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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 & Immigration (UKVI). If you’re applying for Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas to the UK, this is the test for you.

IELTS Academic for UKVI and IELTS General Training for UKVI are designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by the UK Home Office. The actual test taken is the same as IELTS (for all other purposes), same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

The difference is in the test taker journey on the test day. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that you have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.

Please note that IELTS for UKVI test in New Zealand is now computer-delivered.

Which IELTS for UKVI test do I need?

IELTS for UKVI Academic

  • Applicable for test takers who want to study at Undergraduate or Post-graduate levels in the UK.

  • Applicable for test takers who seek professional registration in the UK.

IELTS for UKVI General Training

  • Applicable for test takers willing to migrate to the UK under certain visa categories.

  • Applicable for test takers who want to train or study below degree level.

It is important to note that although the test formats are the same, the IELTS and IELTS for UKVI tests are different types of tests -- the IELTS for UKVI test is meant for UK visa applications and must be taken at a UKVI-approved test centre.

What is IELTS Life Skills?

When it comes to taking an IELTS test for your UK visa application, there is another test available called the IELTS Life Skills test.

IELTS Life Skills is specifically designed for people who are required to prove their speaking and listening ability as part of their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) application.

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.

  • IELTS Life Skills is for people who need to prove their English listening and speaking skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Levels A1 or B1.

  • There are two tests available: IELTS Life Skills A1 and IELTS Life Skills B2.

Read more about IELTS Life Skills

What are the different IELTS for UKVI tests you can take?

IELTS for UKVI has a number of test options available. Depending on the visa you require you may take any of the following tests:  

  • IELTS Academic for UKVI   

  • IELTS General Training for UKVI   

  • IELTS Life Skills A1

  • IELTS Life Skills B1   

Remember to double-check as to which IELTS test applies to you and what band scores you will need to achieve using the UK Government visa checklist.

Where can I take the IELTS for UKVI test in New Zealand?

IELTS for UKVI (IELTS for UKVI Academic and General, and IELTS Life Skills A1 and B1 tests) are currently only available in New Zealand in:

If you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only do so at approved test centres. These UKVI-approved test centres meet the administrative requirements outlined by the UK Home Office.

How much does IELTS UKVI cost?

In New Zealand, the IELTS UKVI test costs $460. The price for the exam is the same whether you take the UKVI Academic or UKVI General Training test.

Read how to book an IELTS test for the UK

What is the difference between an IELTS test and an IELTS for UKVI test?

You need to specifically take an IELTS for UKVI General Training or IELTS for UKVI Academic test to apply for your UK visa. You cannot use your IELTS General Training or IELTS Academic scores to apply for a UK Visa. It must be specified as an IELTS for UKVI test.

The IELTS for UKVI tests are taken at a UKVI approved test centre and must meet the administrative requirements outlined by the UK Home Office. To show that the test was taken in a UKVI approved test centre, the Test Report Form (TRF) will look slightly different. Nevertheless, the test format of IELTS for UKVI is the same as the other IELTS tests: content, format, scoring and level of difficulty.

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What is IELTS UKVI? If you're planning to move to the UK, you will need to take a specific IELTS for UKVI test. Learn more about this test.

Frequently asked questions

Prepare for your IELTS UKVI test

Download the free official sample tests to help you prepare for your IELTS UKVI Academic or General Training test.