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English language ability for Student visa holders

Applicants who need a Student visa have a specific set of requirements, to comply with Home Office regulations.

Your English language ability will be sufficient if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a national of a majority English-speaking country (see list below).
  • You have completed a qualification at a level comparable to RQF 6 that was awarded and taught in a majority English-speaking country (see list below), completed within three years of admission to the College. Non-Canadian nationals with a degree from Canada will be required to take an English language test.
  • You have already proved your level of English in a previous UK visa application. This must be at the CEFR B2 level.
  • You have completed one of the following English language tests:
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
    • GCSE or A Level English (where studied at a UK school while you were aged under 18)
    • IELTS Academic and IELTS Indicator 
    • INTO Test of English: IELA
    • OnCampus Test of English: OCTOE
    • Pearson’s Test of English (Academic)
    • TOEFL: IBT and TOEFL Special Home Edition
    • Trinity College London: Integrated Skills in English.
  • Your IELTS, IELA, OCTOE, Pearson's, TOEFL or Trinity result must have been awarded no more than two years before your proposed course start date.
  • If you don't meet the minimum IELTS (or equivalent) requirement, we offer online pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.


  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Malta
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • St Kitts and Nevis  
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America