IELTS Requirement by the UK Home Office

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), on 6th April 2015, changed its English language requirements for UK visa and immigration applications. IELTS tests are now one of only two exams included on the UK government list of Secure English Language Tests (SELTs).

UKVI accepts IELTS at levels B1 to C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

IELTS Life Skills is a new test which assesses Speaking and Listening at CEFR level A1 and at CEFR Level B1. IELTS Life Skills can also be used to meet the English language requirements for some classes of visa application, including ‘family of a settled person’ visas and indefinite leave and citizenship.

To be used for visa and immigration purposes, IELTS and IELTS Life Skills must be taken in test centres approved by the UKVI.

Visa Minimum CEFR level required (May 2015) Minimum IELTS score required overall and, in each skill, (May 2015)
Tier 1 (General) visa C1 7.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa B1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa B1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa B1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (General) visa B1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa A1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa B2 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – below degree level B1 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – degree level and above and including some pre-sessional courses B2 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills
‘Family of a settled person’ visa A1  

The actual test taken is the same in content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring, etc. For purposes of a UK visa, the test is designed to meet certain administrative requirements specified by UKVI. These Test Report Forms are slightly different, to show that the test taker has taken the test at an IELTS UKVI session.

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