What is IELTS for UKVI
If you are going to or staying in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you. IELTS for UKVI is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), as is the new test, IELTS Life Skills.
An IELTS for UKVI score can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) application.
An IELTS Life Skills score can be used to prove your English Listening and Speaking abilities in support of an application for a UK family visa or settlement.
If you are not making a direct application for a UK visa, you do not need to take IELTS for UKVI at a government-approved location, and you can take IELTS at any of the 1,000 test locations worldwide.
IELTS Life Skills is the test for people who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at Levels A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This will be a single test covering speaking and listening skills.
IELTS tests for UK Visas and Immigration are managed by the IELTS SELT Consortium, which comprises British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. In addition to the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests, a new test called IELTS Life Skills has been introduced.
What IELTS certificate do I need
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 (SELT tests).
The following IELTS tests are on this list and have been approved for UK Visas and Immigration purposes:
This test is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration in the UK.
IELTS General Training
This test is for test takers wishing to migrate to the UK and for those wishing to train or study below degree level.
IELTS Life Skills – B1
This test is for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills as part of their application to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.
IELTS Life Skills – A1 / A2
This test is for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills as part of their application to UK Visas and Immigration for ‘family of a settled person’ visas.
Are you entering a bachelor degree or higher in the UK?
UKVI has confirmed that these changes do not affect you if you are entering directly at degree level or higher at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in the UK. Higher Education Institutions currently choose their own method of testing students’ English language ability for entry onto their courses and this will not change. See ‘Tier 4 Student Visa’ below.
Tier 4 Student Visa (without a pre-sessional)
If you are applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa to enter a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor to study a bachelor or postgraduate degree, you must 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
IELTS (Academic or General Training)
If you’re applying for Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas to the UK, this is the test for you.
IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training for UKVI are designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by the UK Home Office.
The actual test taken is the same as IELTS (for all other purposes), same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.
The difference is in the customer journey on the test day. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that you have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.
IELTS Life Skills
If you’re applying for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship, IELTS Life Skills is the test for you.
IELTS Life Skills is a new test, approved by UKVI as a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
It’s for people who need to show they have speaking and listening skills at Level A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.