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New English language requirement

For partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK who are applying for entry clearance or leave to remain, the current English language speaking and listening requirement is level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

This requirement was introduced in November 2010. According to the Home Office: ‘The A1 requirement helps to safeguard the economic well-being of the UK by promoting employability and integration and reducing translation costs for public services. It also helps to remove cultural barriers, broaden opportunities and ensure that migrants are equipped to play a full part in British life.’

From 1 May 2017, applicants who have completed two and a half years (30 months) in the UK with leave as a partner or parent under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, and who are applying for further leave to remain in that category, will be required to obtain an approved English language speaking and listening qualification at level A2 or higher.

The exemptions to the requirement apply to those who:

  • Are a national of a majority English-speaking country
  • Hold a degree taught or researched in English
  • Are exempt from the requirement

An applicant will be exempt from the new A2 requirement if at the date of application:

  • They are aged 65 or over
  • They have a disability which prevents them from meeting the requirement
  • There are exceptional circumstances which prevent them from being able to meet the requirement


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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