Do I need to pass the A1 English Test to get a UK Spouse Visa?

Applications for the UK visa under the Private Life Route

If you wish to apply for any long-term visa for the UK and come from a non-English speaking country or haven’t studied a degree taught in the English language, you will need to take the A1 English Test, often referred to as IELTS. The test is only available at test locations that are authorized by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

What does the IELTS test involve?

The test involves reading, writing, listening, and speaking the English language, and those taking the test must prove that they have a high level of understanding in all areas. There are several different tests designed for people going to work in industry, study, or live with their spouse in the UK. For those applying for a UK Spouse Visa, the most appropriate test is the IELTS Life Skills A1 test which focuses more on speaking and listening.

Learning English

Schools teaching English are available across the Kingdom, but we would recommend selecting a school that focuses on preparation for the IELTS tests. However, if you feel that your current level of English isn’t high enough, you may want to consider undertaking a basic English course first.

Where can I take A1 English test?

The test can be taken in the UK if you have previously entered the country on another visa. You must pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) in at least CEFR level A1 in Speaking and Listening to enter the UK as a spouse or a partner. However, you will be required to leave and apply for a visa outside of the UK.

Where can I take the A1 English test in Thailand?

Most people applying for a UK Spouse Visa take the A1 English Test in Thailand. It must be at a test center approved by the British Council. Currently, there are test center’s in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but more are expected to open across the country after the COVID-19 pandemic. The test certificate is valid for two years.

We can help!

If you wish to apply for a UK Spouse Visa and would like more information about the IELTS A1 English Test either in the UK or in Thailand, at Thai Visa Express, we can help. You can contact us on+66 (0)80 102 2328, +66 (0) 38 420 313 or +44 (0) 20 8133 8059, email us on: or alternatively contact us via our website


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