The UKBA website regularly updates information on language requirements for settlement and visas. The following links take you to the most recent information about this:
Language requirements for settlement
Language requirements for partners and spouse visas
Since November 1st 2005, applicants for British naturalisation and from April 2007 applicants for settlement have had to evidence to the Home Office both a level of ability in English and knowledge of life in the United Kingdom. There are two ways an applicant can do this:
1: Sit an online, Home Office approved citizenship test
Undertaking the Home Office citizenship test requires a fairly well developed level of English and it is therefore suitable only for candidates who are working towards SQA ESOL Intermediate 2 level (SCQF level 5) or above.
Candidates at this level are required to take this route. Before the test candidates must study chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the handbook, Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship, which can be bought from the Stationery Office website or from bookshops across the UK. The website, www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk, provides a good source of information for those who wish to take this route. In addition, there are useful on-line materials to support candidates. There are 5 test centres in Scotland; one each in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
The Life in the UK test consists of 24 questions. Forty-five minutes are allowed for the test, but most people complete it in much less. The test costs £34.
The information above is available in diagram form here.
2: Undertake an ESOL with Citizenship course at an 'Accredited College'
For citizenship applicants who are working towards SQA Intermediate 1 level (SCQF level 4) or below, it is recommended that they undertake an ESOL course within which citizenship is embedded. The UK Border Agency specifies that this study must take place at an 'accredited college'. An 'accredited college' is described as:
In 2005 in conjunction with SQA and the Scottish Government, NIACE and LLU+ published Citizenship Materials for ESOL Learners in Scotland for the use of ESOL with Citizenship providers. These materials are available online at www.esolcitizenship.org.uk. Citizenship materials can be edited to make them more appropriate to the learners who are taking the course. A link to editing the materials can be found here on the NIACE website.
Alongside the development of these materials, SQA also led a project to collate contextualised citizenship and ESOL teaching materials being used by practitioners in Scotland. They can be accessed by clicking here.
To demonstrate English language progress, naturalisation applicants undertaking an ESOL with Citizenship course must achieve an accredited ESOL award and as part of this, show progression of at least one ESOL level. In terms of Scottish Qualifications Authority, ESOL qualifications, citizenship applicants must pass one SQA ESOL unit at Intermediate 1 or below and submit this with a letter from the course provider stating that the course was delivered in a citizenship context and used materials derived from the 'Citizenship materials for ESOL learners' pack produced for the Home Office by NIACE and LLU+ and specifying that the applicant has progressed at least one ESOL level. A suggested text for such a letter is available here (Word). Details of Colleges in Scotland can be viewed here.
For those wishing more information on citizenship, there is a helpful FAQ section on the NIACE website. A further source of information is ESOL and Citizenship - A teachers' guide written by Chris Taylor (2007) and produced by NIACE. The book provides an account of the current debates around citizenship, immigration and naturalisation and gives advice on teaching and learning ESOL in the context of citizenship.
You may wish to view a diagram containing a summary of some of the details on this page.