IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration

When applying for a UK visa, you may be asked to submit an English language qualification to prove that you have met the requirement of your visa. The IELTS is also included in the list of approved English tests by UK visa and immigration (UKVI). Today I will introduce different versions of the IELTS for UKVI as well as the minimum IELTS score required for each UK visa type.


IELTS Academic or General Training

Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training is accepted by UKVI as a proof of your language level. You can choose either version of the IELTS based on your visa type and the requirement of the institution where you will study or work. If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a higher education institution or Tier 4 Register of Sponsors for a bachelor degree or a postgraduate degree (master and doctorates) , you can take the test at any of the test centers. Otherwise, please make sure that your test is taken at the test centers approved by UKVI. Check out the test format of IELTS Academic and General Training and get prepared with the resources provided on Magoosh IELTS blogs!

IELTS Life Skills at A1/B1

IELTS Life Skills is a new test for two visa types. One is family of a settled person visa and the other is indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship visa. If you are applying for one of these two visa types, this test is for you to prove your English language skills for understanding conversations and communicating with others in daily and social settings. IELTS Life Skills has only two sections: speaking and listening. You will be asked to do some tasks based on several conversations in listening section and you will have a face-to-face conversation with an examiner in speaking section.

IELTS Life Skills has two levels available: A1 and B1. Here are two charts provided by IELTS British Council showing the differences between the focus and tasks of A1 and B1.

IELTS Life Skills A1-magoosh IELTS Life Skills B1-magoosh

If you want to take any version of the IELTS, Book your test on online registration page and follow the instructions.

Visa Types and Language Requirements

If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a higher education institution or Tier 4 Register of Sponsors for a bachelor degree or a postgraduate degree, you have to meet the language requirement of your institution or sponsor. Generally, you need a minimum score of 6.5 or 7 with at least 6.5 in each section. Check the official websites to get information on more specific requirements!

If you apply for other visa types, here’s a chart about the language requirements provided by IELTS Essential!

UK visa and language requirement-magoosh

Note: CEFR level refers to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Check out how it relates to IELTS score.


By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • Kuangyan

    Kuangyan creates IELTS blogs at Magoosh. She is passionate about language education and has a MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from New York University. Kuangyan has experience of teaching English both in China and in US. In her free time, she drinks mocha, does yoga, takes photos and travels to different places to explore the exciting world.

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