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If your CAS was assigned to you on or after 21 April 2011 What you education provider must ensure

If your CAS was assigned to you on or after 21 April 2011, your education provider must ensure that:

  • you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B2, if you will be enrolling on a course at NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 or above (unless you are a gifted student studying at a higher education institution - see below); or
  • you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1, if you will be enrolling on a course at NQF 3-5/QCF 3-5/SCQF 6-8; or
  • you are a national of a majority English-speaking country 

If you do not meet the English language requirement, your education provider cannot assign a CAS to you.

Interview with UKBA officers

If you are applying to Tier 4 from overseas, you may be required to attend an interview with UK Border Agency officers, either as part of your visa application or when you arrive in the UK. If you are required to attend an interview and you cannot show at that interview that your English language ability is at the required standard, we may refuse your application or refuse to let you enter the UK.

The requirement to have acceptable English language skills before you can apply to become an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of the points-based system from UKBA

English language skills

The requirement to have acceptable English language skills before you can apply to become an adult student under Tier 4 (General) of the points-based system.

New list of approved English language tests

We have launched a new list of English language tests for applications under Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the points-based system, and for applications by spouses and partners. This new list is replacing all existing lists of English language test providers.


If your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) was assigned to you before 21 April 2011, your education provider must ensure that you are competent in English at a minimum of level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) unless:

  • your course is at or above level 6 of the revised National Qualifications Framework (equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree); or
  • your course is a foundation degree, or an HND in Scotland; or
  • your course is a pre-sessional course that you will take before taking a degree course in the UK; or
  • you are a government-sponsored student who wants to study an English language course; or
  • you are a national of a majority English-speaking country (see below).

You must still meet the English language requirement if you want to study an English language course (unless you are covered by one of the exemptions above).

If your CAS was assigned to you on or after 21 April 2011, your education provider must ensure that:

  • you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B2, if you will be enrolling on a course at NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 or above (unless you are a gifted student studying at a higher education institution - see below); or
  • you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1, if you will be enrolling on a course at NQF 3-5/QCF 3-5/SCQF 6-8; or
  • you are a national of a majority English-speaking country (see below).

If you do not meet the English language requirement, your education provider cannot assign a CAS to you.

Interview with our officers

If you are applying to Tier 4 from overseas, you may be required to attend an interview with UK Border Agency officers, either as part of your visa application or when you arrive in the UK. If you are required to attend an interview and you cannot show at that interview that your English language ability is at the required standard, we may refuse your application or refuse to let you enter the UK.



visa requirements for Tier 4 student visa applications, you can now choose from 12 Cambridge English exams approved by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) when applying for your student visa

Following changes to visa requirements for Tier 4 student visa applications, you can now choose from 12 Cambridge English exams approved by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) when applying for your student visa.

All of these Cambridge English exams are recognised for Tier 4 student applications to the UK.

The exams cover all four language skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. In some cases candidates will need to pass the exam with a minimum score in particular skills or with a minimum overall score for all four skills.

Before entering the exam, candidates should check for more information on UK immigration policies and procedures, including English-language requirements, at theUKBA website.

Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)Cambridge English: Business Higher (BEC Higher)
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)Cambridge English: Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)
Cambridge English: First (FCE)Cambridge English: Business Preliminary (BEC Preliminary)
Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)BULATS Online (certificated version)
IELTSInternational Legal English Certificate
ESOL Skills for LifeCambridge English: Financial (ICFE)

In addition to Tier 4 student visas, Cambridge English exams are also recognised by the UKBA as meeting the language requirements for Tier 1 and Tier 2 immigration, covering working in the UK and spouse/partner visas.


Fees for Trinty ESOL examination attempts are chargeable as follows:

Fees for  examination attempts are chargeable as follows:


Entry LevelSpeaking & Listening Exam feeReading Exam feeWriting Exam fee
Entry 1£23.00£11.00£12.50
Entry 2£30.00£11.00£12.50
Entry 3£30.00£11.00£12.50
Level 1£33.50£10.00£12.50
Level 2£42.00£10.00£12.50

Overview of ESOL Skills for Life courses:

Entry 1

In order to demonstrate ability at this level, candidates are expected to:

  • Speak to communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics.
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions.
  • Engage in discussion with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.
Entry 2

In order to demonstrate ability at this level, candidates are expected to:

  • Speak to communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics.
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information, short narratives, explanations and instructions.
  • Engage in discussion with one or more people in a familiar situation, to establish shared understanding about familiar topics.
Entry 3

In order to demonstrate ability at this level, candidates are expected to:

  • Speak to communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality.
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions.
  • Engage in discussion with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.
Level 1

In order to demonstrate ability at this level, candidates are expected to:

  • Speak to communicate information, ideas and opinions, adapting speech and content to take account of the listener(s) and medium.
  • listen and respond to spoken language, including information and narratives, and Follow explanations and instructions of varying length, adapting response to speaker, medium and context
  • Engage in discussion with one or more people in familiar and unfamiliar situations, making clear and relevant
Level 2

In order to demonstrate ability at this level, candidates are expected to:

  • Speak to communicate straightforward and detailed information, ideas and opinions clearly, adapting speech and content to take account of the listener(s), medium, purpose and situation.
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including extended information and narratives, and follow detailed explanations and multi-step instructions of varying length, adapting response to speaker, medium and context.
  • Engage in discussion with one or more people in a variety of different situations, making clear and effective contributions that produce outcomes appropriate to purpose and topic.

Comparison chart

QCA NQFCEFR LevelTrinity ESOL Skills for LifeCambridge ESOLIELTS
Entry 1A1Entry 1--
Entry 2A2Entry 2KET3.0
Entry 3B1Entry 3PET4.0
Level 1B2Level 1FCE5.5
Level 2C1Level 2CAE6.5
Level 3C2-CPE7.5


Comparison table for Trinity ESOL, Cambridge ESOL and IELTS examinations


Comparison table for Trinity ESOL, Cambridge ESOL and IELTS examinations

QCA NQFCEFR LevelTrinity GESETrinity ISETrinity ESOL Skills for LifeTrinity ESOL for WorkCambridge ESOLIELTS
Entry 1A1Grades 2-Entry 1---
Entry 2A2Grades 3 & 4ISE 0Entry 2-KET3.0
Entry 3B1Grades 5 & 6ISE IEntry 3Entry 3PET4.0
Level 1B2Grades 7, 8, & 9ISE IILevel 1Level 1FCE5.5
Level 2C1Grades 10 & 11ISE IIILevel 2-CAE6.5
Level 3C2Grade 12ISE IV--CPE7.5