Part1: Relationship legitimacy Part 2: English ability recognition Part 3: Financial requirement

What? An English test?

At the end of the day South Africa has 11 official languages and is not a predominately English speaking country.

With this in mind, the British have implemented this criterion as a way to ensure that everyone in the UK can speak the same language.

It is common practice that some South Africans get frustrated with this requirement, given that English is their first language.

On a side note, if you turn the table around and ask yourself “how would I make sure that applicants (hundreds of thousands each year) will constructively contribute?“. An English test is the British governments global answer to this challenge (so it is not personal that this is being asked).


Even though you have passed matric with English as your first language, the British government still require evidence that you are currently fluent in English. More specifically that applicants can handle English on a tertiary level (ie. after High School – seen as secondary level of education).

Majority of South Africans do not speak English. Neither as a first language or a second language. Also, the fact that South Africa has 11 official languages also leads the British government to question our ability to communicate in England (or the United Kingdom).

An English test is needed in the event that the applicant (South African) does not have an English Accredited degree. The degree certificate (tertiary qualification) needs to be issued by an institution that is English accredited by UK NARIC.

Those South Africans that do not have a degree or know that their education institution (ie. University) is Afrikaans recognized, then the English test is needed:


Please note, that the British government is not questioning if our SA tertiary education system is equivalent to the UK’s. For now, SA degrees are equivalent to a UK degree. What is being questioned is whether that degree has been issued by a recognized English teaching institution.

South Africans with degrees, that are unsure whether their degree is English recognized (and also those that want to make double sure that their qualification is equivalent to a UK’s) can do so on the UK NARIC site.


There are exemptions to this compulsory requirement for the above listed visas. If South Africans have a Degree awarded from an English recognized Tertiary institution, they can claim the needed recognition from this.

Please note: that we have had clients who have studied Master degrees majoring in English who have needed to write this test due to the fact that their Universities were not English recognized institutions (Stellenbosch University and Free State University specifically).

You are here:

Part 1: Relationship legitimacy.
Part 2: English ability recognition.
Part 3: Financial requirement.

Part 3 The Settlement visas financial requirement is the most common reason why these visas get refused. So we have saved the most challenging aspect for last.