IELTS test for UK Visas and Immigration
On 20 February 2015, the UK government announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes.
If you make a visa application to stay or move to the UK, you need to be aware of changes made by United Kingdom Visas & Immigration (UKVI).
What are the changes?
If you are going to or staying in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you.
In addition to the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests, which you may already know of, a new test called IELTS Life Skills will be introduced.
IELTS Life Skills test will be introduced for candidates who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at levels A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This will be a single test covering speaking and listening skills.
For more information on the UK Visas and Immigration, please visit Guidance on applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests
When will this change take place?
The change in the UK government policy will be effective from 6 April 2015. Until 5 April 2015, you can sit an IELTS test anywhere in the world and the result can be submitted to UKVI with your application until 5 November 2015.
IELTS tests approved for UK Visas and Immigration
IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training
The IELTS test you take – and the score you need – will depend on both your visa requirements and/or the requirements of the institution where you plan to study or work.
· IELTS Academic
IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to anyone, irrespective of your subject focus.
The Academic format is, broadly speaking, for those who want to study or train in a university that teaches in English at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or institutions of higher and further education. Many professions (e.g. medical, nursing, accounting, engineering) also require an Academic test result for registration purposes in many countries.
· IELTS General Training
IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. The General Training version of the test is typically for those who are going to English-speaking countries to do secondary education, work experience or training programs. This version of the test is also often a visa requirement if you are planning to migrate to English speaking countries including Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
If you are taking the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test for UK visa applications, you will need to make sure that the test is taken at a UKVI approved test centre. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests for UK visa applications and non-UK visa applications are the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.
IELTS Life Skills
IELTS Life Skills is a test of Speaking and Listening, available at CEFR Level A1 and CEFR Level B1. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.
For more information about IELTS Life Skills, please visit www.ielts.az/uk/lifeskills
It is strongly recommended that you check with the English language requirements with UK Visas and Immigration.
IELTS test and score required for UK visa applications
Please note that if you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre.
Before you book your test, we strongly recommend that you check with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on the test that you will be required to submit for your application. Please visit Guidance on applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests for more information.
As a guide, you can use the following table:
(United Kingdom only)
|CEFR level required||Skills||IELTS test and score required|
|Tier 1 (General) visa||C1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa||B1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa||B1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa||B1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 2 (General) visa||B1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa||A1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa||B2||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills|
Tier 4 (General) student visa - below degree level(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.)
|B1||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 4.03 overall, and for each of the four skills|
Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.)
|B2||Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening||IELTS - 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills|
|Family of a settled person visa||A1||Speaking and Listening||IELTS Life Skills at A1 - Pass|
|Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2||B1||Speaking and Listening||IELTS Life Skills at B1 - Pass|
1IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.
2UKVI will accept a test on the SELT list or an Ofqual regulated test for this immigration category. The test must cover Speaking and Listening at B1 level.
3 Scores mentioned above for TIER 4 categories are the requirement of UKVI. Universitiesand colleges may require a higher band score for the course that you are applying for. Please check with them on the band score requirement for your course.
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 (https://www.gov.uk/english-language).
Important note for Tier 4 Student Visa
This recent visa change does not apply to Tier 4 student visa. Those who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) to study 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. This means that you do not need to take the IELTS test under UKVI specified condition, unless your institution has required you to.
Please check with the institution that you are applying to for their admission requirement. Visit: