Immigration Corner | Is English necessary to apply for citizenship or establishment in the UK? | New


Dear Mr. Bassie,

Please tell me what proof of knowledge of English is required to apply for UK citizenship.

– DR

Dear Dr,

People may be required to prove knowledge of English in order to obtain citizenship and settle in the UK.

People may need to prove their knowledge of the English language if they are 18 years of age or over and are applying for citizenship or moving to the UK.

People can prove this by having either a qualification in English at level B1, B2, C1 or C2, or a qualification taught or sought after in English. They will not be required to prove their knowledge of English in certain circumstances. Please note that an application for citizenship or establishment will be refused if the wrong qualifications accompany it.

Please note that people who are already in the UK may be able to extend their residence permit, so that they can prove their knowledge of English. These individuals should consult their current visa’s online guide for instructions on how to apply for an extension.


People do not need to prove their knowledge of English if they are 65 years of age or older, or are unable to do so due to a long-term physical or mental condition. Persons in the latter category must provide a duly completed exemption form from a physician confirming their physical or mental condition.


People will not need to prove their knowledge of English if they are citizens of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Ireland (for citizenship only), Malta, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.

People from a country that is not on the list will need to prove their knowledge of English, even if English is an official language.


There are no other exemptions for people applying to become a UK citizen. Individuals must have a relevant qualification in English, even if they were exempt when they obtained the settlement.


Please note that people do not need to prove their knowledge of English if they are applying as:

• A victim of domestic violence as a partner or spouse of a UK citizen or a person settled in the UK;

• The partner or spouse of a deceased person who was either a UK citizen or a person established in the UK;

• A dependent adult parent aged 18-64 of a person present and settled in the UK, who is a refugee or who enjoys humanitarian protection;

• A refugee living in the UK;

• Someone living in the UK on discretionary leave;

• Someone living in the UK with humanitarian protection;

• Someone who has permission to remain in the UK as an independent retiree;

• A Commonwealth citizen demobilized from the HM Forces, including the Gurkhas;

• Someone in exceptional circumstances; for example, as an orphan, a widow or an overrun.

Hope this helps.

John S. Bassie is a lawyer / attorney practicing law in Jamaica. He is a Justice of the Peace, Supreme Court Appointed Mediator, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chartered Arbitrator, Global Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). E-mail: [email protected]

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