English test for UK visa in South Africa

English test for UK visa in South Africa: As a South African who is seeking to get a Student Visa (Tier 4) to study at a higher education institution in the UK to either start a bachelor-level study or postgraduate study at a university, you must meet the English language level set by the institution. With all UK visa applications, you are expected to meet the entry requirements as set by the UK government, and among these requirements is that you must keep to the longer-term UK immigration application requirement for English language testing.

What is the English test for UK visa in South Africa?

The English language test for UK visas in South Africa is a language requirement for entry into the United Kingdom.

There are a number of English tests accepted, but you need to be mindful before choosing any of them, as your choice should be influenced by your desired school’s acceptable language testing. All British universities and institutions of higher education accept the IELTS academic results. So if you happen to have obtained it from your previous institution, you may not need to take the IELTS for UKVI tests; you just need to submit an IELTS academic result to skip the testing process. Please bear in mind that the test you would take will also depend on the visa requirements as set by the establishment where you plan to study or work.

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Who needs an English test for UK visa?

Persons applying to these below visa options to study or work abroad in the UK must pass the English language test:

  • Applications for further leave-to-remain (which can be either the spouse visa or partner visa as well as the family dependent visa) are in the A1 category.
  • Visa extensions for Further leave to remain; this is the A2 category.
  • Persons on Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK: this is the B1 category.
  • Anyone with British citizenship by naturalization is also in the B1 category.
  • Tier 2 Visa (or the General Visa): this is under B1.
  • Tier 2 Visa (that is, the Minister of Religion Visa) under category B2
  • Tier 2 (that is, the sportsperson visa) under category A1
  • The Innovator Visa (under the B2Visa)
  • A Start-up Visa Applicant (this is under the B2 category)
  • Tier 4 (also known as the General) Student Visa
  • Lastly, the representative of an overseas business visited.

Which English test is required for a UK visa?

  1. The generally accepted English test is IELTS. For Persons applying to work or study in the UK, there is the IELTS for UKVI (which is based on academic and general training) and the IELTS Life Skills.
  2. In South Africa, there is a Home Office-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), which is an acceptable language test for UK visas.

What is the SELT English test in South Africa?

The British government employs an official means of identifying your South African tertiary English speaking and writing ability, which is a quick testing protocol. The UK government introduced the Secure English Language Test (SELT), which is their own range for English testing, in 2021.
Other visa requirements in some parts of SA:

How to apply for an English test for UK visa in South Africa

To get your English language proficiency certificate for a UK visa, there are a number of ways to get it done. There are many accredited test centers spread throughout the world offering such services; that is to say, you don’t have to come to the UK before you take the test, plus it may even cost you more when you get to the UK because of urgency. If you are already in the UK, there are about thirteen (13) test centers spread across the country, and you can pick one to test your English language skills.

To book a test, here is what you need to know before starting:

  • Your choice should be ‘IELTS for UKVI’ and not ‘IELTS’ for IELTS tests.
  • Your choice should be Secure English Language Tests for UKVI if you are taking the Trinity tests.
  • For language certification tests, you should select International ESOL SELT.
  • For Pearson Education Ltd., it is recommended to choose ‘PTE Academic UKVI’ or ‘PTE Home’.

Test Day

When it comes to the test date and venue, you will be required to present evidence of your personal identity. Here are the only acceptable forms of identification to come along with:

  1. Your Passport
  2. Your travel document
  3. An EU identity card
  4. A government ID card
  5. Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  6. Your Biometric Registration Card (BRC)

Please bear in mind that at all points, the document you must present should be original and should not have exceeded the expiration date. Your photograph should also be included in such documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IELTS mandatory for a UK visa?

IELTS, or other English language testing, is a mandatory requirement to get a UK visa. You may not need to take the IELTS test if you have an IELTS academic result, and there are other exceptions. Do well to contact your school to learn more about their language requirements.

Is a 4.5 IELTS score good for the UK?

I’m in the UK; the general IELTS requirement for an English language proficiency test is 6.0 and above, but the minimum requirement for each section is 5.5.

Which English test is accepted to enter the UK?

The generally accepted English test is IELTS. Persons applying to work or study in the UK. There is also a Home Office-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), which is an acceptable language test for UK visas. 

Which English test is acceptable for a UK work visa?

The English test acceptable for a work visa in the UK is the IELTS for UKVI tests. The IELTS General Training for UKVI or the IELTS Academic for UKVI tests are used on general ground for either study, work, or migration anywhere around the world, but you cannot use the IELTS General Training or IELTS Academic tests to get a UK visa.

Who is exempt from taking an English test for UK visa in South Africa?

  • Persons who have graduated from a course(s) in which the language of administration is English (for either undergraduate studies or postgraduate level studies) are exempt from the requirement for English language tests.


  • Citizens of these countries are also exempt in most cases: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.



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