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English language requirements for ILR and citizenship

The requirements

If you are aged 18 to 65 years old and want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship, you must prove that you meet the English language and life in the UK test requirements. 

To do this you must attend an approved language test centre. A list of approved centres is available on Any qualifications issued by a test centre that is not on the approved list will not be accepted.

You will need to pass both the ‘Life in the UK test and also have an English language qualification. (Unless you are exempt)

Life in the UK test

You will need to submit a Life in the UK test pass notification letter.

If you do not have this please visit to find out:

  • how to book a test
  • how to prepare for the test
  • the cost of the test.

Evidence of English language

You will also need to provide evidence of a Secure English language Test certificate at least level B1, for example:

  • Integrated Skills in English certificate
  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English certificate
  • IELTS Life Skills certificate
  • IELTS certificate
  • Degree certificate from a UK university.


You do not need to have an English language qualification if you hold a current passport from one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland (for citizenship only)
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Or if you hold one of the following qualifications in English:

  • UK degree
  • non-UK degree certified by NARIC to be equal to a UK degree
  • a Secure English Language Test (for example: Integrated Skills in English certificate, Graded Examinations in Spoken English certificate, IELTS Life Skills certificate, IELTS certificate).

Exemptions may also apply if you can prove:

  • you are under 18 or over 65
  • you have a significant mental condition
  • you have a significant long-term physical condition.


If your qualifications are not listed you will need to take an English test that is at least at level B1 CEFR. You can take the following tests:

  • Integrated Skills in English certificate
  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English certificate
  • IELTS Life Skills certificate
  • IELTS certificate

You can contact a provider to book the test:

Expired IELTs certificates

You may still be able to use this if it has been used in the past, for example, with your last leave to remain application or previous Indefinite Leave to Remain application (and it’s at level B1).

RCN support

The RCN Immigration Advice Service can provide advice about particular difficulties you are experiencing providing key documentation to show you meet the English requirements.

If you would like further assistance, please contact us. You will need to provide us with your membership number and details of your current immigration status.