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IELTS UKVI Updates

In 2015, the UK government announced important changes to language testing for visa applications. The number of tests accepted for visa purposes were reduced and new requirements were introduced for the way the tests were administered.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), being the world’s most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test for study, work and migration, was also included in the list of approved English language tests for UK visa and immigration (UKVI) applications. 

With effect from April 6, 2015, IELTS for UKVI started being offered all over the year in more than 100 key locations throughout the world, and a new test – IELTS Life Skills – was introduced for those who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Who needs to prove English language proficiency for a UKVI application?

If you are applying to any of the following visa categories, you need a Secure English Language Testing (SELT) score:

  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 4 (General student visa) – For below degree level and pre-sessional courses
  • Tier 4 (General student visa) – For degree level and above 
  • Representative of an overseas business
  • Family Route – Spouse/Partner
  • Family Route – Parent of a dependent
  • Citizenship

Tier 4 Student Visa

If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa (without pre-sessional) to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) to study for a bachelor or postgraduate degree, you will have 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 chosen university or college has additional requirements. You can scroll though the list of authorised test centres here.

Visa Fee

Visa fee may vary depending on the country and visa category. You can check your visa application fee using the fee calculator available on the UKVI official website.

What you should keep in mind

IELTS for UKVI can only be taken at authorised centres and the centre must follow the procedures specified by the UK government. When a test is booked, you must specify the purpose of the test and ensure that the centre is authorised to run tests for the said purpose.

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