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s or
Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English.
Further information is available on our website:
Q. Is this the same as the Knowledge of Language (KOL) requirement at
Settlement and Citizenship?
A. No, this is a separate requirement and asks for a different level of
English. Unlike KOL, you cannot use the Life in the UK test to meet this
Dependants of Points Based System (PBS) Migrants
Q. I am the dependant of a PBS Migrant who has now become settled in the
UK. Do I need to switch into the ‘Partner of a Settled Person’ category?
A. This will depend on how the PBS Migrant applied for settlement. If they
were granted on the basis of being a PBS Migrant (under Tier 1 or Tier 2)
then you will not need to switch and you can apply for an extension as a
PBS dependant until you meet the requirements for settlement yourself.
If the PBS Migrant applied for settlement under the Long Residency
provision, then you can no longer be considered as a PBS Dependant and you
must apply for Leave to Remain as the ‘Partner of a Settled Person’ on
application form FLR(M).
Q. I have had to switch into the ‘Partner of a Settled Person’ category;
do I begin my qualifying period again?
A. No, you can combine leave as a PBS dependant with leave as the partner
of a settled person to meet the qualifying period.
Q If I have leave as a PBS dependant, what form do I use when I apply for
A Form SET(O)
Q If I have leave as a Partner of a Settled Person what form do I use when
I apply for settlement?
A Form SET(M)
Criminality Requirement for Settlement
Please see the following link to our website for the current guidance on
the Criminality requirement for settlement:
We are not responsible for this Policy but, if necessary because the
answer is not included in the above guidance, we will contact the relevant
department to provide you with a response.
Requests to Return Your Documents or to Withdraw/Expedite a Case
Please note, this is not the correct address for these enquiries and you
should contact IEB on the number above or the relevant casework
department. We will forward any enquiries we do receive to the correct
department but we will not provide an individual response.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.
The short answer to your query is yes – your understanding is correct.
I have copied my earlier advice below and highlighted sections which may
clarify your query:
The test is at Level A1 of the Common European Framework of
Reference (CEFR) speaking and listening, which is a basic level.
Some qualifications contain speaking, listening, reading and
writing components however for the English language requirement you
need only provide evidence of meeting passing an approved test, to
the approved level in speaking and listening.
In regards specifically to IELTS, from the table of approved providers you
will see that the lowest level of IELTS accepted by the UKBA as an
approved test is level 4. An applicant wishing to rely on an IELTS
qualification would therefore have to provide evidence that they have
obtained this qualification and have passed the speaking and listening
components at level 4.
For clarity, even though a person may be required to sit all four
components of an IELTS test, they would meet the English language
requirement by gaining a score of a minimum of level 4 in speaking and
listening only even if they failed the reading and writing components and
overall their final score was less than 4.
I.e Reading – 1.5
Writing – 1.0
Speaking - 4.0
Listening – 4.0
Overall IELTS score – 2.5
The applicant is able to demonstrate they scored level 4 for speaking and
listening in an approved test by an approved provider therefore an
applicant could use such results to meet the English qualification for
The list contains approved providers for the English requirement for
partners of settled persons but also for those entering on work routes.
Applicants in work routes must pass all four components’ whereas those
applying as a partner of a settled person need only provide evidence of
passing the speaking and listening components.
I hope this clarifies the position.
Settlement Operational Policy