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Using TOEFL® scores for UK student visas

May 4, 2015

Recently, there have been some changes in the visa rules from the UK Home Office. And that has people asking for clarification about whether the TOEFL® test can be used for UK student visas.

The short answer is: Yes, TOEFL iBT® scores can be used for Tier 4 student visas, under certain conditions. This does require a bit of explanation.

There are two ways to fulfill the English-language requirements for a Tier 4 student visa. One is to apply to a university using scores from a Secure English Language Test, or SELT. The TOEFL test is not currently recognized by the UK Home Office as a SELT.

The second way is through a process established by the Home Office called vouching, where universities can make their own assessment of English language proficiency, using scores from English tests that are not on the SELT list, including the TOEFL test.  

To use your TOEFL scores under vouching provisions, four basic conditions must be met. You can get more details here. The conditions are:

  • Your chosen UK university accepts the TOEFL iBT test for admissions purposes.
  • Your course of study will be at degree level or higher.
  • You meet the TOEFL iBT score requirement for university entry and your course of study.
  • You meet the TOEFL iBT scores at the B2 level set by the Home Office for immigration.

Vouching is a great option for students who need a UK Tier 4 student visa. The TOEFL test is available at thousands of test centers worldwide, so most likely there is one near you. There’s no need to travel long distances or wait a long time to test.

One more important point: if you’re a citizen of a European Union member country, you don’t need a visa to study in the UK, so you don’t need to worry about SELTs or vouching. Just find out if the university accepts TOEFL scores for admissions.

So if you’re planning to study in the UK, and you need a student visa, make sure to find out if your chosen universities will accept TOEFL scores under vouching provisions. If so, then it’s time to register for your TOEFL test!