Most school English exams. are not accepted by the UK Border Agency as proof of English language ability. Proving your English language ability is part of the visa assessment process.
You can read more about the visa assessment process in Visa and Immigration Advice.
It does not matter if you were taught in English, or if English is your first language. You must hold one of the accepted certificates when you apply for a visa, as proof of your English ability.
The UK Border Agency will only accept an English certificate that shows you were tested and scored in FOUR skills separately: • Speaking • Writing • Listening • Reading
Click here to see a list of tests that the UK Border Agency will accept.
If your English certificate is not listed above, book a test date now using the information below to help you. It can take several weeks to book a test date, sit the test and receive a certificate. Every year, applicants are unable to start their course because they did not arrange this in good time.
The UK Border Agency does not ask you to take a test if:
- You are applying for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa
- You are a national of one of the ‘majority English-speaking countries’
However, we may still ask you to take a test, even if the UK Border Agency does not. We want to ensure that you can complete your course successfully.
- Your test scores must meet Leeds City College entry requirements. (See Courses.)
- Test results are valid for two years for visa applications.
- The minimum test level accepted is B1. For a Top Up course, you must be at level B2.
- ‘Majority English-speaking countries’:
Antigua and Barbuda • Australia • 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
Some Cambridge IGCSE English certificates are accepted with visa applications. You must have been tested separately in each of the four skills: • Speaking • Writing • Listening • Reading
If you are able to use your IGSE to apply for a student visa, you must apply for an additional document from Cambridge (see below). It takes four weeks to receive this document.
* You cannot apply for the additional document with exam. results more than three years old.
The Speaking and Listening elements of each IGCSE syllabus are optional. Some people complete only the Reading and Writing tests: in this case, the certificate cannot be accepted.
If you completed all four elements, additional information will be shown on your certificate. The following Cambridge IGCSE are accepted, if you have been assessed in all four skill areas:
• English as a First Language (syllabus 0500)
• English as a First Language (syllabus 0522)
• English as a Second Language (syllabus 0510)
• English as a Second Language (syllabus 0511)
- Check with your tutor or the test centre – was your IGCSE exam. one of the above syllabi?
- Were you tested seperately in Speaking and Listening?
If the answer to either question is no, the UK Border Agency will not accept your certificate.
- Applying for the additional document
You must submit TWO separate Cambridge documents as proof of your language skills along with your visa application. You will need:
1) Your Cambridge Certificate of Results
2) A Supplementary Certifying Statement
The UK Border Agency will not award a student visa unless you show both of these original documents to prove your English skills. The Supplementary Statement shows your grades in each of the four skill areas: • Speaking • Writing • Listening • Reading
Cambridge will not send you a Supplementary Certifying Statement (2) before you have your Certificate of Results (1).
Once you have your certificate -
To apply for a Supplementary Certifying Statement, you must print and complete a paper application form and send it by post to Cambridge in the UK.
- It takes approximately four weeks to receive the Statement.
- It currently costs £37.50.
- There is a £30.50 postage charge to send it to you abroad, via courier.
You will find the application form for the Supplementary Certificate in the Cambridge website, right at the end of this page (under the heading ‘Attachments’).
The websites below provide all the information that you need, including test dates and times in your country. You can book your test date from these websites.
These websites offer a lot of information to help you prepare for your test. We suggest that you search for it and use the support on offer. There may be a video showing you what to expect on the test day. They may also offer practice tests.
Sometimes people have good English skills, but they do not perform as well as expected at the test. We advise you to do this research because often, people who are unprepared for the test format do not perform as well as they expect.
IELTS is perhaps the most well-known test.
- Test dates are often fully booked, so be prepared and book early.
- Go to ‘Find an IELTS test’ on the right, to see if IELTS tests are offered in your country.
- You need to book an ‘Academic’ test, not a ‘General’ test.
TOELF is another test brand.
- Make sure you book an iBT test only – a PBT test is not accepted.
- Scroll down to ‘Test Centres and Dates’, then select the same again on the next page.
- Click on the letter to see if TOEFL iBT tests are offered in your country.
Pearson is another test brand.
- Pearson usually return test results within just five days.
- Go to ‘Seat Availability’ on the right, to see if Pearson tests are offered in your country.
- Tick the box to select PTE-A (academic test) before clicking next.