Gov.im uses cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about cookies

Knowledge of Life and Language in the United Kingdom and Islands

Changes to requirements for Knowledge of Life in the UK and Islands

All applicants for indefinite leave to remain and naturalisation as a British citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement, unless they are exempt. 

You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK in three ways:

  1. Passing the Life in the UK test, and either

  2. having a qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which includes assessment of speaking and listening, or

  3. are considered automatically to meet the English language component of the KoLL requirement 

Exemptions 

You may be exempted from the requirement if you are over the age of 65, or have a serious physical or mental condition that would prevent you from meeting this requirement for the foreseeable future. For more information, see the Home Office Exemptions page. 

Qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which includes assessment of speaking and listening

A range of English language qualifications will be accepted as evidence that an applicant has met the B1 level speaking and listening requirements.

These include:

  • Qualifications covering speaking and listening at B1 or above from the Home Office's Secure English Language Test (SELT) list.
  • ESOL qualifications at entry level 3 or level 1 or level 2, including speaking and listening, that have been regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). The qualification must be listed as an ESOL qualification on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications and must have been taken in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • A National Qualification in ESOL at Scottish Qualifications Framework levels 4, 5 or 6, awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and taken in Scotland. 

Applicants considered to automatically meet the English language component of the KoLL requirement 

The following groups are considered automatically to meet the English language component of the KoLL requirement and will not be required to show a formal speaking and listening qualification:

  •  Nationals of majority English speaking countries
  •  Those who have obtained a degree taught in English. 

Both of these groups will, however, be required to pass the Life in the UK test to demonstrate their knowledge of life in the UK. 

Countries accepted as majority English speaking countries 

The Immigration Rules recognise the following as majority English speaking countries: 

Antigua and Barbuda

Guyana

Australia

Jamaica

The Bahamas

New Zealand

Barbados

St Kitts and Nevis

Belize

St Lucia

Canada

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Dominica

Trinidad and Tobago

Grenada

United States of America

We will include the Republic of Ireland for naturalisation purposes. 

However, applicants that automatically meet the language component of the KoLL requirement will still be required to pass the Life in the UK test to demonstrate their knowledge of life in the UK. 

Degree taught in English 

The applicant will meet the language requirement if they have obtained an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification), which is deemed by UK NARIC (the National Recognition Information Centre of the UK) to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor's degree, Masters degree or PhD in the UK from an educational establishment in one of the following countries: 

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • United States of America

and provides the specified documents. 

If the applicant has obtained an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification) from a country not listed above, they must either:

A(1) provide the specified evidence to show he / she has the qualification, and
  (2) UK NARIC has confirmed the degree was taught or researched in English,
or
B(1) provide the specified evidence to show he/she has the qualification, and
  (2) provide evidence that the qualification was taught or researched in English 

What is specified evidence? 

A certificate issued by the relevant institution confirming the award of the academic qualification. Provisional degree certificates are not acceptable. The certificate should show:

  • Applicant's name;
  • The title of award;
  • Date of award; and
  • The name of the awarding institution.

If the applicant no longer has the original certificate and cannot get a new one, they must submit a letter on official headed paper from the awarding academic institution with all of the above details and confirmation that the institution is unable to reissue the original certificate. 

More information can be found on the Home Office website - Knowledge of language and life in the UK guidance.

 

Did you find what you were looking for?
Back to top