People who are living abroad often face problems in reuniting with their families because in foreign countries a consistent slew of restrictions are imposed regarding different aspects that include English language skills too.

English is a global language which is why foreign nations emphasize English language tests for spouse visas especially because if you cannot speak English then you will face problems in communication and cannot connect to people or make any relations with people out there.

Several English language tests are designed to improve the linguistic competence that is crucial in the UK. The language test is the initial step in your application process as you have to attach a document that proves that you have passed the language test.

Once you enter a foreign country you will understand the value of the English language test that you have taken because without that your stay in the UK would be difficult.

English Language Test for Spouse Visa

Before 2010, there was no need for any English language exam for calling your spouse to the UK. It was implemented on November 29, 2010, by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which implies that people who are married to UK nationals must be efficient in GESE Grade 2 level of English.

The GESE (Graded Examination in Spoken English) is the assessment in which the speaking of an individual is tested. It tests an individual’s basic skill to speak and comprehend an average level of English that is required to understand simple conversation in everyday situations.

The pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and fluency are tested to ensure that the person can live in the UK with confidence and ease. The UKBA examines the individual according to their confidence level which is the key component. According to the test, they decide whether this person is eligible to cope with the everyday situation in the UK. If you are found ineligible then you will be obliged to take an English language test that caters to approve your spouse’s visa application.

Types of English Language Tests for Spouse Visa

If you are applying for a spouse visa then it is mandatory for you to take an English language test to show your proficiency in English. There are several tests and each test has its criteria and format so have a look at the following English language tests for spouse visas:

  1. IELTS (International English Language Testing System: IELTS is a famous test that is conducted in a lot of countries and it is widely known for the proficiency of English. IELTS is mainly based on four basic skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading) but for spouse visas only speaking and listening skills will be evaluated. The scoring for the initial application of each section is between 0 to 9 with which 4 is the minimum score that will equate to an average of A1 on the CEFR (Common European Framework). For the extension application, the score varies as you have to obtain 5.5 marks which will equate to an A2 level of English. For the speaking and listening test, the time won’t be too long because to evaluate an individual minimum time is required. For speaking 11 to 14 minutes will be taken and for listening 30 minutes of test will be taken. IELTS score remains valid for the duration of 2 years so make sure that you apply for the spouse visa within the period of 2 years.
  2. PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) for Spouse Visa: The PTE Academic test is perfect for evaluating your English language skills. This test is more convenient because it is a computer-based test that feels comfortable for the majority of people as it takes less time than usual. Also, you will get the result within 48 years which will ease your tension and allow you to move towards the next step. This test is also based on 4 language skills but for spouse visa application only speaking and listening skills will be assessed. The score for this test lies between 10 to 90 and for initial application, you need to secure at least 30 marks. For the extension application, you need 59 marks which will equate to A2 proficiency in speaking and listening. The time duration for PTE would be longer than IELTS because for speaking 30 to 45 minutes will be needed and for listening 45 minutes to 1 hour time will be required. It is advised to prepare yourself with thorough research and not let any area of the test be unknown. 
  3. LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Secure English Language Test): LanguageCert is also a widely known English language test for spouse visas. Like the above-mentioned tests, it also focuses mainly on the speaking and listening skills of an individual. This test satisfies the UK’s visa and immigration criteria. Not just UK, many other countries accept LanguageCert International ESOL SELT for spouse visa application. The scoring of this test is based on the scoring scale of A1 and A2 which is aligned by the CEFR. For the initial application, you must be on the level of A1 which is the basic level of CEFR but for the extension application, your level must be A2 which is the upper level of English competency on the CEFR scoring scale. For a speaking test, an examiner will communicate with you if you have to be confident in your skills. The examiner will ask you certain questions regarding different things including yourself as well. For the listening test, you will listen to some audio on different topics and then answer multiple-choice questions based on short answers and other mindful activities on the audio.

Requirement for English Language Test for Spouse Visa

The English language test is based on the level of proficiency you possess. For a spouse visa you need to pass the test here are the general requirements:

Basic Requirements for Spouse Visa


  1. Are all English language tests accepted for a spouse visa in the UK?

Different countries have different criteria according to which not every test is accepted in the UK. Certain tests are IELT. PTE, LanguageCert, GESE, Trinity College London ISE, etc, are commonly accepted in many countries and the UK as well. The main reason for not accepting every test is that for spouses visa speaking and listening are the major focused skills which is why these tests are accepted.

  1. What are the exemptions for taking the English Language test?

There are two major exemptions for the English language test. The first one is that if you are a citizen of a country where English is the primary language then you are exempt from taking the test. Secondly, if you have completed your education in English speaking institute then there is no need to take the test. 

  1. What if I fail the test?

Most commonly people who do not focus on the course material fail the test. The only way to pass the test is to do thorough research and prepare yourself for the exam.