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All about Secure English Language Test (SELT)

Written by ESC Admin on 28 Dec 2020 Posted in Blog

Secure English Language Test (SELT)

You will need to show that you speak and understand English at an appropriate level if you want to study abroad in the United Kingdom.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) authorities consider a Safe English Language Exam (SELT) as evidence of the English competence of the student applicant. The distinction between SELT and other forms of language tests is that the British government officially accepts and trusts the Stable English Language Test.


To receive the UK Student Visa, students intending to study a course at the academic degree level (such as a foundation course or pathway course) will need to take a SELT. A appropriate SELT score is seen as an assurance that incoming foreign students can integrate into the community and study in the United Kingdom. The only exam boards approved as SELT providers by UKVI are IELTS and Trinity College London.

The IELTS Life Skills or 'IELTS for UKVI' are called the SELT by IELTS. The IELTS Life Skills test only allows you to show your ability to talk and listen at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Reference System (CEFR). If you reach the minimum English language standard, a pass/fail score will be decided.

Not all applying for the UK Study Visa must pass the SELT (also known as the Tier 4 General Student Visa). Not having to take a SELT does not indicate that to come and study in the UK you would not have to take any English language exam. English language proficiency is a prerequisite for university entry, and other English test scores are expected by universities (such as IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic).

You would need to take a SELT from IELTS, Trinity College London, or PTE if you are studying at a degree level below (e.g. a foundation or pathway course) and you need a visa. UK universities commonly accept IELTS for UKVI. You do not need to apply for a visa if you are from the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, so you only need to satisfy the English language criteria provided by your chosen institution for the level of research that you have chosen.

Bear in mind that 2020 was the last year when students from the EU and EEA enjoyed local status, benefiting from lower tuition, government loans, and a lack of visa requirements. Things will shift beginning in 2021

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