Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Language requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and citizenship applications

The requirements

If you are aged 18 to 65 years old and want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British citizenship, you must prove that you meet the

  1. English language requirements and
  2. The Life in the UK test requirements.

You must attend an approved language test centre. A list of approved centres is available at GOV.UK: Approved English Language Tests. 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).

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

If you do not have this please visit GOV.UK: Life in the UK Test to find out:

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

Exemptions for the Life in the UK Test

You are exempt from having to sit the Life in the UK Test if you:

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

In addition to the Life in the UK Test, you must provide evidence of a Secure English language Test certificate at least level B1 from the following providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • Trinity College London
  • Degree certificate from a UK university
  • Degree certificate from a non-UK university that was taught and assessed entirely in English.You must obtain a letter from your university that confirms this. The university letter must accompany the degree certificate or transcript and must then be forwarded to ECCTIS for assessment.  You cannot submit your final application to the Home Office without obtaining a positive ECCTIS assessment.

You must obtain your qualification from a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

You do not need to have an English language qualification if you hold a current passport from one of the listed countries on this page.

  • 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

However, you must still pass the Life in the UK Test.

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


Further 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.

Call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 (option 2) or see contact the advice team to request help via e-mail or live chat.

How to contact us

Call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100.

You can also contact us via Live Chat or email.