IELTS for UKVI Frequently Asked Questions

IELTS for UKVI Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about the IELTS for UKVI tests, the British Council, the booking process and preparing for the IELTS for UKVI test.

The following FAQs relate to the new IELTS test called 'IELTS Life Skills' which is used for certain clases of UK Visa applications:

IELTS used for UK Visas and Immigration

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

If you are applying for a UK visa in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you.

For visa applications to the UK, you may need to have an English language qualification. In particular, 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 (often referred to as SELT tests). IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are on this list.

To find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Check if you need a UK visa.

From March 2016, some IELTS test takers for UK Visas and Immigration will be able to take their IELTS test on computer. A limited number of places will be available at the British Council for IELTS for UKVI (Academic) delivered on computer at a number of locations in the UK, China, Malaysia, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Brazil and Nigeria

Tier 4 Student Visa (without a presessional)

People who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor to study for a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. Tier 4 Student Visa applicants can apply to the UK universities listed here with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless the institution has additional requirements.

 

As a guide, you can use the following table:

Visa description                             

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) visa2

A1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills1

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 and pre-sessional courses

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above2

B2

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills

Family of a settled person visa

A1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass

IELTS – 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship3

B1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass

IELTS – 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

 

  1. IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.
  2. Higher Education Institutions on UKVI’s list of Tier 4 Sponsors decide which exams to accept when a SELT is not required, and these may include IELTS taken at any of the 1000+ IELTS test locations..
  3.  IELTS can be used where IELTS Life Skills is used; candidates would need to get 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening (scores for Reading and Writing will be ignored).

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).

Can I use any IELTS test result for UK visa application?

These changes are effective from 6 April 2015.

To assist with the transition, the UK government has announced they will accept results from all IELTS tests taken on or before 22 April. This means that you can submit your past IELTS results to UKVI if:

  • your visa application requires you to supply results from a Secure English Language Test, and
  • your IELTS test date was on or before 22 April 2015, and
  • your IELTS test was taken at any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations around the world, and
  • you submit your application to UKVI before 5 November 2015.

From 23 April, you will require results from an “IELTS for UKVI” test from one of the locations listed here.

If you require an “IELTS for UKVI” test to meet UKVI’s requirements, then you can register here for upcoming “IELTS for UKVI” tests.

What is the difference between IELTS for UKVI (Academic) delivered on computer and IELTS for UKVI?

There is no difference in the format of the test. In IELTS for UKVI (Academic) delivered on computer the Listening, Reading and Writing components will be taken on a computer, the Speaking component remains face-to-face. All other aspects of the test are identical whether it is taken on paper or on computer. For more information, visit http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ielts-ukvi/academic-delivered-on-computer.

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). See the list of dates and locations here.

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 all IELTS tests offered at these 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 re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?

For IELTS test, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

For IELTS Life Skills, if you pass the 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 test.

How is my IELTS test different if I take it for UK visa purposes?

Separate sessions will be held for UKVI applicants. You must ensure you register for an “IELTS for UKVI” test date at the locations listed here.

The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specific to UK Visas and Immigration. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that test takers have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.

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.

IELTS for UKVI (Academic) delivered on computer is now available at a number of locations in the UK, China, Malaysia, Japan, India, Hong King, Brazil and Nigeria. Test takers who choose the new option will take their Listening, Reading and Writing components using a computer. The Speaking test will remain face to face.

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 more than 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments and employers.

I’ve already taken IELTS. Can I still use my result to apply to UK Visas and Immigration?

If your IELTS test date was on or before 22 April 2015, UKVI will accept your results until 5 November 2015.

From 23 April, UKVI will require you to submit results from an “IELTS for UKVI” test that was completed at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI to run IELTS tests for UK visa and immigration purposes. You must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test result for these purposes.

This FAQ was updated on 9 June 2015, following an announcement from UKVI that it would accept results from all IELTS tests taken on or before 22 April, regardless of the test location.

How can I request an Additional Test Report Form?

You can request up to 5 additional copies of your IELTS for UKVI Test Report Forms to be sent to recognising organisations free of charge.

Please note that candidates are entitled to have one copy of their Test Report Form.

Replacement copies are not issued in the event of loss or damage.

How can I request an Enquiry on Results?

You can choose to have one or more parts of your test re-marked – this is called “Enquiry on Results”. Your test will be reviewed by a Senior Examiner from the British Council. The review will take from 6 to 8 weeks.

The fee for Enquiry on Results is

  • IELTS for UKVI            £100
  • IELTS Life Skills          £75

If your test results improve, you will receive a full refund of the Enquiry on Results fee and you will be issued a new Test Report Form with your new results

If there is no improvement to your original results you will not receive a refund.

Please note that you must make your request within 6 weeks from the date of your test.

Please follow the steps below to apply for Enquiry on Results:

1. Download and complete the Enquiry on Results Form.

2. Make your payment – Please click here for instructions.

3. Send your completed Enquiry on Results Form together with your original Test Report Form to your test centre by post. You can find the address of your test centre here.

Please note that your order will not be processed until the centre receives both the completed Enquiry on Results Form and your original Test Report Form.

4. If there is a change to your results, you will receive a refund of your fee and an updated Test Report Form.

IELTS Life Skills

What is IELTS Life Skills? What is it for?

IELTS Life Skills is a new English Language test offered by the three IELTS Test Partners - British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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.

Which IELTS Life Skills test do I need?

Are you are applying to UK Visas and Immigration for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa?

IELTS Life Skills A1 is the test for you.

Are you applying to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship?

IELTS Life Skills B1 is the test for you.

Life Skills decision matrix

IELTS Life Skills

 A1

Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for ‘family of a settled person’ visas.

IELTS Life Skills

 B1

Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.


When and where can I take an IELTS Life Skills test?

The tests are available throughout the world, in locations specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). See the list of dates and locations here. 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 all IELTS tests offered at these locations.

To find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Check if you need a UK visa.

What is the format of the IELTS Life Skills test?

You take the test with another test taker and one Examiner. Your own performance on both speaking and listening will be assessed during this one session.

Why does IELTS Life Skills only cover Speaking and Listening?

The new test has been designed to meet specific immigration requirements for which applicants only need to demonstrate speaking and listening skills.

How long does the IELTS Life Skills test take?

IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A1 takes 16-18 minutes and Level B1 is 22 minutes.

Is there any break between Speaking and Listening?

No. You will be assessed on your Speaking and Listening skills at the same time.

How is IELTS Life Skills assessed?

A certificated IELTS Examiner will assess your performance throughout the Listening and Speaking test based on the following criteria:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion

How can I prepare for the IELTS Life Skills test?

Prepare for the test with free test samples.

How many copies of IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form will I get?

You will receive one copy of the IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form.

How soon will I get my IELTS Life Skills results?

Test results are normally available within 7 days of your test.

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 re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?

For IELTS test, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

For IELTS Life Skills, if you pass the 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 test.

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Please note:

Those who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS)/ Tier 4 sponsor, 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 you can apply with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless your institution has additional requirements*. Find your nearest IELTS test location here.

Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status/TIER 4 register of sponsor:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students

Contact Us

If you have a question regarding IELTS for UKVI that is not answered here then please drop us an email and we will be only too happy to advise.

 

 

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