New A2 English language requirement

14 April 2016

On 18 January 2016 a new A2 English language requirement for family route migrants seeking to extend their stay in the UK was announced by the Home Office.

Non-EEA national partners and parents on the family route will need to pass a speaking and listening test at level A2 in order to qualify, after two-and-a half-years in the UK, for further leave to remain on the five-year partner or parent route to settlement.

The new A2 English requirement delivers the government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English will become more fluent over time. It will mean that the person can better engage in everyday conversation and thereby better participate and integrate in everyday life in the community.

The government recognises the need to give those affected sufficient time to prepare for the new test which is why the new requirement will not be implemented before October 2016. It will therefore not affect those required to apply for further leave to remain before then. The precise timing and further details will be confirmed by the Home Office.

Since November 2010, non-EEA national partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK applying for a visa or initial leave to remain under the family route have been required to demonstrate that they can speak and understand basic English.

This requirement was extended in July 2012 to parents of British citizens and persons settled in the UK. Since October 2013, adult migrants applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) have been required to meet level B1 in speaking and listening skills and pass the new Life in the UK test.