ETS update: Immigration Rules change and transitional provisions

11 June 2014

On 10 June 2014, the Home Office announced changes to the Immigration Rules, in Statement of Changes HC189. The changes clarify the acceptable use of the TOEIC and TOEFL English language tests provided by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

ETS is no longer licenced by the Home Office to provide Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) for people who want to use their tests (TOEFL and TOEIC) in support of UK immigration applications. There are transitional arrangements which offer some limited scope to use an ETS certificate in a Tier 4 (General) application, depending upon where and when you apply.

If your studies are at degree level or above, at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution, the institution may be prepared to assess your English language ability themselves, and confirm it on the CAS. The change in the Immigration Rules does not affect institutions' ability to use the results of an ETS test as the basis of their own assessment.

Applying in the UK

From 1 July 2014 ETS test certificates are no longer acceptable as a SELT for people applying for Tier 4 (General) in the UK.

If you have already applied using an ETS test certificate, or if you choose to apply on or before 30 June 2014 using one, your application may be delayed while the Home Office makes further checks on your application. The Home Office has told us that they will write to you if your application is still pending more than 8 weeks after your Biometrics were taken.

Applying outside the UK

Whether you can use an ETS test certificate as a SELT will depend on the date you make your Tier 4 (General) application.

On or before 21 July 2014

All those applying for Tier 4 (General) outside the UK can use an ETS test certificate as a SELT.

From 22 July to 30 September 2014 inclusive

ETS test certificates are no longer acceptable as a SELT for most people applying for Tier 4 (General) outside the UK. You will need to use a test certificate from another acceptable SELT provider. There is one exception. You can still use an ETS test certificate if you are applying for Tier 4 (General) in order to study at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution (HEI) on one of these courses:

  • a pre-sessional course lasting 3 months or less
  • a foundation degree
  • a foundation course

If you are not sure whether your course is one of these, or whether your sponsor is a publicly-funded HEI, contact them direct and ask before you make the Tier 4 (General) application.

On or after 1 October 2014

ETS certificates cannot be used as a SELT in any Tier 4 (General) application.  


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