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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

English Language Requirements Guidance

To be granted a Skilled Worker Visa, you must meet the English language requirement. Only one of the following needs to be applicable to meet the requirement, but please note that these are the only means by which it is possible to meet the English language requirement:

1. National of an English speaking country

You will automatically meet the English language requirement if you are a citizen of one of the following countries:

ï‚· Antigua and Barbuda

ï‚· Australia

ï‚· The Bahamas

ï‚· Barbados

ï‚· Belize

ï‚· Canada

ï‚· Dominica

ï‚· Grenada

ï‚· Guyana

ï‚· Jamaica

ï‚· Malta

ï‚· New Zealand

ï‚· St Kitts and Nevis

ï‚· St Lucia

ï‚· St Vincent and the Grenadines

ï‚· Trinidad and Tobago

ï‚· United States of America

2. Previous grant of leave in the UK

You will automatically meet the English language requirement if you already hold one of the following types of visa:

ï‚· Any Global Talent/Tier 1 visa

ï‚· Tier 2 (General)

ï‚· Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

ï‚· Student visa/Tier 4 - When switching into the Skilled Worker visa route you may need to provide evidence that you hold the relevant level of English Language for the Skilled Worker Visa route.

3. Passed an approved English language test at the required level

We strongly recommend you take the 'IELTS for UKVI' test which will provide a certainty of acceptance. To avoid any confusion with the test please confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test result for a UK Visa application. You must sit the test in an 'IELTS for UKVI' test session as UKVI will not accept results from all IELTS tests offered at the location. Your visa application and will be refused without one.

For IELTS tests individuals can take either the ‘General’ or ‘Academic’ version of the test for UKVI purposes. Individuals must pass an approved test and score at least ‘B1’ in reading, writing, speaking & Listening.

To book a test you can use the following link

The full list of approved tests can be found here

English language test results awarded before 5 April 2015 are no longer valid for submission. Therefore a new test would be required prior to making an application.

4. Awarded a degree taught in English

It is possible to meet the English language requirements by holding at least a Bachelor’s degree, but this will depend on firstly, whether it was taught in English, and secondly is recognised by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC) as equivalent to at least a UK bachelor’s degree.

The guidance below will assist you in determining what evidence/procedure you need to follow to prove your degree meets English Language requirements:

Country in which degree was awarded Evidence Required


The original degree award letter/certificate
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America

Where the degree was taught in one of these countries, it will always be assumed by UKVI to have been taught in English.

However, the individual must use the UK NARIC Visas and Immigration service to verify the degree is equivalent at least a UK bachelor’s degree:

Individuals will need to apply for a Statement of Comparability which will confirm whether the degree is equivalent of at least a UK bachelor degree. Further information of how to apply can be found here

Rest of the World

If the degree was awarded in any other country, the individual must use the UK NARIC Visas and Immigration service to verify the degree was taught in English and is equivalent at least a UK bachelor’s degree:

GCSE or A-Level English

An applicant applying for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK as a Skilled Worker will now also meet the English language requirement if they have a GCSE or A level in English (language or literature) that was awarded:
(a) by an Ofqual (or SQA, Qualifications Wales or CCEA) regulated awarding body and (b) that they were following education in a UK school undertaken while they were aged under 18.
This requirement must be proven by either: (a) a certificate from the awarding body: or (b) an official transcript issued by the awarding body

Further Guidance

For full details of how to meet the English language requirement, please see the Skilled Worker applicant policy guidance: