• ANNOUNCEMENT of IELTS for UKVI​
  • IELTS TEST for UK Visas and Immigration

The UK government has announced important changes to language testing for visa applications, reducing the number of tests accepted for visa purposes and bringing in new requirements for the way the tests will be administered.

IELTS – the world’s most popular test of English for higher education and global migration – has been approved for all UK visas that require applicants to provide proof of their level of English. This continues the important role which IELTS has long played in language testing for immigration in the UK and other countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Under the new arrangements, IELTS tests for UK visa applications will be offered throughout the year in more than 100 key locations throughout the world, and a new test – IELTS Life Skills – will be introduced for people who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

IELTS tests for visa purposes can only be taken at authorised centres and the centre must follow procedures specified by the UK government. When a test is booked, the customer must specify what the test is for and ensure that the centre is authorised to run tests for this purpose. A list of the authorised IELTS test centres will be updated on www.ieltsessentials.com/uk soon.

IELTS tests for UK Visas and Immigration are managed by the IELTS SELT Consortia, which comprises British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS, which is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment, has played a key role in language testing for immigration purposes throughout its 25 year history and is recognised by more than 9,000 organisations around the world including universities and employers in many countries, as well as by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. More than 2.5 million IELTS tests were taken in 2014 in more than 140 countries.

For further information on the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) announcement, please visit: www.gov.uk

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. is a UKVI approved test centre and we offer all the approved IELTS tests for UK visa applications. To register for a test, please visit: www.ielts.az/testdates

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:

Visa description 

(United Kingdom only)

CEFR level required SkillsIELTS test and score required
Tier 1 (General) visaC1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (General) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visaA1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visaB2Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 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.)

B1Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 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.)

B2Reading, Writing Speaking, and ListeningIELTS - 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills
Family of a settled person visaA1Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at A1 - Pass
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2B1Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at B1 - Pass
  1. IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.
  2. UKVI 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:

Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status