For all Settlement visas for partners – those coming to the UK to marry/ have a Civil Partnership with a British Citizen/permanent resident, or already married to/a Civil Partner or an unmarried partner of a British Citizen/permanent resident – there is now a requirement that you speak English (introduced in November 2010).
If you are from an English-speaking country, are aged over 65, studied a degree taught in English, or have a disability/exceptional compassionate circumstances preventing you from taking the test, you will either automatically meet the requirement or be exempt. If not, you will need to pass a speaking and listening English test to A1 standard of the Common European Framework (or A2 at extension stage). This is a basic level of English, requiring about 40-50 hours of tuition for beginners, and covers basic conversation and simple, everyday expressions.
Once you have been resident for 5 years there is yet a higher level of English required (B1 speaking and listening), and also a requirement for you to pass the Life in the UK test, before you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residency). This Life in the UK test requires studying a book and enrolling at a test centre. You will be granted a certificate confirming that you have passed which you will present to UK Visas and Immigration with your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
As always, any questions just shoot us an e-mail!