Home Office English language requirements

The Home Office requires universities to verify that applicants have achieved a specified minimum level in English before we are permitted to issue the Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), which you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa. The requirements for certain English language tests have changed from April 2015 and vary depending on your level of study.

If you are using a Secure English Language Test (SELT) and require a Tier 4 visa to study at the University of Essex, the type of test that you will need will depend on the course that you are studying, when your course starts, and when your test was taken. Please read the relevant section below. If a SELT is required it must be no more than 2 years old on your course start date. Here is an example of the IELTS UKVI test (.pdf), you will notice that it contains a UKVI Number.

If you have taken more than one test, we will use your most recent test to determine your level of English proficiency and the length of pre-sessional course that you require, should you choose to take one.

Please read the Home Office Tier 4 policy guidance when making your application. Further information, guidance and advice regarding making a Tier 4 application, including how and when you can obtain a CAS, is available in the applying for a visa section of our website.

Test required for level of study

  • Below degree level

    If you will be studying a course below degree-level, including:

    • Pre-sessional English courses
    • International Foundation Programme
    • International Year One in Business
    • Cert HE in Theatre Arts

    The test must be ‘UKVI IELTS’ or a ‘Trinity ISE SELT’ and have been taken at an approved test centre (.pdf)

    If you are a current Essex student and require a CAS so that you can finish your course you will require a valid SELT. The SELT you used previously may not be valid for a Tier 4 (General) application made after the 5 November 2015. Your SELT will be checked when you request your CAS.

  • Undergraduate: degree level and above

    If you will be studying a course at or above degree-level including 4 year degrees with a foundation year you can take any test accepted by the University (.pdf).

    If the test is IELTS or Trinity it can be taken at any centre (not just approved test centres).

    If you are also required to study an English (Pre-Sessional English) course below degree level before your main course starts, then you will need to also have a test which is suitable for below degree-level study.

    If you are a current Essex student and require a CAS so that you can finish your course you should not need a SELT. This will be checked when you request your CAS.

  • Postgraduate

    If you are studying a course at postgraduate level, including:

    • Masters
    • Diploma programmes
    • Research programmes

    You can take any test accepted by the University (.pdf).

    If the test is IELTS or Trinity it can be taken at any centre (not just approved test centres).

    If you are also required to study an English (Pre-Sessional English) course below degree level before your main course starts, then you will need to also have a test which is suitable for below degree-level study.

    If you are a current Essex student and require a CAS so that you can finish your course you should not need a SELT. This will be checked when you request your CAS.

If you have a question about these requirements please contact Admissions in the first instance by emailing visaquery@essex.ac.uk.