IELTS test takers' identity verification

At IELTS, we take your security very seriously. Find out how we’ll verify your identity on the day of your test.

To safeguard your identity when taking IELTS, we use a number of verification procedures on test day. Please familiarise yourself with our safety precautions before taking the test. If you’re still unsure about anything, contact your IELTS test centre.

Photographing test takers

On the day of your test, a member of the IELTS team will take your photograph. We’ll use the photo we take on your Test Report Form (TRF). 

PLEASE NOTE: In some countries/territories, you may also be asked to provide a finger scan.

Why do you need to have a photograph taken?

By taking photographs, we can protect genuine test takers against fraudsters and others who try to exploit test takers. These additional security measures also allow us to ensure a higher standard of customer care and help us validate test scores. 

Taking your photo also provides receiving organisations the additional reassurance that the person whose picture appears on the TRF is the person who took the test. 

What will happen to my data?

Your digital photograph and all personal data will be used only for the purpose of the IELTS test. The British Council regards the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as important to our successful operations and to maintaining the confidence of those with whom we deal. This applies to all British Council offices. 

As such, we will ensure that our staff and those acting on our behalf obtain, use and disclose personal information lawfully and correctly. We fully endorse and adhere to the principles of data protection, as set out in the UK Data Protection Act (incorporating the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) to all of our global operations unless the local equivalent law is stronger.

How will the identity verification process affect my test? 

The identity verification process should not disrupt your test; test takers will continue to be processed quickly. You are advised to arrive for registration at the time indicated by your test centre and follow test day instructions.

Do I still need to submit photos when registering for IELTS?

No. You no longer have to submit a photo as part of the application process.

Is the IELTS identity verification procedure similar to that of other tests?

The system we are using is designed solely for the IELTS test and is in line with the IELTS partners’ commitment to customer care, test security, and with the many innovations, we have introduced over the last 20 years. We do not comment on the security procedures of other test providers.  

Can I refuse to take the test day photo?

IELTS identity verification is an integral part of our strategy of protecting genuine test takers and providing security to receiving organisations. If you refuse to take the test day photo, you will not be able to take the test and you will not be eligible for any transfer, cancellation or refund.

Are there any special requirements for the photo taking process?

There is no formal dress code, but remember that the photo taken on test day will be the one that appears on your IELTS Test Report Form. If you wear glasses, you will be asked to remove them for the photograph. Cultural sensitivities have been considered and special arrangements may be in place for female test takers in certain countries/territories.

Does the test day photograph apply to minors?

Every test taker, including minors, must have the test day photo taken without exception. The IELTS test is not recommended for and is not suitable for, anyone under 16.

Is IELTS identity verification the same around the world?

IELTS tests are delivered in more than 140 countries/territories worldwide and the basic identity checks are the same everywhere. The order of the test day identity verification procedure may vary for cultural or operational reasons, and some countries/territories may decide to implement additional security features for local reasons. In some countries/territories, a finger scan is also taken on registration – test centres in these countries/territories will advise test takers about this before they register.