Changes to the Knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement for settlement and naturalisation
From 28 October 2013, there will be two parts to the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement, both of which must be met by all applicants for settlement and naturalisation unless the individual is exempt (exemption details below).
From this date applicants will be required to:
- pass the Life in the UK test
- have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.
Further information regarding the KOLL requirement can be found in the Statement of Intent on the Gov.uk website at:
The current requirement
The Knowledge of Language and Life (KOLL) requirement was introduced as a statutory requirement for citizenship applications in 2005. In 2007 the requirement was also introduced for those applying for settlement in the United Kingdom, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
If a person wishes to make the UK their permanent home and to become a British citizen it is reasonable to expect them to show, amongst other things, that they are committed to learning English and have an understanding of British history, culture and traditions.
The KOLL requirement can currently be demonstrated either by taking a test, or by obtaining an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification. This will change on 28 October 2013.
The new requirement
The KOLL requirement for settlement purposes
The normal expectation will be that adults (i.e. those aged 18 or over) applying for settlement, whether as a main applicant or a dependant, will be expected to meet the new KOLL requirement. This will include adult children of persons settled in the UK and adult children applying for indefinite leave as a dependant. However, there are some circumstances where exceptions to this normal rule will apply.
The KOLL requirement for naturalisation purposes
Persons who apply for naturalisation under section 6(1) and section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 will be expected to meet the new KOLL requirement. However, there are some circumstances where exceptions to this normal rule will apply.
The Life in the UK test
There will be no changes made to the Life in the UK test. The Life in the UK test is a computer-based, multiple choice test. It will continue to be available through the network of test centres operated by LearnDirect on behalf of the Home Office. There will be no change to the existing booking mechanisms and tests will continue to be booked online through the website: http://lifeintheuktest.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/.
Since 25 March 2013, the test has been based on the official handbook “Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents”. It will continue to be possible to take the test in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic at centres in Wales and Scotland respectively.
Pass certificates issued for tests taken before 25 March
Pass certificates issued for tests taken before 25 March will continue to be accepted after 28 October 2013. Individuals who passed the test based on the previous handbook will not be expected to take the revised test, even if they apply for settlement or naturalisation on or after 28 October 2013.
Acceptable qualifications from 28 October 2013
We will accept a range of English language qualifications as evidence that an applicant has met the requirement to hold a B1 level speaking and listening qualification. This will help ensure that all those needing to take a test will be able to find one suitable for their needs and, so far as possible, that no one who already has an English language qualification at B1 level or above will be required to take another one.
The following qualifications will be accepted for settlement and naturalisation purposes:
- Qualifications covering speaking and listening at B1 or above from the Secure English Language Test (SELT) list in the Immigration Rules, Appendix O. The SELT list is available at:
- Qualifications in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at Entry level 3, Level 1 or Level 2, that include speaking and listening and that have been regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). The qualification must be listed as an ESOL qualification on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications and have been taken in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The Ofqual register is available at: http://register.ofqual.gov.uk/2.
- A National Qualification in ESOL at Scottish Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels 4, 5 or 6 awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).