Best SELT English Tests for British Citizenship / ILR

If you want to apply for British Citizenship, Permanent Residency or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you must take a Secure English Language Test that shows speaking and listening skills at B1 level. Don’t worry, B1 is an intermediate level and most people that have lived in the UK and interacted in English will be able to pass. However, it’s a good idea to choose the best exam for you and prepare for the exam before your test day!

There are 4 exams you can choose from. They all test speaking and listening at the same level (B1), but the formats are quite different.

 IELTS Life Skills B1LanguageCert B1Pearson PTE Home B1Trinity GESE Grade 5
Who do you take the test with? With an examiner and another candidateWith an examinerOn your own, with a computerWith an examiner
How long is the test? 22 minutes11 -13 minutesup to 29 minutes10 minutes
What do you listen to? To the examiner, the other candidate and audio on a computerTo the examiner (speaking naturally and reading a script)To audio on a computerTo the examiner (speaking naturally)
Is there a role-play? Yes (with the other candidate)Yes (with the examiner)NoNo
Do you choose and prepare a topic before the exam? NoNoNoYes
Do you have to speak uninterrupted? Yes, 1 minute in part 1 (after 30 seconds preparation)Yes, 1 minute 30 seconds in part 4B (after 30 seconds preparation)Yes, all speaking is uninterrupted (you speak to a computer), maximum 30 seconds per questionNo, only conversation with the examiner
How many parts are there? 5542
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All information correct when first published and is subject to change

What is the best B1 SELT test to take?

It depends! Some people might prefer Pearson PTE Home B1 because you only interact with a computer, so if you get very nervous talking to a real person, this might be a good option!

However, we think Trinity GESE 5 has the most advantages – it’s the shortest (only 10 minutes), you can prepare a topic in advance (so you can choose what you talk about for that part of the exam), it has only two parts (so it’s easy to understand the format) and your listening is assessed more ‘naturally’, which we think is less stressful.

What is the easiest B1 SELT test to pass?

All the tests are at the same level, B1. However, you might find the format of some simpler than others.

What skills do I need to have tested?

An English test for British Citizenship must test your speaking and listening skills. There is no requirement to test reading or writing.

What level exam do I have to take?

You have to take a B1 (intermediate) speaking and listening exam for:

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • Settlement/Permanent Residency
  • British Citizenship (Naturalisation)

What English Test can I take for British Citizenship?

You can choose from 4 different SELT exams:

  • IELTS Life Skills B1 Speaking & Listening
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B1 (Speaking & Listening)
  • Pearson PTE Home B1
  • Trinity Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) Grade 5

What is SELT?

Secure English Language Test (SELT) is an English test approved by the Home Office and suitable for proving your English level for UK visas and citizenship.

How can I prepare?

To prepare for the Trinity GESE 5 exam, you can take an online course with Alba English. Learn about the format of the exam, the language you need to use and prepare your topic. You can also have practice tests with a teacher on a video call. Prices from just £34. Find out more on our GESE 5 Course page.

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