Prove your English language abilities with a secure English language test (SELT) (2023)

Applications that require an English language test

There are 2 types of test as different immigration routes require different levels of English language ability. The test you will need to take depends on what you are applying for.

For the following application routes, you will need to take a test that assesses your reading, writing, speaking and listening abilities:

  • Innovator
  • Start-up
  • Skilled Worker
  • Minister of Religion
  • Student

For the following application routes, you will need to take a test that assesses your speaking and listening abilities:

  • Sportsperson
  • Representative of an Overseas Business
  • partner
  • parent
  • settlement (also known as indefinite leave to remain)
  • citizenship

The level of test you will need, known as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level, will depend on the route you are applying for. To find out which level you need, see the specific guidance for your immigration route.

Approved test providers

If you are in the UK

You can only take a SELT with one of the following providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • Trinity College London

If you are outside of the UK

You can only take a SELT with one of the following providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd

Find an approved test

For your results to be accepted, your test must:

  • be on the list of approved English language tests
  • have been sat at an approved test location
  • have been awarded in the two years before the date of your application

The list of approved English language tests has been assessed as meeting Home Office requirements under the secure English language testing arrangements. Only those tests and test levels specified are approved. If you intend to use an English language test in your immigration or nationality application, you must take one of the tests on the list.

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

  • Pearson: ‘PTE Academic UKVI’ or ‘PTE Home’
  • PSI Services: ‘Skills for English UKVI
  • Trinity College London: ‘Secure English Language Tests for UKVI’ – Integrated Skills in English (ISE) or Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)
  • IELTS SELT Consortium: ‘IELTS for UKVI’ or ‘IELTS Life Skills’
  • LanguageCert: ‘LanguageCert International ESOL SELT

It is for you to decide which test to take.

The list of approved tests gives the CEFR level and minimum grade requirements for each level.

Where 2 or more components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of a test are examined and awarded together, for example a combined exam and certificate for reading and writing skills, you must show that you achieved the required scores in all the relevant components during a single sitting of that examination, unless you were exempt from sitting a component on the basis of a disability.

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List of approved secure English language tests taken in the UK

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List of approved secure English language tests taken outside the UK

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Approved test centres

The list of approved test centres has been assessed as meeting Home Office requirements under the secure English language testing arrangements.

(Video) SELT Secure English Language Test in 2021 | UK Immigration explained

More test centres will be added to the list as the new approved provider services become available.

Check the SELT provider’s website to find out when tests are available and to make sure the test centre is open. Some test centres may be closed because of coronavirus. If you have any questions, use the website. Do not contact the test centre directly.

List of approved test centres in the UK

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List of approved test centres outside the UK

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Book an English language test

If you are in the UK

To find test dates and book your test, go to the website of the provider offering the test you plan to take:

If you are outside of the UK

To find test dates and book your test, go to the website of the provider offering the test you plan to take:

You should be able to take a test within 28 days of booking, but it may not always be at the location nearest to you. If there is not an approved test location in your country, you will have to travel to another country to take the test.

The details used to book your test must be the same as on your passport or other identity document. If your surname has changed, you will still need to book the test in the name on your passport or identity document. If you wish to book your test using your changed surname, you must change the name in your passport or identity document before booking your test.

We are currently piloting secure English language tests outside of a test centre environment through some of our commercial partners. The pilot is limited to specific immigration routes and not all commercial partners are taking part in the pilot at this stage.

If you are eligible to take part in the pilot, our commercial partners will contact you. The pilot may be extended if successful, however this will not be until summer 2023 at the earliest.

Prove your identity on the day of the test

You will need to provide evidence of your identity at the test location before you can take the test.

Your 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.

The details used to book your test must match the document you provide at the test location.

If you are not able to prove your identity, you will not be allowed to take a test.

Acceptable documents

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

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  • passport
  • UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • UK Biometric Residence Card
  • convention travel document
  • stateless persons travel document

You can use the following documents as identification for tests taken either in the UK or outside the UK in the country where the document is issued:

  • identity cards of EEA nationals

You can use the following documents as identification for tests taken outside the UK in the country where the document is issued:

  • valid photographic government issued identity cards

Emergency travel documents will not be accepted as proof of identity.

