From 28 October 2013, unless one of the limited exemptions applies, applicants will be required to:
- pass the Life in the UK Test; and
- have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.
Life in the UK Tests, which were passed before 28 October 2013, will still satisfy the Life in the UK Test requirement.
A range of English language tests will be accepted, which can be found here. Degrees, which have been taught in English, will also be accepted as long as the qualification is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised UK degree standards.
Nationals of majority English language speaking countries, eg Australia, Canada, and the USA, will be exempt from the English language requirement, but they will still be required to pass the Life in the UK Test.
Limited categories of applicants are exempt from the KoLL requirement for settlement purposes, including:
- children under 18 years of age;
- individuals aged 65 or older; and
- individuals with a disability.
The Home Office will also allow transitional arrangements for individuals already here in a select group of categories to extend their stay in the UK if they cannot meet the new KoLL requirements. These persons include:
- partners, children, or parents of British or settled persons;
- those in the UK on the grounds of long residence;
- those here on the grounds of private life;
- dependants of HM forces personnel; and
- dependants of migrants who originally entered as Work Permit Holders or under the Points Based System.
In addition, in some circumstances where a person has been in the UK for 15 years, the Home Office may accept a lower standard of English language at A2 CEFR level and exempt them from passing the Life in the UK Test.
There are no transitional arrangements for citizenship applications; this is because becoming a British citizen is a privilege. As there is no time limit on making a citizenship application, applicants are expected to meet the new KoLL requirement prior to applying for naturalisation (with some limited exemptions).