Last updated: 18 July 2018

Who we are 

British Council is a proud co-owner of IELTS.  

This Privacy Statement describes how we collect and use your personal information that we obtain when you apply to sit an IELTS test. 

Data shared amongst the IELTS partners

IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. 

IELTS test centres managed by the British Council exist in more than 100 countries in over 800 test locations, across the world.

IELTS may share any relevant information from your IELTS application or test with the other IELTS partners (The British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English) for purposes such as administering the IELTS test, reviewing IELTS test results for statistical and fraud detection purposes, or accommodating changes in your preference as to test centre location.

The IELTS partners may forward any enquiries you have to the other joint partner of the IELTS test (The British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English) in accordance with your expressed preference (e.g. when you make a general enquiry about IELTS or about sitting an IELTS test).

Types of Information collected: 

For IELTS testing

If you apply to undertake, or have undertaken, an assessment service provided by, or through, the IELTS partners we will collect personal details such as name, postal and email addresses, date of birth, gender, contact details, languages, country of nationality, residency status, education qualifications, national identity card number, passport details, employment history occupation, information required for visa application and professional memberships.

This will include copies of documents you provide to us as proof of identity – e.g. copies of your passport or national identity card, proof of citizenship or photographs of you when you apply to sit the IELTS test.

We may also hold sensitive information about individuals including:

  • medical information (which you may provide to obtain special consideration in relation to your testing);
  • biometric information for IELTS test takers who provide a finger scan as part of the Identity Authentication Management (IAM) for the IELTS test (a copy of - your finger scan is held in the form of a Binary Large Object (BLOB); and 
  • racial or ethnic origin (from information on your country of origin).  

In the case of individuals who have completed an assessment service provided by, or through, the IELTS partners, results achieved by the individual will also be held.

In other dealings with the IELTS partners:

We may also collect personal details such as name, postal and email addresses, contact details, languages, country of nationality, education qualifications, occupation, and professional memberships if you:

  • register your interest in being engaged as consultants, or individuals who have been, or are currently, engaged as consultants on projects/programs managed by the IELTS partners (or the IELTS partners together with other organisations); and
  • register to participate in an event organised, managed or presented by the IELTS partners, whether in its own right, or under contract for another organisation.
  • provide your contact information to receive information on the services we provide on IELTS and IELTS related product and services.


We collect your personal information to allow us to: 

  • administer your IELTS test;
  • inform you of and provide you with information on the services we provide (including events and opportunities to participate in projects/programs);
  • use your information in an anonymous form, for informational, research, statistical and training purposes for the development of Cambridge Assessment English examinations;
  • manage our internal business operations; and
  • respond to your questions.

Legal basis for processing your personal data 

We will only process personal data where we have a lawful basis to do so. The basis for processing your personal data varies depending on the activity we collected it for. In some occurrences, we may have more than one lawful basis for processing.

The information below summarises the basis on which the IELTS partners  process personal information:


IELTS partners process personal data which is necessary for the performance of a contract for your IELTS test. This includes, but not limited to, IELTS registration, identity checks, test administration.

Legal obligation

IELTS partners process personal data which is necessary to comply with legal obligations. This includes, but not limited to, providing personal information to regulators, law enforcement agencies and statutory bodies.

Legitimate interest

IELTS partners process personal data in order to meet our legitimate interests as a global provider of the IELTS test. This includes, but is not limited to responding to general enquiries, supporting test takers, preventing fraudulent activity and improving our services.


IELTS partners process personal data where you have provided your consent to do so. For example where your personal data is used for Marketing purposes.  You may withdraw consent at any time.

Special Category personal data (also known as sensitive personal data) processing

IELTS partners will process Special Category personal data under the following legal bases:

Explicit consent 

IELTS partners process personal data with your explicit consent when you provide a biometric finger scan and also where medical information is provided to support requests for special arrangements to be made in relation to your IELTS testing.

Equality of opportunity monitoring

IELTS partners process special category personal data to monitoring equality of opportunity provision.  Any such outputs from this processing would be aggregated and not identify specific individuals.

Special category data will only be shared on a strict need to know basis in line with the individual IELTS partner security policy.

