Marriage Visa Help has been careful to keep up to date with the changing regulations and requirements as defined by the UKBA requirements for fiancees, spouses and partners of British citizens and permanent residents applying for a UK settlement visa to live and work in the UK. There has been a further official UKBA update to clarify the new English language requirement, which is due to come into effect on November 29, 2010.
Although we have been expecting this update for some time, with such a highly-regulated industry where understanding the intricacies of the UK marriage visa application process is the difference between being together with your loved ones or apart, it is imperative that we understand the implications of the recent UKBA decision.
In order to gain entry to the UK through a UK fiancee / fiance visa, proposed civil partner visa, marriage visa, de facto (unmarried) partner visa, the applicant must, as of November 29, 2010, be able to prove a basic level of both written and spoken English. This reflects a cornerstone of the new coalition Government, as only immigrants that are able to communicate in English will qualify for a UK settlement visa under the new UKBA visa requirements.
Any applicant that is not from an English-speaking country will be expected to pass the English language test as set out by the UK Border Agency. It has been outlined by the immigration authorities that the test will include speaking and listening requirements, with the guidelines stating that, in order to reach an acceptable standard that can be assumed to pass, around 40 – 50 hours of tuition will be required. Simple everyday phases and common sentences will be part of the test.
The cost of the tuition and the test must be borne by the applicant and it is thought that the cost of the test itself is likely to vary greatly depending on the test provider and the country in which the test is taken. There is a table of accepted test providers available on the UK Border Agency website.
It should be noted that the new English language requirement applies to offshore and in-country applicants seeking to obtain a UK settlement visa from overseas or permission to stay in the UK based on marriage to a British citizen or permanent resident (further leave to remain or FLRm applications). In-country applicants who fail to meet the new English language requirement will be refused permission to stay in the UK and may be required to return to their home country.
If you are not from the EU or an officially English-speaking country, which includes Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados and some other countries, it is possible to avoid the new English language test if your UK fiancee / fiance visa, spouse visa, partner visa, or UK dependant visa is applied for in plenty of time prior to the 29th November 2010 date.