IELTS for UKVI FAQs
©

British Council / Photo by Kenichi Aikawa

Frequently Asked Questions (Test Takers)

Please note:
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 you can apply with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless your institution has additional requirements. See www.ielts.org for a list of test locations.

Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status

IELTS for UKVI

Q. Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa?
A. 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 SELT test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), or the British Embassy or High Commission in your country. There is also a wealth of information on UKVI’s website.

As a guide, you can use Table: Find out which score you need for your visa.

Q. Can I use any IELTS test result for UK visa application?
A. If you wish to use an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test result as part of your application for UK visa purposes (apart from some types of student visa), you may need to take the test at an IELTS test centre which is specifically authorised by UK Visas and Immigration for this purpose, and the test must be taken under conditions specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

You will receive an IELTS – or IELTS Life Skills – Test Report Form which shows that you have taken your test to meet the UKVI requirements.

Q. Where can I take an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test for a UK visa application?
A. The tests are available throughout the world, in locations specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In Japan, test locations for IELTS for UKVI are Tokyo and Osaka only.

Q. When can I take an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test?
A. You can find out more on Test dates and locations.

Q. How often is an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test available?
A. For IELTS and IELTS Life Skills, test dates will be available within 28 days of booking your test.

Q. How often can I re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?
A. There are no restrictions on retaking IELTS. You can register for a test as soon as you feel you are ready to do so.
If you pass IELTS Life Skills, you cannot retake it for a period of two years. If you do not pass it, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

Q. How soon will I get my test report form(TRF)?
A. Test Report Form(TRF) will be posted to you

  • IELTS for UKVI: 13 days after the written test
  • IELTS Life Skills: 6 days after the test

Centres are not permitted to give results over the phone or email or by fax.

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

Q. If I take an IELTS test for UK visa purposes, can I use my result in other countries / for other purposes?
A. Yes. IELTS test results are accepted by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments and employers.

Q. I’ve already taken IELTS. Can I still use my result to apply to UK Visas and Immigration?
A. If you take IELTS on or before 5 April 2015 you should be able to use it for your application up to 5 November 2015, but you must confirm this with UKVI.
From 6 April 2015 you must take the test at an IELTS test centre authorised to run IELTS tests for UK visa and immigration purposes and you must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test for these purposes.

IELTS Life Skills

Q. What is IELTS Life Skills? What is it for?
A. 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.

Q. When and where can I take an IELTS Life Skills test?
A. IELTS Life Skills tests are available throughout the world, in locations specified by UK Visas and Immigration. In Japan, test locations for IELTS Life Skills are Tokyo and Osaka only. More information available on Test dates and locations. To find out whether you need to take an approved test, and what level you need to achieve, please visit GOV.UK for more information.

Q. What is the format of the IELTS Life Skills test?
A. 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.

Q. Why does IELTS Life Skills only cover Speaking and Listening?
A. The new test has been designed to meet specific immigration requirements for which applicants only need to demonstrate speaking and listening skills.

Q. How long does the IELTS Life Skills test take?
A. IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A1 takes 16-18 minutes and Level B1 is 22 minutes.

Q. Is there any break between Speaking and Listening?
A. No. You will be assessed on your Speaking and Listening skills at the same time.

Q. How is IELTS Life Skills assessed?
A. 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

Q. How can I prepare for the IELTS Life Skills test?
A. Free test samples are available at Take IELTS with British Council.

Q. How many copies of IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form will I get?
A. You will receive one copy of the IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form.

Q. How soon will I get my IELTS Life Skills results?
A. IELTS Life Skills test report form will be posted to you 6 days after the test. Centres are not permitted to give results over the phone or email or by fax.

Q. How often is an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test available?
A. For IELTS and IELTS Life Skills, test dates will be available within 28 days of booking your test.

Q. How often can I re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?
A. There are no restrictions on retaking IELTS. You can register for a test as soon as you feel you are ready to do so.
If you pass IELTS Life Skills, you cannot retake it for a period of two years. If you do not pass it, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

Others

Q. I witnessed malpractice or wrongdoing at the British Council test site. What can I do?
A. British Council has zero tolerance for those actions in the examination we do. Please see our SPEAKING-UP POLICY (PDF 32KB) for more details.