If you want to study abroad in the United Kingdom, proving your English proficiency is essential. The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) authorities require a Secure English Language Test (SELT) as proof of this proficiency. Unlike other language tests, a SELT is officially recognized and trusted by the British government.

Who Needs a SELT?
Students planning to study at the academic degree level, such as a foundation or pathway course, need to take a SELT to receive the UK Student Visa. Achieving a sufficient score on the SELT ensures that international students can integrate into the community and succeed in their studies in the UK. The UKVI recognizes exam boards like IELTS and Trinity College London as SELT providers.

The SELT by IELTS, known as IELTS Life Skills or ‘IELTS for UKVI’, assesses your speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Your pass/fail result will determine if you meet the required English language level.

Who Doesn’t Need a SELT?
Not all applicants for the UK Study Visa (Tier 4 General Student Visa) need to pass the SELT. Here are the exceptions:

EU, EEA, or Swiss Students: Those who do not need a UK Study Visa.
Non-EU Students Admitted to Higher Degrees: Students pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD level do not need a SELT.
English Language Learners: Individuals coming to the UK to learn English for less than 11 months.
Under-18 Students: Students entering on a Tier 4 Child Student Visa.
Recent UK Students: Those who have studied in the UK for at least 6 months in the past 2 years.
English-Speaking Countries: Students from English-speaking countries outside the EU.
While these students don’t need a SELT, they still need to prove their English proficiency for university admission through other tests like IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, or PTE Academic.

Important Note
As of April 6, 2015, the UK government introduced new requirements for secure English language testing for visa and immigration purposes. If you’re applying for a visa for degree-level courses, you don’t need a SELT if studying at a Tier 4 Sponsor university. These universities can choose which exams to accept, often including IELTS, TOEFL iBT, and PTE Academic.

For courses below degree level, a SELT is required. Accepted tests include IELTS for UKVI, Trinity College London, and PTE.

Changes for EU, EEA, and Swiss Students Post-Brexit
From August 1, 2021, students from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland will no longer enjoy local status benefits such as lower tuition, government loans, and no visa requirements. They will need to meet the new visa and tuition requirements.

PTE Academic and PTE Academic UKVI Accepted as SELT
Starting in June 2020, international students needing a UK visa can take Pearson’s English Tests (PTE Academic or PTE Academic UKVI) to meet UKVI requirements. Different PTE tests and levels are required based on the visa type:

Study Visa: PTE Academic or PTE Academic UKVI
Work Visa: PTE Academic UKVI or PTE Home A1
Family Visa: PTE Home A1 and A2
Settlement Visa: PTE Home B2
For the latest information on tuition fees post-Brexit and visa requirements, visit the official UK Government website.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth process in proving your English proficiency and securing your UK Student Visa.

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