The English Language Requirement for UK Family and Partner Visa

The English Language Requirement for UK Family and Partner Visas. Image Credit: AdobeStock

The English Language Requirement for UK Family and Partner Visas

(Partner Content) The UK Immigration rules require that certain immigration routes must fulfil an English Language requirement.

The English Language Requirement for UK Family and Partner Visa

The English Language Requirement for UK Family and Partner Visas. Image Credit: AdobeStock

In this post, Breytenbachs specifically discuss the requirements that applicants have to meet for some UK family and partner visa applications. 

Family Visa routes and the English Language Requirement 

Persons applying as a fiancé(e), proposed civil partners, civil partners, spouses, unmarried partners and same-sex partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK must fulfil an English Language Requirement. The same requirement applies to persons applying as the parent of a child in the UK. Partners of members of the HM Forces who are British citizens or have settled status also have to fulfil the English Language Requirement. 

How to fulfil the English Language Requirement 

Applicants can fulfil the English Language requirement in several ways:

  • You have to pass a test at or above the required Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level with an approved provider; or  
  • You are a national of a majority English speaking country; or 
  • Have an academic qualification (Bachelor, Master’s or PhD) awarded in the UK; or 
  • You have a similar academic qualification awarded outside the UK. It is deemed by Ecctis (previously known as UK NARIC) to meet or exceed the UK standard and was taught in English at or above the CEFR level. 

Many South Africans think that they automatically fulfil the English language requirement as they are from a majority English speaking country or because their mother tongue is English. Unfortunately, the Home Office does not recognise South Africa as a majority English speaking country, and South Africans have to meet the English language requirement in one of the other ways. 

We strongly advise that visa applicants who need to sit an English language test speak to a Breytenbach consultant to ensure they sit the English test at the correct level from an approved provider. The Home Office will not accept tests results from providers that are not approved by them or not at the correct level. 

Exemptions from the English Language Requirement 

The Home Office exempt certain categories of persons from the English Language Requirement. This include: 

  • Applicants that are 65 years or older at the date of the UK visa application; 
  • Applicants who have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from meeting the requirement; 
  • Or in cases where exceptional circumstances are preventing a person from meeting the requirement. In such cases, we strongly recommend that you seek advice from a Breytenbachs consultant

How Breytenbachs can help you 

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have offices in London, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. If you want to apply for a UK visa, please contact us to assess your circumstances and advise accordingly. You can email us at or visit Our consultants can assist with all UK immigration matters, visas, permits, including appeals and reviews. 

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.