What English language test can you take for your UK visa?

Migrants, who wish to relocate to the UK, are usually required to show a satisfactory level of English fluency by taking the appropriate test when applying for a particular visa category.  For instance, when applying for an Innovator visa, Start-up visa, Tier 2 (General) visa, Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Student visa, individuals will be assessed in terms of their Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening abilities. However, those who are applying as a Tier 2 (Sportsperson), Representative of an Overseas Business, Partner, Parent, Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) will only be assessed in their Speaking and Listening skills.

Approved test providers and approved tests

Please note that you can only take a secure English language test (SELT) with one of the following providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium (UK or overseas)
  • LanguageCert (UK or overseas)
  • Trinity College London (UK only)
  • Pearson (UK and overseas)
  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd (overseas only)

The approved IELTS SELT Consortium tests are:

  • IELTS for UKVI
  • Life Skills

The approved LanguageCert tests are:

  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (Speaking and Listening)

The approved Trinity College London tests are:

  • Integrated Skills in English (ISE)
  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)

The approved Pearson tests are:

  • Pearson PTE Academic UKVI
  • Pearson PTE Home

The approved PSI Services (UK) Ltd tests are:

  • Skills for English (4 component)
  • Skills for English (2 component)

Approved SELT centres

Migrants can book the qualified English language test via the following official websites:

Please make sure the test that you book is the one approved for SELT:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium: ‘IELTS for UKVI’
  • LanguageCert: ‘LanguageCert International ESOL SELT’
  • Trinity College London: ‘Secure English Language Tests for UKVI’
  • Pearson: ‘PTE Academic UKVI’ or ‘PTE Home’

Prove your identity on the day of the test

Applicants will need to provide evidence of their identity at the test location before they can take the test.

The identity document must:

  • Be current and valid
  • Be an original, not a photocopy
  • Include a photo of you
  • Match the information you gave when you booked the test
  • If your identity document has a signature, this will also be checked.

Please note that the details used to book the test must match the document you provide at the test location. If you have changed your name, you must provide evidence of your previous name.

Acceptable documents

Individuals can use the following documents as identification for tests taken in the UK and outside the UK:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • Biometric Residence Card
  • Convention travel document
  • Stateless persons travel document
  • Travel document issued by the United Nations
  • Travel document issued by the International Red Cross
  • Identity cards of EEA nationals
  • Valid photographic government issued identity cards

Please note that emergency travel documents will NOT be accepted as proof of identity.

If you have changed your name from the one in your identity document, you must provide one of the following:

  • Marriage certificate, with a certified English translation if necessary
  • UK spouse visa (within date) in a passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • Original deed poll change of name document

After the test

Migrants will receive a SELT Unique Reference Number (URN) after they pass the test. They will find their SELT URN on their test result as:

  • ‘UER’ for Trinity College London tests
  • ‘UKVI number’ for IELTS SELT Consortium tests
  • ‘Candidate URN’ for LanguageCert tests
  • ‘SELT URN’ for Pearson tests


Applicants will not need to take an English language test if they:

  • Currently have a Child Student visa
  • Have been awarded an English (language or literature) GCSE, A-Level, Scottish National qualification at level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Scottish Advanced higher in the UK
  • Are from a majority English-speaking country
  • Have previously completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in a majority English-speaking country

Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of UK immigration, please contact our team on 0203 384 3075.


The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.

We remain open for business and can arrange meetings by phone call or video conferencing to advise and assist with any UK immigration matters.
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