Your name must be on the document.

Contact the Home Office if you do not have a valid identity document.

If your passport is held by the Home Office and you do not have another valid identity document, you should contact the Home Office to request the return of your passport.

If you have a previous gender (including a different name) that you do not want the test centre staff to see or for it to show on your test result, email sensitivebookings@homeoffice.gov.uk before booking your test. They’ll tell you what you need to do.

After the test

After you pass the test, you will be given a SELT unique reference number which you must use when making your application. If you do not include your reference number, your application may be refused.

You will find your SELT unique reference number on your 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
  • URN’ for PSI Skills for English tests

You do not need to submit any documents as part of the immigration or nationality application. Test results and scores are checked using the SELT online verification system provided by each approved SELT test provider using a SELT unique reference number.

If you took a test in the UK, you can use your result for UK and overseas applications. You can also use tests taken overseas for applications made in the UK.

Test results are valid for 2 years from the date the test is awarded.

Reasonable adjustments

You can make special requests when you book your test if, for example, you have a disability and need extra equipment or help accessing the test location.

FAQs

What is secure English language test Selt? ›

A Secure English Language Test (SELT), as defined by the UK Home Office, is a test that is offered at an approved test centre and assesses the four skills of English language: reading, writing, listening and speaking, using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) as a guide to English language proficiency.

Is Selt exam difficult? ›

SELT is an easy, fair and fastest test for English proficiency as the results come in just 5 days.

How do I get a B1 English certificate? ›

Students require about 400 hours of instruction to reach B1 from a complete beginner level. According to the CEFR guidelines, a language learner at the B1 level: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

Is Selt equivalent to IELTS? ›

IELTS is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) and requires a pass rate of 7.0 in Reading, Speaking and Listening, and 6.5 for Writing.

Can you fail B1 English test? ›

B1 ENGLISH TEST TOPICS – THE IELTS LIFE SKILLS TEST

You can take this exam in many parts of the world. The result is either pass or fail. If you receive a fail, then you cannot use the test result in your application for a visa.

How do I pass an English assessment test? ›

8 Steps to Ace Your English Language Test
  1. Work out the practical details. ...
  2. Practice does make perfect. ...
  3. Purchase a test-specific textbook or prep guide. ...
  4. Scribble down a new word every day. ...
  5. Challenge your ears by listening to podcasts. ...
  6. Watch TV shows or films (without subtitles).

What happens if you fail Selt test? ›

If you fail either or both parts of the exam, you will receive: a letter confirming that you did not achieve a pass grade in all 4 parts of the exam and therefore you do not receive a certificate.

What is the pass mark for B1 English test? ›

B1 Preliminary – Level B1

If you achieve a scale score of 140–159 (Pass, Pass with Merit) in your exam, you will receive the Preliminary English Test certificate at Level B1.

Is Selt compulsory for UK Visa? ›

For students who want to study an INTO program considered 'below degree level', a SELT is always required when applying for a visa – unless you qualify for an exemption (e.g. you are from a majority English-speaking country).

Is B1 test difficult? ›

Passing the B1 writing exam is not an easy task. You need advanced preparations to successfully complete this English test. Languages are the most complex subjects. You need lots of patience and practice to learn a new language.

Is B1 a good level of English? ›

A B1 level of English would be sufficient for interactions with English speakers on familiar topics. In the workplace, people at a B1 level of English are able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field.

Is B1 fluent English? ›

Level B1 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

What is Selt qualification? ›

For visa or citizenship applications, you may need to prove your knowledge of English by passing a secure English language test (SELT).

Is Selt and IELTS UKVI same? ›

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are the same in terms of format, content, scoring and level of difficulty. However, the Test Report Form which contains your results is slightly different to show that you have taken the test at an official IELTS for UKVI location, which is approved by the UK Home Office.

