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New English language requirement for partners

Partner, partners, settlemet 12 November 2010

From 29th November 2010, any migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled here will need to show that they can speak and understand English.

You will need to meet the requirement if:

- you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland; and

- you are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here; and

- you want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as their husband, wife, civil partner, fiance(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

The new requirement was announced on 9 June 2010 by the Home Office Secretary.

What will you need to do?

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to pass an acceptable English language test with one of the UK Border Agency's approved test providers. In the test, you will need to demonstrate a basic command of English (speaking and listening) at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference. This is a basic level, which is judged to require 40 to 50 hours' tuition for most learners. Someone assessed at level A1 can understand and use simple, everyday expressions and very basic phrases. You will not need to demonstrate your reading and writing skills.

When you make your application to the UK Visa Centres overseas, you will need to provide evidence that you have passed the test.

What is a majority English-speaking country?

If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will meet the English language requirement automatically. You will not need to take a test.

The following countries are majority English-speaking countries:

Antigua and Barbuda

Australia

the Bahamas

Barbados

Belize

Canada

Dominica

Grenada

Guyana

Jamaica

New Zealand

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Trinidad and Tobago

the United States of America


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