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Index >> Working Visas in the UK >> Skilled Work Permit >> Tier 2 Visa English Language Requirements >&g back button

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Skilled Work Permit

Tier 2 English Language Requirements

To gain entry into the UK under many of the Tier 2 visa categories you must meet the English Language Requirement. You can do this by

  • Taking an English language test.

  • Coming from a majority English-speaking country. A list of these countries can be found below.

  • Having a university degree taught in English.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening;

  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree;

  • you may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways or need a higher level of English in some circumstances. 

Taking an English Language Test

If you are applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa you must speak English to level B1 of the Common European Frame of Reference (CEFR), also known as the 'threshold' or intermediate level. You must be able to

  • Understand the main points of clearly-spoken, standard speech about matters that you experience frequently at work.

  • Deal with most situations likely to arise as you travel around the UK.

  • Write 'simple connected text' and express yourself.

  • Describe your hopes, fears, dreams and plans to others.

If you are applying for a Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa and will be in the UK for less than three years, you are exempt from the English language requirement. If you are applying for a Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa that will extend your stay in the UK beyond three years or a Tier 2 (Sportsman) visa you must speak English to level A1 of the CEFR – also known as the 'breakthrough' or beginner level English. You must be able to

  • Understand and use familiar everyday expressions about basic needs.

  • Take part in basic conversations about where the person you are talking to lives, who they know etc.

  • Interact in a 'simple way' providing the person you are talking to speaks slowly.

If you are applying for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa, you will have to speak English to level B2 of the CEFR, also known as the 'vintage' or upper intermediate level. You must be able to:

  • Understand abstract conversations and technical discussions.

  • Interact easily with native English speakers.

  • Write clearly and in detail.

Where to take the test

If you have to take an English language test, you must take the test with an English school approved by the UK Border Agency.

What to do next

You must take the test and then send your original certificate of proficiency with your application. It must contain your name, the school's name, your level of proficiency and the date of your test.

Coming from a country where English is spoken

List of majority English-speaking countries:

  • Antigua & Barbuda.

  • Australia.

  • The Bahamas.

  • Barbados.

  • Belize.

  • Dominica.

  • Grenada.

  • Guyana.

  • Jamaica.

  • New Zealand.

  • St Kitts & Nevis.

  • St Lucia.

  • St Vincent & the Grenadines.

  • Trinidad & Tobago.

  • The USA.

Having a degree taught in English

In order to qualify, you must hold a suitable degree. In order to be acceptable as proof of English ability, your degree must:

  • be equivalent to a UK Bachelor's level or higher;

  • have been taught or researched in English. N.B. If the degree was taken in one of the majority English-speaking countries listed above, then it will be assumed that it was taught in English.

You must send your original degree certificate with your application. If you have lost this, the original copy of a letter from the university you attended on official, headed paper would suffice.

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