I was browsing through the needed documents for a skilled worker visa and I found that I need to prove my level of English as a requirement, but I've also found that I need a UK PhD certificate (I have to be accredited by NARIC).

In their [website][1], they have a service called PhD verification with English proficiency. This service means that I can use my PhD to prove my English level if it was "taught" in English at my home university, but I don't know what the word "taught" means exactly.

During my PhD, I wrote my dissertation in English. The articles were (obviously) in English, but the diploma is written in French. Can I still use that to prove my English proficiency? Perhaps, I should have a statement from my previous supervisors?

I come from a non-English-speaking country that uses French as a second language; So normally, I need an IELTS test. I need to know if I can follow the NARIC route instead of having to take the test... [1]: https://www.ecctis.com/visasandnationality

  • What kind of visa do you want and what level of English profiency do you need to show? A PhD written in English usually implies a very high English profiency but it doesn't give you anything formally. Depending on what you need it is still possible that the English profiency is just counted as fullfilled by your PhD.
    – quarague
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 8:20
  • @quarague It is fulfilled by your PhD -- this fact just needs to be verified by NARIC if you want to use it as a proof of language proficiency.
    – penelope
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


I went through exactly the same thing (PhD in France, all publication and thesis in English, diploma in French, I come from a non-English speaking country and don't actually speak French, then applied for a postdoc position in the UK and needed prove my level of English for my immigration documentation).

So, the answer is yes you can, but it will (likely) be very very slow. The procedure is as follows: You send in your diploma (with a certified translation, you can get those for about 30 euros). Unless you finished your PhD at a super-famous French University (think Sorbonne), you go at the bottom of a very long pile. This is for "previously unknown Universities" (to NARIC), the ones they have to check in detail. When inquiring, I was told that this would take at least 3 months. Knowing how much some of the gvt admin ground to a stop during the pandemic, I wouldn't be surprised if it took a couple of months longer at this time.

Normally I would recommend going for IELTS test. Despite them being quite infrequent (I am told there used to be more dates some 8-10 years ago), I only had to wait about 2 and a half months to take the IELTS (compared to "maybe 3+" for NARIC approval). It is also quite neat that there is a "scientific track" for IELTS, so the writing assessment is focused on describing and reading out simple graphs, which helps if your vocabulary is science-centred.

However, these are not very normal times. Right now, you might feel more comfortable waiting 3+ months for the NARIC route instead of travelling to take a 2-day test with a group in a small classroom, even if the latter is quicker. As far as I remember, price-wise it was about the same expense (not sure if that included my travel to take the test or not).

  • Yes, I have read that it's going to be very slow.. I don't think it's worth it to use a PhD to approve my English level, but there is also an option of using your PhD (with NARIC) to get points for your skilled worker visa..
    – U. User
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 13:02

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