Is Selt and UKVI same? ›

It is a Secure English Language test (SELT) approved by the UK home office for visa applications to the United Kingdom. The Academic for UKVI test is the same as the Academic test in terms of content, format, scoring and the level of difficulty.

What is the pass mark for Selt exam? ›

Candidates who achieve an average score of 50% or more in the Written component and/or 50% or more in the Spoken component will be awarded the corresponding LanguageCert International ESOL Certificate in Listening, Reading and Writing and/or in Speaking.

What is the best topic for B1 test? ›

When choosing your topic, you should choose a subject that you know a lot about and can talk about with the examiner for up to 5 minutes such as: a hobby, holiday, your family, your job, your home country.
...
Subject areas:
  • Festivals.
  • Means of transport.
  • Special occasions.
  • Entertainment.
  • Music.
  • Recent personal experiences.

How many times can you take the B1 test? ›

Both versions of the speaking and listening test can be used in your application for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) or citizenship. For both tests, the results last for 2 years. If you fail, there is no limit to how many times you can retake the test, so you can simply try and try again!

What is an example of a language test? ›

IELTS and TOEFL are examples of proficiency tests. Proficiency tests often have a significant backwash effect on the classroom, as learners' focus narrows to preparing the test items. One way to make practice for exams more meaningful is by asking learners to prepare their own practice questions for the group.

What's the best way to pass an assessment test? ›

Assessment tips
  1. Prepare well. Make sure you get a good night's sleep before the assessment, know where you have to be and what to expect. ...
  2. Know what an assessment entails. Make sure you know what components to expect and what you will be asked to do for each different components of the assessment.
  3. Practice IQ tests.

Do you have to pass an English test to become a UK citizen? ›

Overview. You might need to prove your knowledge of the English language if you're 18 or over and applying for citizenship or to settle in the UK (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). You can prove it by having either: an English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level.

How long is Selt certificate valid for? ›

14. How long is a SELT certificate valid for? All Trinity certificates are valid for life as evidence of the candidate's achievement and performance in a Trinity exam.

How long does Selt results take? ›

On completion of your test the information you have entered will be securely processed for assessment by our qualified marking service. We will endeavour to confirm your results within 14 days.

Can you do B1 English test online? ›

If you want to know your current level of English, we recommend that you take a B1 English test online as part of your preparation process. At ABA English, we have the ideal test for each level, which you can take for free, online, and which will only take a few minutes.

How do I prepare for my B1 test? ›

Prepare for your B1 English test
  1. Topic: You choose a topic to prepare in advance of the test, for discussion with the examiner. You must complete a Topic Form in advance and bring it with you to the exam. ...
  2. Conversation: You have a short conversation with the examiner about two subject areas chosen by the examiner.

What is B1 English qualification? ›

A B1 Preliminary qualification shows that you have mastered the basics of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use. This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between A2 Key and B2 First.

How much does B1 exam cost? ›

The IELTS Life Skills B1 test is designed for those who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and/or British citizenship. It is on the list of Home Office approved Secure English language tests. The IELTS Life Skills B1 test costs £150. It assesses listening and speaking only and can be booked using this link.

Which English test is accepted for UK Visa? ›

IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training and IELTS Life Skills are accepted by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as proof of English proficiency for those wishing to live, work and study in the UK.

Do I need to take Selt? ›

SELT (Secure English Level Test) is required for students seeking to study, work, and live in the UK. It is used by students applying for tier 1, 2, and 4 visas for short courses and pathway programs. Various platforms administer this test at authorized testing centers for immigration and visas to the UK worldwide.

What is the minimum qualification for UK Visa? ›

You need to have a Minimum Bachelor's degree or equivalent with 2 years of skilled work experience from the eligible occupations list. You must have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor. The job offer must be at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent)

How long is B1 valid for? ›

You can use a B1 level qualification taken more than 2 years ago if you are applying for citizenship and the qualification was accepted when you settled in the UK. You can use a B1 level qualification taken more than two years ago if both of the following are true: it's on the current list of recognised tests.

