Since 2005, applicants seeking to obtain British citizenship have had to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement. This requirement was then extended in 2007 to those who were applying for settlement (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain). This requirement was met by the applicant by either taking the Life in the UK test or by obtaining an ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) qualification. However, from 28 October 2013, this requirement is set to change significantly.
From 28 October 2013, applicants for naturalisation or settlement will have to:
- Pass the Life in the UK test
- Pass and obtain at least B1 CEFR or higher in English in both speaking and listening.
There will therefore be two distinct parts to the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement: the Life in the UK test and an English language qualification of at least level B1 CEFR in speaking and listening.
The actual Life in the UK test has not been altered and remains a computer-based multiple choice test. With respect to the English language qualification required, there are a range of options available to potential applicants. The following qualifications will be considered acceptable, namely:
- Qualifications from the Secure English Language Test list;
- ESOL qualifications from institutions regulated by Ofqual; or
- A national qualification in ESOL at SCQF levels 4, 5 or 6.
There are also options available to those who have a degree that was taught in English, are nationals of majority English speaking countries or have already previously met this requirement through a previous grant of leave. There are also exemptions to the requirement but these will depend upon your personal circumstances (such as age, physical and mental condition).
For further information regarding the new English language requirement for settlement and naturalisation applications or for assistance with preparing an application for settlement or naturalisation, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.