If you are pursuing UK immigration, depending on what visa you are applying for, you may need to fulfill eligibility requirements relating to the English language. If you are from a country where English is not widely spoken, or if you did not graduate from an English-language university, you may have to demonstrate your English language abilities by taking a language examination and receiving an acceptable score. Many applicants for UK visas (particularly those relating to business or study) take what’s known as the SALT test (Secure English Language Test) in order to fulfill their visa-specific English language requirement. Today’s blog will provide an overview of the SELT test for UK visas and immigration and the various visa applications that require an English language test. Learn how to find an approved test and also discover the answer’s to commonly asked questions about this requirement, including “What is SELT for UK visa applicants?” And, “Is SELT and IELTS the same?” And finally, “Which English test is required for UK visa?” Find these answers—and more—below. 

What is SELT for UK visa?

  • The SELT (Secure English Language Test) is the main test required by applicants for certain UK visas (listed below). 
  • SELT tests have different levels, which are referred to as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 
  • Different visas have different CERF level eligibility requirements for applicants. For example, if you are applying for the UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you will need to achieve a minimum (CEFR) level A1 (in listening and speaking section) in order to fulfill the English language requirement.  

Which English test is required for UK visa?

  • The specific test you must take will depend on your specific visa requirements. Depending on what vis you are applying for, you will either have to take the more comprehensive test covering writing, reading speaking and listening OR the more basic test for listening and speaking. 

UK visas with English language requirements

  • Visa and other status immigration applications that require an English language test include the following: 
    • Citizenship (listening and speaking)
    • Parent (listening and speaking)
    • Partner (listening and speaking)
    • Settlement (listening and speaking)
    • Student (writing, reading speaking and listening)
    • Skilled Worker (writing, reading speaking and listening)
    • Representatives of an Overseas Business (listening and speaking)
    • T2 Minister of Religion (writing, reading speaking and listening)
    • T2 Sportsperson (listening and speaking)
    • Start-up (writing, reading speaking and listening)
    • Innovator (writing, reading speaking and listening)

Exemptions from the language requirement

  • Taking the SELT test for UK visas and immigration is not required for graduates of English language colleges/universities (i.e. those who obtained degrees from English-language educational institutions at the bachelor level). 
  • If you are a national of one of the below countries, you can prove your English language speaking abilities without having to book an English language test, simply by submitting your passport on your visa-application: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA

How to find an approved test

  • Who you can take your test from differs depending on whether or not you are within the country or abroad when you sit for it.
  • You can select from among the below tests at your discretion. Approved tests are those which are offered by the listed entities: 
    • Trinity College London 
    • IELTS SELT Consortium 
      • (Some people ask, “Is SELT and IELTS the same?” As you can see from the list, IELTS is a SELT test provider, rather than a kind of language test)
    • LanguageCert
    • Pearson
  • Please note that applicants who sit for the test while abroad have the option of taking it with PSI Services (UK) Ltd (unlike applicants from within the country), however, abroad-based applicants cannot take it from the above Trinity College London. 
  • If you are abroad, you may have to leave your country of residence in order to find a destination that hosts the SELT exam. 
  • Please note that you must bring official ID to the exam on the day that you take it. You will not be allowed to sit for your test in the event that you fail to present valid and proper photo ID. Make sure that the documents you present on the day of the test match those that you submitted when signing up for the exam (if they do not, you will not be allowed to proceed with your test). Passports, BRPs, and other government-issued IDs are accepted. 
  • Once you take your test, your results will be valid for a maximum of two years until you submit your UK visa application. Therefore, if you take a SELT test but then wait more than two years to apply for a UK visa, you results will be invalidated and you will have to retake the exam. 
  • When you apply for your UK visa, you will attach your individual SELT number (given to all successful test-takers) to your application. 
  • Find and book an English language test by contacting us here.
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