What is UKVI?

IELTS for UKVI is an official UK government approved English language test that can be used in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application.

The only language qualifications that are accepted by the UK government for your visa application are Secure English Language Tests (SELT tests).


Here is the complete list as of 2020:

IELTS Life Skills provided by IELTS SELT Consortium (A1, A2, B1)


IELTS for UKVI provided by IELTS SELT Consortium (B1, B2, C1, C2)


Integrated Skills in English by Trinity College London (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)


Pearson PTE Home (A1, A2, B1)


Pearson PTE Academic UKVI  (A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)


GESE provided by Trinity College London (A1, A2, B1)


ESOL SELT by LanguageCert International (Speaking & Listening) (A1, A2, B1)


ESOL SELT by LanguageCert International (Speaking, Listening, Reading & Writing) (B1, B2, C1,, C2)

Where can you take IELTS UKVI or Life Skills test for a UK visa application? 


The tests centres are not as widespread as the normal IELTS test centres.


IELTS for UKVI tests have to meet specific administrative requirements outlined by the UK Home Office.

Therefore the test centre has to be a UKVI approved test centre.

In the UK you can find certified UKVI centres following this link.

In India, as of December 2020 you can take the test in Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Goa, New Delhi and Pune.

There are currently 110 UKVI test centres, to find the nearest one to you please use the search here at the official IELTS site. 



IELTS for UKVI (Academic) on computer


You can also take the IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (Academic) on computer at the following locations:

Bangladesh Malaysia Taiwan
Brazil Nigeria Thailand
China Pakistan Turkey
India Philippines UAE
Japan Saudi Arabia United Kingdom
Kuwait South Korea  

The amount of locations is expanding and on this British Council page you can find the most up to date list.


Requirements to work in UK


To work in the UK you need a visa and like Canada and Australia it is all points based.


In summary the more skills or money you can bring to the UK the more points you get.


Also, if the skills you possess are deemed in short supply in the UK then it will be easier. 


If you are just starting your UKVI journey I would recommend taking this UK government produced quiz to determine what visa you need.


What IELTS test score do you need for each visa?


Chart info adapted from the official IELTS UKVI FAQ brochure.


Tier 1 

Graduate Entrepreneur visa


IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 2

General visa


IELTS – 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 2

Sportsperson visa


IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 2

Minister of Religion visa


IELTS – 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills


Tier 4

General student visa – below degree level only when required


IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Please check with the university or college you are applying to because they may require a higher band score for the course you want to start.
Tier 4

General student visa – below degree level only when required


IELTS – 4 overall, and for each of the four skills
Family of a settled person visa IELTS for UKVI - 4.0 in Speaking and Listening
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship IELTS for UKVI - 4.0 in Speaking and Listening

EU workers and Brexit requirements


From 1 January 2021, the UK will start a points-based system whereby EU and non-EU citizens are treated equally.


Skills and talent are prioritised over a person's country of origin.



What are the requirements to study in the UK?

What are the requirements to study in the UK?


There are four visas students can apply for depending on their situation.



- Student visa 


These are available if you are over 16 and have an offer from a licensed student sponsor or have enough money to support yourself.


You will need to be able to speak, read, write and understand English and have consent from your parents if you are 16 or 17. 



- Child Student visa


This is for children between 4 and 17, who want to study at an independent school in the UK. 


They must have access to enough money to support themselves, have an offer from a school and consent from parents.



- Study English in the UK (Short-term study visa)


This visa is for studying English with courses that exceed 6 months, with a maximum of up to 11 months.


This visa costs £186 and also requires a surcharge of £470 so that you can use the NHS while in the UK. 


How much does it cost?


In most cases you are not allowed to work on your student visa so you need to have proof you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK.


The amount will also depend on where you are studying and your circumstances. 


There are also fees related for applying for each visa, and fees for extending or switching visas. 


You will need to pay an NHS surcharge also, as mentioned above. 



Is there a difference in test format between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI?

The content, examiners and the format are all the same as the standard IELTS test.


The Test Report Forms are slightly different to show the test was taken as a UKVI authorised centre. 


On the left you can see that the UKVI test report has a cell which will contain the UKVI centre number.


This number is the only difference between the forms. 


Practice test and resources for UKVI IELTS


Because it's largely the same as the standard IELTS test we recommend these places:


Scribd has lots of practice papers uploaded by former and current IELTS students.


Click here to see the search results.


The official IELTS site is definitely a good place to start, however, the amount of tests there is rather limited. You can find an official sample test here.


We also recommend the official Cambridge IELTS books.


They are said to be more challenging than the actual test.


Due to the cost of the test, over preparation is strongly advised.


Get the latest books from Amazon here.


Ben Worthington is the owner of and has over 350 podcast episodes about IELTS.

Since 2015 we have had over 3 million podcast downloads. The Youtube channel has over 40,000 subscribers.


IELTSPodcast offers an online IELTS course to help students prepare for the IELTS exam. Contact us for help with IELTS writing, speaking and reading.

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