IELTS for UK Visa Applications

    Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa?


If you are applying for a UK visa in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you.

 

For visa applications to the UK, you may need to have an English language qualification. In particular, for many categories of visa, you must submit an English language qualification which is included on the UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (often referred to as SELT tests). IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are on this list.


To find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For more information, please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests.

 

Tier 4 Student Visa (without a presessional)

People who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor to study for a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. Tier 4 Student Visa applicants can apply to the UK universities listed here with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless the institution has additional requirements.

 

As a guide, you can use the following table:

 

Visa description

Minimum CEFR level required

Skills

IELTS test and minimum score required overall and in each skill1

Tier 1 (General) visa

C1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 7.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 2 (General) visa

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa2

A1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills1

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa

B2

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 4 (General) student visa - below degree level

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills

Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above and including some pre-sessional courses3

B2

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills

‘Family of a settled person’ visa

A1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass4

IELTS – 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship5

B1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass

IELTS – 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

 

 

1 Both General and Academic Training modules are accepted. The CEFR requirement for each skill must be met.

2 IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.

3 Universities on UKVI’s list of Tier 4 Sponsors decide which exams to accept when a SELT is not required, and these may include IELTS taken at any of the 1000+ IELTS test locations.

4 IELTS can be used where IELTS Life Skills is used; candidates would need to get 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening (scores for Reading and Writing will be ignored).

5 Currently, UKVI will also accept an Ofqual regulated test for this category. The test must cover Speaking and Listening at B1 level.

 

Please note that these changes do not affect the use of IELTS by people from the European Union, European Economic Area, Switzerland and ‘majority English speaking countries’ as defined by the UK Home Office. More information on www.gov.uk/english-language.

 

Can I use any IELTS test result for UK visa application?

If you wish to use an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test result as part of your application for UK visa purposes (apart from some types of student visa), you may need to take the test at an IELTS test centre which is specifically authorised by UK Visas and Immigration for this purpose, and the test must be taken under conditions specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

 

You will receive an IELTS – or IELTS Life Skills – Test Report Form which shows that you have taken your test to meet the UKVI requirements.

 

Where can I take an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test for a UK visa application?

The tests are available throughout the world, in locations specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). See the initial list of dates and locations here. More dates and locations will be added on 20 April 2015 (UK time).

 

How often is an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test available?

For IELTS and IELTS Life Skills, test dates will be available within 28 days of booking your test.

 

How often can I re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?

If you pass IELTS Life Skills, you cannot retake it at the same level for a period of two years. If you do not pass it, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

 

How is my IELTS test different if I take it for UK visa purposes?

The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are only specified by UK Visas and Immigration. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that test takers have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

 

If I take an IELTS test for UK visa purposes, can I use my result in other countries / for other purposes?

Yes. IELTS test results are accepted by more than 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments and employers.

 

I’ve already taken IELTS. Can I still use my result to apply to UK Visas and Immigration?

If you take IELTS on or before 5 April 2015 you may be able to use it for your application up to 5 November 2015. We advise you to confirm this with UKVI before making your application.

 

From 6 April 2015 you must take the test at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI to run IELTS tests for UK visa and immigration purposes and you must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test for these purposes.

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