Exemptions for English Language and Life in the UK Test

by | Aug 8, 2023 | British Citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain, Naturalisation, UK Immigration

Becoming a permanent resident or a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom entails fulfilling several criteria, and one significant hurdle on this journey is passing the Life in the UK test. This test gauges your understanding of British history, culture, and values. However, exemptions from certain requirements are available, making the path to settlement or citizenship more accessible for those who meet specific criteria. In this post, we discuss the exemptions for the English language and Life in the UK test.

The KoLL Requirement

The ‘Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK’ (KoLL) requirement, applicable to individuals aged 18 to 65 seeking British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain, consists of two parts:

Demonstrating English Language proficiency

There are several ways a visa applicant can fulfill the English language requirement as outlined in Appendix KoLL. If the KoLL rules apply, an applicant can demonstrate sufficient English language knowledge if:

  • They are a national or citizen of a listed majority English-speaking country. These countries include Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA.
  • They hold an academic qualification that’s a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, a PhD, or is recognized by Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) as meeting the UK degree standard from an educational institution in one of the majority English-speaking countries.
  • They possess an academic qualification acknowledged by Ecctis as meeting the standard of at least a UK Bachelor’s degree, and Ecctis confirms the qualification was taught or researched in English.
  • They have successfully passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum B1 CEFR level from an approved English language test provider at an authorized Secure English Language Test (SELT) center, within two years prior to the application date.

Passing the Life in the UK Test

The Life in the UK test is crafted to assess your understanding of British life, history, politics, and customs. In a 45-minute duration, you’re tasked with answering 24 multiple-choice questions, covering aspects of British life, traditions, politics, and customs. To succeed, you need to achieve a pass mark of 75%, equating to 18 correct answers. This test evaluates your grasp of information presented in the official handbook for the Life in the UK Test.

Exemptions from the KoLL Requirement 

Appendix KoLL also outlines general exemptions from the KoLL requirements based on age, and it includes provisions that allow a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) case worker to waive these requirements in specific situations or special circumstances.

Applicants will not be required to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and about life in the UK where:

  • the applicant is under 18 years of age at the date of his or her application, or
  • the applicant is at least 65 years of age at the date of his or her application, or
  • in all the circumstances of the case, the decision maker considers that, because of the applicant’s mental or physical condition, it would be unreasonable to expect the applicant to fulfil either or both parts of that requirement.

In addition to the specific exemptions listed in Appendix KoLL, the official Home Office guidance outlines several categories of applicants who are not required to meet the KoLL requirements. These categories encompass individuals like victims of domestic violence and those seeking settlement as stateless individuals.

For applicants seeking an exemption due to a mental or physical condition, the evidence should be furnished by a medical professional. This can be the applicant’s GP, a GP from the same practice, or a General Medical Council registered consultant. This medical expert should have personally assessed the applicant’s capacity to fulfill the KoLL elements and should support the exemption request based on the applicant’s condition hindering them from meeting the requirement(s) in the foreseeable future. The medical practitioner needs to complete a “Waiver request” form, providing details about the individual’s condition, symptoms, prognosis, and reasons for their inability to learn English or prepare for the Life in the UK test.

Evidencing eligibility under Appendix KoLL

Applicants must provide specific documentary evidence to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements outlined in Appendix KoLL. The nature of this evidence depends on the provisions they are relying on for their application. If they are nationals or citizens of majority English-speaking countries, a valid passport or travel document is required. 

Those holding a degree from a UK university need to submit their degree certificate with details such as their name, institution’s name, title, and date of the award. For degrees from listed majority English-speaking countries, a degree certificate and an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) confirming equivalent status to a UK Bachelor’s degree are necessary. If the degree is from any other country, a degree certificate and confirmation of degree equivalence (AQUALS) are needed, along with an English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) from Ecctis confirming English language instruction. 

For those who have passed a B1 CEFR level English language test, they should provide a unique reference number from the test provider.

The unique reference number issued by the “Life in the UK” test provider is also required for the second part of the KoLL requirement.

How can we help

To discuss your immigration application with our experienced team, call us on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions 

Who is eligible for exemptions from the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement? 

Exemptions from the KoLL requirement are available under various circumstances. Applicants under 18 or over 65 years old are exempt, as well as those facing mental or physical conditions that hinder them from fulfilling the requirement. Specific cases, such as victims of domestic violence, are also considered for exemptions.

Can I apply for an exemption if I have a medical condition that prevents me from attending the Life in the UK test center? 

Yes, applicants with medical conditions that significantly limit their mobility and prevent them from attending a test center can apply for an exemption from the Life in the UK test. However, medical evidence provided by a qualified practitioner is essential to support the exemption request.

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