The easiest way to find out if a certificate has been issued by a Marlins Approved Test Centre is to enter the licence code in the box on the front page at

For more information on validating certificates, please see our support article, "How do I validate a Marlins test certificate?".

Since May 2013 and the launch of version 5 of the test, Marlins has issued two distinctly different certificate formats, to provide quality assurance to companies and flag states.

This allows individuals and other companies to continue using the test for practice, training or internal purposes.

Approved Certificate Formats Non-Approved Certificate Formats

Fig 1. Approved Certificate v6

(Feb 2015 onwards)

Fig 2. Approved Certificate v5

(May 2013 - Jan 2015)

Fig 3. Non-Approved Certificate v6

(Feb 2015 onwards)

Fig 4. Non-Approved Certificate v5

(May 2013 - Jan 2015)

Approved Certificates

Only Marlins Approved Test Centres are able to issue the approved certificate format (see Figs 1 & 2).

Marlins Approved Test Centres have all been formally inspected by a Marlins representative.  They carry out Marlins testing under strict exam conditions and maintain accurate records, which can be inspected or requested by the UK MCA and other flag state authorities.

The certificate can be identified by a number of features:

  1. The candidate's name and score will sit over a unique text watermark, which includes the candidate's details.
  2. The gold Marlins logo only appears on the approved certificate format.
  3. The bottom right of the certificate includes space for a stamp, date and signature that the test administrator will compete.
  4. The line on the certificate details that normally reads "Company" will say "Approved Test Centre".

The approved certificate should be the only format accepted by shipping, cruise or offshore companies who employ third party manning agencies.  This format gives companies the reassurance that the test was correctly conducted and that the result is reliable.


For best results and the most accurate picture of a candidate's English language ability, all approved certificates should be accompanied by a Marlins Test of Spoken English (TOSE) certificate.

Non-Approved, Standard Certificates

Companies and individuals who self-register at to purchase and administer tests will only receive the standard format of certificate (see Figs 3 & 4).  The standard format of certificate is not accepted by flag state authorities such as the UK MCA and some companies.


The reason for this is that any individual can purchase a test, anywhere in the world, and take that test where they choose - whether that is at work, at school or at home.  The problem is that individuals who are not supervised while testing may be tempted to seek assistance from friends/family members, or may use the Internet or a dictionary for answers.


If companies are carrying out testing in their own offices for internal use only, this certificate format may prove sufficient.

Certificates prior to May 2013 (v4)

It is still possible to tell the difference between Marlins certificates issued prior to May 2013 (see Fig 5).

Beneath the "Test date" field on a standard certificate, the next field was called "Company" or "Test location".  This value was input by either of the individual or the non-approved company carrying out testing.

Approved Test Centre certificates had the words "Approved test location", instead of "Company" or "Test location", as seen in the example below:

Fig 5. Certificate v4

(July 2007 - May 2013)

Certificates prior to July 2007

Before July 2007, the Marlins test was only available offline.  The offline system did not allow the central storage of results or remote validation, so it is not possible to validate such certificates or determine if they were taken at an Approved Test Centre or not.

Please note that results are no longer recognised or supported by Marlins, because at least 8 years will have passed since the candidate was tested.

Fig 6. Certificate v3

(before July 2007)