Recipients of personal data 

We also use other organisations to process your personal information in order to carry out services on our behalf.

We use them to:

  • Provide customer service, surveys and marketing
  • Personalise our services
  • Process payments
  • Carry out fraud and other legal investigations

Where we use another organisation, we make sure that your personal information is protected and remains in our control. 


The IELTS partners may disclose the relevant information from your IELTS application or test with: 

  • educational institutions, IELTS test centres, governments (including visa processing authorities), or professional bodies and commercial organisations that recognise IELTS scores
  • with regulatory authorities for verification purposes, to protect the IELTS test and its stakeholders or where legally required;
  • in certain situations, share personal information to government bodies and law enforcement bodies.

Where we do share personal information with these types of organisations we’ll make sure it’s protected, so far as it is reasonably possible.

Retention of personal data

We retain your details for as long as they are needed for the relevant purposes listed in the Purposes section. When retaining information for the purpose of administering the IELTS test

-all test results and records relating to your registration and sitting of the test are held for 3 years after your most recent test result. 

-Finger scan data is retained as a binary large object file for 60 days after your test date.

We may also retain certain records for other legitimate reasons (including after your relationship with the IELTS partner(s) has ended), for example to resolve any potential disputes, to comply with other reporting and retention obligations, or for the prevention of fraud. 

Your rights in relation to your personal data

If you want a copy of the personal data contained in your IELTS application form please contact

If you want a copy of your finger scan, it can only be provided as a Binary Large Object (BLOB) and the request must be made to

For further details on exercising your rights in relation to personal data processed by the IELTS partners please see the links to their individual privacy policies below.

Detailed privacy policies

Each IELTS partner has a detailed privacy policy which give further information on how you can exercise your rights in respect of your personal data under the law.

The privacy and data protection policies of the IELTS partners are detailed as follows:

Website usage and other information collected on this website

By accessing and using this site you consent to the IELTS partners’ Privacy Policy without limitation or qualification. The IELTS partners’ Privacy Policy applies solely to information collected by us and may differ from the policies of other companies’ or organisations’ websites that you link to from this website. We recommend that you read the privacy policy of any other companies’ or organisations’ website that you link to from our website.


3rd party vendor remarketing tracking cookies (like the Google Adwords tracking cookie) are used by the British Council.

Remarketing through the use remarketing tracking cookies or pixels enables us to show ads across the internet to you after you have visited our website.

We do not collect any identifiable information through the use of Google, Facebook or any other 3rd party remarketing system.

The third-party vendors, such as Google and Facebook, whose services we use, will place cookies on web browsers in order to serve ads based on past visits to our website. This allows us to make special offers and continue to market our services to those who have shown interest in our services.

If you do not wish to receive this type of advertising from us in the future you can opt through the links below.

You may opt-out of Google’s use of cookies by visiting the Ads Preferences Manager. Also, you can opt-out of other third-party vendor’s use of cookies by visiting the Network Advertising Initiative opt-out page.

The British Council also uses Google’s DoubleClick’s Remarketing Pixels. You may opt-out of DoubleClick’s remarketing pixels, your privacy policy can instead tell people to opt-out of DoubleClick’s use of cookies by visiting the DoubleClick opt-out page or the Network Advertising Initiative opt-out page.

The British Council also uses Google’s Dynamic Ad Serving. The Dynamic Ad Serving feature uses the Teracent cookie and you may opt-out of the Teracent cookie by visiting this opt-out page.

The British Council may from time to time utilise Facebook Advertising, Facebook Pixel Re-Marketing, and communications. We do this to understand and deliver ads and make them more relevant to you. Cookies also enable us to learn whether someone who saw an ad on Facebook later visited our website. The ultimate control of the dissemination of information gathered through Facebook Advertising, Facebook Pixel Re-Marketing, and communications resides entirely with Facebook. You can opt-out of Facebook’s use of cookies and Facebook Pixel Re-Marketing through settings on your Facebook Account

Walk in visitors or customers of the British Council who leave their contact details with our staff may be remarketed to (online and offline) with information from the British Council. We do not share this information with third parties. If you do not want to receive such information through remarketing please contact us to remove your remarketing database.