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IELTS Test for United Kingdom Visa & Immigration

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

The IELTS Test is the first among the Secured English Language Tests that is accepted by United Kingdom Visa & Immigration to allow students to study in UK. The IELTS Test for UKVI has two modules, Academic & General Training. Depending on the educational and professional need of a candidate, he or she can choose to take either IELTS Academic test for UKVI or IELTS General Training test for UKVI. Both modules have the same four components, i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

IELTS Academic

The assessment of English language proficiency for IELTS Academic candidates will be focused on academics and higher learning. The components are designed to be susceptible to anyone regardless of one’s educational experience 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

The assessment of English language proficiency for IELTS Academic candidates will be focused on practicality and everyday life events. 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.

The test format of the IELTS Test for UKVI and IELTS Test for non-UKVI are the same, i.e. same content, same examiner, same level of difficulty and so on. As the IELTS Test Format is the same for both UKVI and non-UKVI IELTS Test, it is the candidate’s responsibility to find out if the IELTS Test Centre is UKVI approved IELTS Test Centre or not.

IELTS Life Skills

IELTS Life Skills is a specialized test that is different from the IELTS Test for UKVI as it assesses the candidate’s English language proficiency in two components only, Speaking & Listening. There are two levels of the IELTS Life Skills test, which are CEFR Level A1 and CEFR Level B1, where CEFR stands for Central European Framework of Reference for languages. Based on the requirements from UK Visa & Immigration, you can take the IELTS Life Skills test on either of these levels.

You will take the test with an examiner, and with one other test taker. IELTS Life Skills assesses how well you can communicate with other people in everyday English. The best way to test these skills is to pair test takers at a similar level of ability, so you can show how well you can speak English to communicate and engage in discussion with others.

The tasks in IELTS Life Skills are designed to reflect the everyday experience of communicating in an English-speaking country. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects including: personal details/experiences, family and friends, buying goods, work, health, leisure, education/training, transport, housing, weather, etc. The assessment criteria of your English language ability are divided in four key areas: obtaining information, conveying information, speaking to communicate, engaging in discussion.

For IELTS Life Skills, you only need to attend one short session to complete the test. The times allowed for each level are:

  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening – 16–18 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening – 22 minutes

There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills test:

  • In the first part, you are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.
  • The second part is a combined listening and speaking task.
  • At A1 and B1 level, you will listen to a task played on a CD.
  • Completing the task allows you to show your ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.
  • You will say your answers, although you can makes notes on paper while you listen to the CD.
  • There will then be a discussion on a theme related to what you have listened to on the CD.

Additionally at B1 level, there is also a task where you plan an activity with the other candidate.

At times during the test, you will be allowed to take notes to prepare your answers. The examiner will not mark your notes – only your speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

The focus of IELTS Life Skills

At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people.

A1 Speaking and Listening
Focus Tasks
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • Communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
  • Talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics
  • Describing
  • Giving opinions
  • Giving personal information
  • Stating preferences
  • Commenting
  • Asking for information or descriptions
  • Agreeing and disagreeing
  • Explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • Deciding
  • Suggesting
  • Selecting
B1 Speaking and Listening
Focus Tasks
  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions
  • Communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality
  • Talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics
  • Comparing
  • Showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • Prioritising
  • Planning
  • Persuading
  • Narrating
  • Asking about past or future events
  • Expressing future certainty or possibility

Test results are normally available within six (6) days of your test. You will get one of two results:

  • Pass
  • Fail

A fail result means that you have not been successful and your test cannot be used for your visa application.

IELTS test and score required for UK visa applications

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 for more information.

As a guide, you can use the following table:

UK Visa Application IELTS Test Score Requirements
Visa description (United Kingdom only) CEFR level required IELTS test and score required Skills tested
Tier 1 (General) visa C1 IELTS – 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa B1 IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa B1 IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa B1 IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 2 (General) visa B1 IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa A1 IELTS – 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa B2 IELTS – 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 4 (General) student visa – below degree level(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.) B1 IELTS – 4.03 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Tier 4 (General) student visa – degree level and above (Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.) B2 IELTS – 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening
Family of a settled person visa A1 IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass Speaking and Listening
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2 B1 IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass Speaking and Listening

 

  • IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1
  • 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.
  • Scores mentioned above for Tier 4 categories are the requirement of UKVI. Universities and 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

 

Important note for Tier 4 Student Visa

The 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  for a list of institutions licensed to sponsor migrant students under Tier 4.

Test Dates for UKVI Approved IELTS Tests

Led young College, IELTS Test Centre no longer takes the IELTS Test for UKVI or IELTS Life Skills tests.

For test dates, fees and to register for the UKVI IELTS or Life Skills test, please visit  or contact,

IDP Education (Canada) Ltd
2300 Yonge Street, Suite 2020
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1E4 Canada

Tel:  647-96-IELTS (647-964-3587) 
Email: [email protected]