Frequently Asked Questions, Visa Information for the UK

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.

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 (previously known as Highly Trusted Sponsors) to study for 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. 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) visa

A1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills

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

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.03 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above (see relevant information above)

B2

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills

Family of a settled person visa

A1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at A1 - Pass

Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2

B1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at B1 - Pass

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 UK Home Office. More information on www.gov.uk/english-language.


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 test dates between 6 – 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, &
• your IELTS test date was 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.

 

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.

The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are only specified by 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. The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

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 between 6-22 April, regardless of the test location.