Frequently Asked Questions (Test Takers)
IELTS used for UK Visas and Immigration
Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa application?
If you are applying for a UK visa, there is an IELTS test for you.
For visa applications to the UK, you may need to have an English language qualification. IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are included on both the UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (referred to as SELT tests by UK Home Office) and the OFQUAL register. It is recommended you check all visa requirement information directly with the UK government website. 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). For more information, please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests.
As a guide, you may refer to the table on here.
What do I need to do if I am applying to study at a British university or college?
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 that you do not need to take the IELTS test under UKVI specified condition, unless your institution has required you to. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students for more information.
Can I use any IELTS test result for UK visa application?
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
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 of booking your test. The frequency of IELTS and IELTS Life Skills testing for UK visa and immigration purposes varies by location.
How often can I re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?
There are no restrictions on retaking IELTS. You can register for a test as soon as you feel you are ready to do so.
For IELTS Life Skills candidates ONLY - Candidates who have previously taken the IELTS Life Skills test and have passed are not allowed to re-take the test at the same level within two years. E.g: a candidate who has taken an IELTS Life Skills A1 test and has passed cannot take another Life Skills A1 test within two years. Similarly a candidate who has taken an IELTS Life Skills B1 test and has passed cannot take another Life Skills B1 test within two years.
How is my IELTS test different if I take it for UK visa purposes?
The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are 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 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 you take IELTS on or before 5 April 2015 you may be able to use it for your application up to 5 November 2015. We advise you to confirm this with UKVI before making your application.
From 6 April 2015 you must take the test at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI 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 UK Visas and Immigration.
For more information on IELTS Life Skills, please visit IELTS Life Skills
IELTS Life Skills
What is IELTS Life Skills? What is it for?
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 people applying:
- As Family of a settled person visa
- For indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship
To find out whether you need to take the IELTS Life Skills test and the level you need to achieve, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For more information, please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests.
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 Speaking and Listening test based on the following criteria:
- obtaining information
- conveying information
- speaking to communicate
- engaging in discussion
The performance of the other test taker paired with you in IELTS Life Skills test does not affect the assessment of your own performance
How can I prepare for the IELTS Life Skills test?
Free test samples will be available here shortly.
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 seven (7) days of your test.
For more information on IELTS Life Skills, please visit IELTS Life Skills.