Until April 2015, there was only one form of International English Language Testing System (IELTS). From this date, the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration, previously known as the UK Border Agency, has introduced a version of IELTS to meet certain administrative requirements.
The introduction of IELTS for UKVI is to meet some internal administrative prerequisite of the UK Visa and Immigration or the Home Office. The changes are only in the registration process, the test centres, the cost of the test and the test report form (the certificate). The IELTS for UKVI has three modules namely academic, general training and life skills. The content of the test, the format, marking, the ownership and the administrator, however, remain the same as that of the original IELTS which is now known as the standard IELTS.
In short, IELTS for UKVI (Academic & General Training) is taken if one has the UK as one their preferred study or employment destinations and the Standard IELTS (Academic & General Training) is accepted by institutions everywhere except the UK visa and immigration (Home Office)
Generally, if you are looking to work or study in the UK, you may need to apply for a UK Visa and demonstrate that you have met the required level of English by taking a Home Office approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), such as IELTS for UKVI (Academic and General Training) or IELTS Life Skills.
What is the difference in test format between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI?
There is no difference in the test format between IELTS (Academic/General Training) and IELTS for UKVI (Academic/General Training). The test is the same in terms of content, format, level of difficulty and scoring. However, the Test Report Forms, which contain your results, will be slightly different to show that you have taken the test at an official IELTS UKVI location approved by the UK Home Office.
Which test format should I take?
If you are a student, please check with your university/college/ school which test you need before booking.
If you are applying for a Student Visa (Tier 4) at a higher education institution to enter directly onto a bachelor or postgraduate degree at a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor, you must meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS Academic results. This means you may not need to take an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test but can submit an IELTS Academic result.
If you are NOT a student, please check which test format you need with the organisations you are applying to before booking the test.
Taking IELTS for UKVI with the British Council
IELTS for UKVI (Academic and General Training) tests and IELTS Life Skills are taken at a UKVI approved test centre. British Council has UKVI approved venues across the world.
IELTS for UKVI (Academic)
Take this test if the university or organisation you are applying to has requested that you take the IELTS for the UKVI (Academic) test. This test is available in Accra only.
IELTS for UKVI (General Training)
This test is for those who want to train or study below degree level in the UK. It can also be used to work or undertake work-related training or emigrate to the UK. This test is available in Accra only.
IELTS Life Skills
IELTS Life Skills is an English test for people who need to prove only their speaking and listening skills at Levels A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for the purpose of applying for a UK Visa.
IELTS Life Skills is available at two levels:
IELTS LIFE SKILLS A1
Take this test if you need to prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for ‘family of a settled person’ visas. The IELTS Life Skills test is available in Accra only.
IELTS LIFE SKILLS B1
Take this test if you need to prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship. The IELTS Life Skills test is available in Accra only.