Find your nearest approved
English language test

When applying for a UK visa or citizenship application, you may be required to demonstrate that you can speak English to an acceptable standard by taking a secure English language test (SELT).

Many immigration routes under the points-based system, including the Skilled Worker route, require applicants to prove their knowledge of English in order to score enough points to qualify for the visa.

Now that EU citizens seeking to enter the UK are subject to the same immigration rules as non-EU citizens, the English language testing requirement could represent an additional hurdle they must overcome in order to secure the necessary permission.

To add another layer of complexity, the Home Office will only accept English language test results if the test has been taken at an approved centre. The Home Office keeps a list of approved test centres in the UK and overseas that are run by approved providers.

Approved English language test centres

Your English language test must be taken with a provider that has been approved by the Home Office. Currently, approved providers include:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • Trinity College London (for applicants in the UK)
  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd (for applicants outside of the UK)

The Home Office list of approved test centres is kept up to date as new centres become available. However, applicants should be aware that some centres are subject to temporary closures due to Coronavirus. If your nearest centre is unavailable, you are advised to find an alternative centre on the list and book an appointment there instead.

To find out if your nearest centre is open and to book a test, you will need to check the SELT provider’s website.

Postcode lottery

Depending on where you live, you may be required to travel to another city or even cross borders into a different country in order to take a test at an approved centre from the list.

For example, if you live in France there are only seven approved centres in the country, five of which are in Paris. And it is a similar story in Italy, which has just five approved centres on the list, four of which are in the capital. Or if you live in Austria, but outside of Vienna, you would need to travel to the capital city or potentially cross the border into a neighbouring country in order to take a test.

The English language test is a crucial part of your application, therefore you will need to factor in any travel and associated expenses when planning your application timeline.

Who doesn’t need to take a test?

Under the Skilled Worker route, you do not need to prove you knowledge of English if you are a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives and vets do not need to prove their knowledge of English if they have already passed an English language assessment that is accepted by the relevant regulated professional body. You may also be able to satisfy the English language requirement under the Skilled Worker route without taking a SELT if you have:

  • A GCSE, A-level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English which was gained through study at a UK school that began when you were under 18
  • A degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English. If you studied abroad, you will need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

Support with your UK visa application

If you have questions about the English language testing requirements or need any other support with your visa application, Smith Stone Walters would be delighted to help.

To speak to an immigration advisor, please call 0208 461 6660 or email

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