IELTS test for UK Visas and Immigration

If you make a visa application to stay or move to the UK, you need to be aware of changes made by the United Kingdom Visas & Immigrationexternal icon (UKVI).

In addition to the IELTS General Trainingexternal icon and IELTS Academicexternal icon tests, IELTS for UKVI is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This specific IELTS test can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application.

An IELTS Life Skills score can be used to prove your English Listening and Speaking abilities in support of an application for a UK family visa or settlement.

The IELTS test you take – and the score you need – will depend on both your visa requirements and/or the requirements of the institution where you plan to study or work.

IELTS for UKVI

If you intend to migrate to the UK, and need a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa, it’s likely you need to provide evidence of your English language skills. IELTS for UKVI is probably for you.

Read more about IELTS for UKVI

IELTS Life Skills

If you intend to take the family route to the UK as a spouse/partner/parent, it’s likely you need to provide evidence of your English. IELTS Life Skills is probably for you.

Read more about IELTS Life Skills

Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa?

Use the UK Government visa check listexternal icon to find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use. You can also check the section below that applies to your visa tier. Just remember: UK Visas and Immigration rules can change, so you should always check with them before you book your test.

Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa?

Tier 1 (General) visa

Minimum CEFR level required


  • C1

  • Skills


  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

  • IELTS test and minimum score required overall and in each skill*


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

  • * Both Academic and General Training versions are accepted. The CEFR requirement for each skill must be met.