What percentage do you need to pass B1? ›

The minimum score to pass Cambridge B1 Preliminary (PET) is 140 points (70%).

How long does it take to get B1 in English? ›

How long does it take to learn English?
Level of English (CEFR)Number of hours of instruction
A2 to B1300 hours
B1 to B2200 hours
B2 to C1200 hours
C1 to C2200 hours
2 more rows
25 Jan 2019

What does language level A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 & C2 mean? ›

Explanation of language levels A1 to C2. The three broad levels are A1/A2 ("Basic User"), B1/B2 ("Independent User"), and C1/C2 ("Proficient User"). Let's take a look at what you should be able to communicate at the various levels set out by CERF. Language learning levels explained from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 to C2.

What is B1 level equivalent to? ›

Most universities measure language level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).
...
Required language level.
"> CEFR levelFLTU moduleApproximate equivalence
B1Lower IntermediateAS Level A* - C
B2Upper IntermediateA Level A* - C
C1Advanced
C2Advanced PlusNear-native fluency
2 more rows

Can I do Selt online? ›

*Please note that LanguageCert SELT exams for UK Visas & Immigration are only available at approved SELT Centres and are not available through LanguageCert Online exams with live remote proctoring. For information on which exam to take in order to study in the UK, click here.

Can I apply to UK without UKVI IELTS? ›

All British universities and colleges accept IELTS Academic results This means you may not need to take an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test but can submit an IELTS Academic result.

Can I go UK without IELTS for work? ›

An essential part of the UK working visa process is passing the IELTS exam.

Which is easier IELTS or UKVI? ›

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are the same in terms of format, content, scoring and level of difficulty. However, the Test Report Form which contains your results is slightly different to show that you have taken the test at an official IELTS for UKVI location, which is approved by the UK Home Office.

What is the score for UKVI? ›

The CEFR requirement for each skill must be met. 2 IELTS for UKVI can be used where IELTS Life Skills is required. Test takers would need to a score of 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening (scores for Reading and Writing will be ignored).

What is in the B1 Selt test? ›

It is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) delivered through LanguageCert's global network of SELT centres. About the exam: Consists of a Written (Listening, Reading, Writing) and Spoken (Speaking) component. Both components can be taken on the same day or within 14 days of each other.

Which English test is required for UK Visa? ›

IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test with a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English language communication skills. So if you need to prove your level of English skills as part of your visa application, IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration is the right test for you.

What is Selt equivalent? ›

The SELT by IELTS is called the IELTS Life Skills or 'IELTS for UKVI'. The IELTS Life Skills test requires you to demonstrate your speaking and listening skills only at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

What is B1 level English qualification? ›

The B1 level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is also known as intermediate. Having this level means that you can function efficiently in professional, academic, or everyday situations in an English-speaking country.

Is B1 good English level? ›

A B1 level of English would be sufficient for interactions with English speakers on familiar topics. In the workplace, people at a B1 level of English are able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field.

Is B1 English fluent? ›

Level B1 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

Does the B1 Test expire? ›

You can use a B1 level qualification that's run out if you're applying for citizenship and it was accepted when you settled in the UK. It does not matter if the B1 level test you took is not on the current list of recognised tests. You do not need to take another test.

Can I go to UK without IELTS? ›

A. Yes, you may get a UK study visa without IELTS. For this, you can show the immigration authorities a certificate from the university where you have been admitted specifying that you are eligible for a study visa without IELTS. Q.

Who is exempt from English language test UK? ›

Exemptions if you're applying to settle

an adult dependent relative between 18 and 64 of someone who is present and settled in the UK, is a refugee or has humanitarian protection. a refugee living in the UK. someone living in the UK with discretionary leave. someone living in the UK for with humanitarian protection.

What do I need to bring to Selt exam? ›

  1. Documents must be original and still valid. ...
  2. Documents must contain a photograph that is a true likeness of the candidate.
  3. The document presented on the day of the test to confirm your identity must be the same document you used to register and book the test.

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