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If you are a non-European migrant wanting to enter or extend your stay in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person already settled in the UK, you must now show that you can speak and understand English at an acceptable level.

Union jack speech bubble

You must meet this requirement if:

  1. You are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland,
  2. You are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here, and
  3. You want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as that person's husband, wife, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

The requirement applies to applications for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain and further leave to remain.

Please note that this does not apply to indefinite leave to remain or citizenship applications, where the existing Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement applies instead.

In order to meet the English language requirement, you must show one of the following:

  • That you are a national of a majority English-speaking country,
  • That you have passed an English language test approved by UKBA, or
  • That you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree or above.

Evidence needed:

To show that you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to submit your current original passport or travel document.

To show that you have passed the English language test, you must submit with your application, your original test result certificate showing your name, the qualification and the date it was received as well as the UKBA-approved test centre.

To show that you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree, you must submit the original academic certificate on the institute’s official letterhead, showing your name, the title of the degree and the date it was obtained.

Exemptions to English language requirements:

There are certain exceptional circumstances where you do not need to meet the UK's English Language Test requirement. You will need to provide evidence of one of the following to qualify for exemption:

  • That you are aged 65 or over when you make your application,
  • That you have a physical or mental condition which would prevent you from meeting the requirement, or
  • That there are exceptional compassionate circumstances which would prevent you from meeting the requirement.

For any help or advice regarding UK visas, please visit our visas section

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