IELTS tests approved for UK Visas and Immigration

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

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 Academic IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to anyone, irrespective of your subject focus.

The Academic format is, broadly speaking, for those who want to study or train in a university that teaches in English at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or institutions of higher and further education. Many professions (e.g. medical, nursing, accounting, engineering) also require an Academic test result for registration purposes in many countries.  

  • IELTS General Training IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. The General Training version of the test is typically for those who are going to English-speaking countries to do secondary education, work experience or training programs. This version of the test is also often a visa requirement if you are planning to migrate to English speaking countries including Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

If you are taking the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test for UK visa applications, you will need to make sure that the test is taken at a UKVI approved test centre. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests for UK visa applications and non-UK visa applications are the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

IELTS Life Skills

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 certain visa categories and other immigration purposes. It is strongly recommended that you check with the English language requirements with UK Visas and Immigration.

IELTS test and score required for UK visa applications

Please note that if you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre. IDP IELTS test centres are UKVI approved test centres and we offer all the approved IELTS tests for UK visa applications. To register for a test, please visit this page. Before you book your test, we strongly recommend that you check with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on the test that you will be required to submit for your application. Please visit Guidance on applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests for more information. As a guide, you can use the following table:

Visa description (United Kingdom only) CEFR level required Skills IELTS test and score required
Tier 1 (General) visa C1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (General) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa A1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa B2 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – below degree level(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.) B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 4.03 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – degree level and above(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.) B2 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS – 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills
Family of a settled person visa A1 Speaking and Listening IELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2 B1 Speaking and Listening IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass

1IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.

2 UKVI will accept a test on the SELT list or an Ofqual regulated test for this immigration category. The test must cover Speaking and Listening at B1 level.

3 Scores mentioned above for TIER 4 categories are the requirement of UKVI. Universities and colleges may require a higher band score for the course that you are applying for. Please check with them on the band score requirement for your course.

Please note that these changes do not affect the use of IELTS by people from the European Union, European Economic Area, Switzerland and ‘majority English speaking countries’ as defined by the UK Home Office (https://www.gov.uk/english-language).

Important note for Tier 4 Student Visa

This recent visa change does not apply to Tier 4 student visa. 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 check with the institution that you are applying to for their admission requirement. Visit: Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status

IELTS Life Skills – Speaking and Listening

How to register

How to register for IELTS Life Skills – Speaking and Listening

From April 2015 IELTS Life Skills will be available at this test centre. To find a suitable test date and register for an IELTS Life Skills test, please visit this page.

What’s in the test?

Overview

IELTS Life skills is for the people who need to show their English speaking and listening skills at Common Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) lvels A1 or B1

  • If you are applying to UK Visas and Immigration for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, IELTS Life Skills A1 is the test for you.
  • If you are applying to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship, IELTS Life Skills B1 is the test for you.

IELTS  Life Skills

A1

Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK visas and immigration for ‘Family of settled person’ visas

IELTS Life Skills

B1

Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

Face-to-face Speaking and Listening test

You will take the test with an examiner, and with one other test taker. The tasks in IELTS Life Skills are designed to reflect the everyday experience of communicating in an English-speaking country. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects including:

  • personal details/experiences
  • family and friends
  • buying goods
  • work
  • health
  • leisure
  • education/training
  • transport
  • housing
  • weather

The focus of IELTS Life Skills

At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people.

A1  
Focus: You will be expected to:
  • listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
  • talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.
Tasks may include:
  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  • asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting
B1
Focus: You will be expected to:
  • listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions.
  • communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality.
  • talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.

 

In addition to the A1 tasks shown above, the B1 tasks may include:
  • comparing
  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility

Find out more about IELTS Life Skills Guide for test takers and agents.

How to prepare

Preparing for IELTS Life Skills

FAQs

How will I be assessed in the test?

You will be assessed on your ability in four key areas:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion

At times during the test, you will be allowed to take notes to prepare your answers. The examiner will not mark your notes – only your speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

At what level is IELTS Life Skills?

IELTS Life Skills is available at A1 and B1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is an international standard used around the world to describe learners’ language skills.

What happens during the test?

There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills:

  • In the first part, you are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.
  • The second part is a combined listening and speaking task.

o   At A1 and B1 level, you will listen to a task played on a CD.

o   Completing the task allows you to show your ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.

o   You will say your answers, although you can makes notes on paper while you listen to the CD.

o   There will then be a discussion on a theme related to what you have listened to on the CD.

  • Additionally at B1 level, there is also a task where you plan an activity with the other candidate.

Why do I take the test with another candidate?

IELTS Life Skills tests how well you can communicate with other people in everyday English. The best way to test these skills is to pair test takers at a similar level of ability, so you can show how well you can speak English to communicate and engage in discussion with others.

How long is the test?

For IELTS Life Skills, you only need to attend one short session to complete the test. The times allowed for each level are:

  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening : 16–18 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening: 22 minutes.

Free support materials

Sample Papers Level Files
IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper A A1 Download now (PDF, 4MB)
IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample A A1 Play now (MP3, 657KB)
     
IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper B A1 Download now (PDF, 4MB)
IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample B A1 Play now (MP3, 661KB)
     
IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper A B1 Download now (PDF, 391KB)
IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample A B1 Play now (MP3, 1MB)
     
IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper B B1 Download now (PDF, 391KB)
IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample B B1 Play now (MP3, 1MB)

Test dates

Test dates for IELTS Life Skills

To find a suitable test date and register for an IELTS Life Skills test, please visit this page.

Results

Results for IELTS Life Skills tests

Test results are normally available within seven (7) days of your test. You will get one of two results:

  • Pass
  • Fail

A fail result means that you have not been successful and your test cannot be used for your visa application.