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Meeting the English Language Requirement Using an Academic Degree

You must satisfy the Home Office that you meet the English language requirement when applying as a parent of a child under 18, or as a partner/spouse under Appendix FM. You can meet the English language requirement by holding the nationality of a majority English speaking country, passing an English language test or having completed an academic degree which was taught or researched in English.  

In this post, we will look at the ways in which you can meet the English language requirement using an academic degree. 

Academic degree from the UK

You may meet the English language requirement by having an academic qualification which is either a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK.  If your degree is not officially recognised, it might not be accepted by the Home Office. You can check here to see if your institution and qualification is officially recognised. If the degree is awarded by a UK body/institution, the Home Office guidance advises to check that the:- 

  • awarding body is recognised in the UK (to confirm the degree was actually issued in the UK)
  • degree is UK bachelor’s level or above (including Postgraduate degrees) 
  • qualification is academic, not technical or professional.

You will be required to provide proof of your degree in the form of your degree certificate, a full transcript or a letter from the institution confirming the qualification was awarded. The certificate of your qualification must show your full name, the type and level of the degree, the awarding body or institution as well as the date on which the degree was awarded. It is expected that evidence of your qualification would be on official headed paper and for any letters to be signed by a person in an official capacity and the letter would include an address alongside other contact details. 

If you are unable to provide sufficient proof of your academic degree, for example because the certificate is lost and a new one cannot be obtained, speak to our immigration barristers who can assist in identifying the necessary documentation to meet the English language requirement 

ENIC and English Language Requirements

If your degree was taught at an educational institution outside of the UK, you were previously required to obtain confirmation from UK NARIC (the National Academic Recognition Information Centre) that the award was equivalent to a degree taught in the UK. 

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, UK NARIC has now changed to UK ENIC (the European Network of Information Centres). As of 1 March 2021, UK ENIC, operated and managed by Ecctis Limited, is responsible for the comparison and recognition of international qualifications. 

You should apply online for the Visas and Nationality services on the Ecctis website. In support of your Ecctis application, you’ll need to provide specific documentation depending on the nature of your request, including:

  • A final certificate of your overseas qualification awarded by the institution or awarding body
  • Official academic transcripts or marksheet which sets out the subject’s studied and grades obtained for each subject 
  • A certified translation of your document(s), if not in English
  • A medium of instruction letter, if you are required to also evidence your English language proficiency

There are three Visas and Nationality services available: Visas and Nationality (English proficiency), Visas and Nationality (PhD verification) and Visas and Nationality (PhD verification with English proficiency). It is important that you apply for the correct Visas and Nationality service on the Ecctis website. The Ecctis service you should use will depend on what you need to evidence for your immigration application and are set out below.

Academic degree from a majority English speaking country 

If your academic qualification was taught at an educational institution outside of the UK, but from a majority English speaking country, the Home Office will assume that it was taught or researched in English. The following countries only are accepted as being  English speaking countries:

  • 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

Please note that Canada, although normally treated as a majority English speaking country, is not recognised as one for this purpose.

Those holding an academic degree taught in English will be required to provide their degree certificate as evidence. You will also need confirmation from Ecctis that your degree is equivalent to a degree taught in the UK. As such, alongside proof of your degree, you will be required to verify the equivalency of the degree using the Ecctis Visas and Nationality (English proficiency) service. Ecctis will assess qualifications which are considered comparable to a UK Bachelor or Master’s degree, or PhD, and were taught or researched solely in English. They will compare your university degree to the standard of Bachelor, Master’s or PhD in the UK and provide an Academic Qualification Level Statement confirming your qualification is equivalent to a UK degree. 

Academic degree from a non-majority English speaking country 

Academic degrees obtained from a non-majority English speaking country including Canada, will need to obtain confirmation that the degree is equivalent to a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK in addition to  the level of English language proficiency. 

You will need to obtain an Academic Qualification Level Statement from Ecctis confirming your qualification is equivalent to a UK degree as well as an English Language Proficiency Statement to confirm the level of your English language proficiency based on your qualification and in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 

Refusals

If the Home Office determines that the English language requirement is not met and there are no exceptional circumstances to be considered, your immigration application will be refused. In the event that your application is refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the decision by way of appeal.

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to meeting the English Language Requirement or making an application under Appendix FM, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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