IELTS used for UK Visa Applications

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

The UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (often referred to as SELT tests) lists the English language qualification/s required for each category of visa applications to the UK.IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are on this list.
 
Use the UK Government visa checklist to find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use.

Student Visa (without a presessional)

People who are applying for a Student Visa to study a bachelor or postgraduate degree at a licensed student sponsor university are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. Student Visa applicants can apply to the UK universities listed here with an IELTS result from more than 1,600 IELTS test locations worldwide unless the institution has additional requirements.

Changes to UKVI requirements for healthcare professionals

The UK government has changed the rules regarding language testing for healthcare professionals who require a visa to live and work in the UK. If you need to take a language test to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife in the UK, please contact the relevant professional body for advice. Read more.
  
You can also use this table as a guide: 

Visa description Minimum CEFR level required
Skills IELTS test and minimum score required overall and in each skill1
(General) visa C1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 7.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(Exceptional Talent) visa B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(Entrepreneur) visa
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(Graduate Entrepreneur) visa
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(General) visa - in most cases
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(Sportsperson) visa
A1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI 2 – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(Minister of Religion) visa
B2 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills
(General) student visa - below degree level and pre-sessional courses
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
(General) student visa - degree level and above
B2 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
IELTS/IELTS for UKVI3 – 5.5overall, and in each of the four skills

Family route

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parent of a dependant
A1 Speaking and Listening
IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI2 – 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

Family route (extension)

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parent of a dependant
A2 Speaking and Listening
IELTS Life Skills at A2 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI2
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship
B1 Speaking and Listening
IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI2
  
1 Both Academic and General Training versions are accepted. The CEFR requirement for each skill must be met.
2 IELTS for UKVI can be used where IELTS Life Skills is required. Test takers would need to a score of 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening (scores for Reading and Writing will be ignored).
3 Universities on UKVI’s list of licensed student sponsors decide which exams to accept when a Secure English Language test (SELT) is not required. Students should check that the institution they are applying to is on this list, and whether or not there are any additional requirements.

Which IELTS test do I need to study in the UK?

Download the IELTS UKVI Decision-Making document (PDF, 1.4MB) to identify the right IELTS test your 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).

You must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test result for a UK visa application. You must sit the test in an 'IELTS for UKVI' test session, as UKVI will not accept results from other testing locations.
 
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 at permanent locations and quarterly at pop-up locations.
 
How often can I retake IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?

There are no restrictions on retaking the IELTS test. However, if IELTS Life Skills, if you pass the IELTS Life Skills test, 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 IELTS Life Skills test.
 
How is my IELTS test different if I take it for UK visa purposes?

UK visa applicants must ensure that they register for an 'IELTS for UKVI' test date at one of the UKVI locations.

The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specific to UK Visas and Immigration. There are no differences in the test format or questions. The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

Test Report Forms, however, will be slightly different in order to show that test takers have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.
 
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 over 11,000 organizations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments and employers.

Register for IELTS for UK visas and immigration