English Language Ability
All Tier 4 students need to show that they have a certain level of English language ability in order to obtain a Tier 4 visa. The level of English required and how this is assessed is based on what course you will be studying.
What level of English do I need?
If you are studying a course at NQF level 6 (Bachelors degree) or above, then you need to be at level B2. This is equivalent to a score of 5.5 on an IELTS test. For courses below NQF level 6 (such as the International Foundation Programme or English for Academic Purposes) you need to be at level B1. This is a score of 4.0 on an IELTS test.
You need to have this level of English in each of the four components: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
How will my English be assessed?
In most cases you can provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT). A SELT is a list of UKVI approved English tests that can be used as evidence of your English language ability. Check the UKVI list of acceptable tests to see what test you can take and the scores you need for each level.
You must provide a SELT from the approved list to study a course below NQF level 6. For courses at NQF level 6 and above the University can make its own assessment of your ability. This could be an alternative test or a reference letter from a previous university or employer. The Admissions officer dealing with your application will inform you of what documents they may want to see.
What if I am from an English-speaking country?
You automatically meet the English language requirement if you are a national of one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States of America
If you have earned an academic qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors, Masters or PhD in one of the above countries (except Canada), the United Kingdom or Ireland, you will also meet the English language requirement. For qualifications from outside the UK you must also provide original evidence from UK NARIC that proves the qualification is equivalent to its UK counterpart.A statement of comparability can be applied for on the UK NARIC website.
What if I have studied on a Tier 4 (Child) visa?
If you have studied in the UK on a Tier 4 (Child) visa then you will be exempt as long as:
- You successfully completed the course
- The course was at least six months long
- The course was completed no more than two years ago, and
- You were under the age of 18 when your visa was granted
Will UKVI test my English language ability?
As part of your application to study in the UK you will be required to attend a credibility interview. During the interview the Entry Clearance officer will be checking your ability to converse in English. Make sure that you raise any technical issues if you have trouble hearing them during the interview.
Furthermore, officers at the UK border when you arrive could also test your English skills with basic questions about your purpose in the UK.