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Introduction to UKVI IELTS Test

You are typically required to have a minimum level of English language proficiency when applying for a UK visa. You must prove this by providing results of an acceptable English language test taken by an approved testing provider. An example is the IELTS for UKVI test.

You can also choose from other testing options to prove that you meet the English language requirements for your visa. Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office, we are home to the best immigration solicitors who can provide detailed help and guidance on how to meet English language and other requirements for your UK settlement application.

Who Should Take IELTS for UKVI Test?

You must prove that you have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) when applying for most UK visa types. IELTS is one of the approved SELT options. You should take IELTS or another test when applying for the following visas:

  • Student Visa
  • Spouse Visa or Partner Visa
  • British citizenship
  • Parent Visa
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • Sportsperson Visa
  • Innovator Visa
  • Minister of Religion Visa
  • Startup Visa
  • Overseas Business Representative Visa
  • Skilled Worker Visa

You must provide evidence that you have passed SELT on the application when applying for a visa or submitting a UK visa application. If you’re not sure whether or not you are required to take a SELT, you can consult the best immigration solicitors at Adam Bernard’s law office.

Approved English Tests and Test Providers

As noted above, IELTS is one of several approved English tests which you can pass to meet the English language requirements for your specific visa type. The test is conducted by IELTS SELT Consortium.

Other approved SELT providers include LanguageCert, Pearson, and Trinity College London. The SELT offered by LanguageCert is known as International ESOL SELT. Pearson offers SELT testing through PTE Home and PTE Academic UKVI tests. Trinity College London also offers two tests including SELT for UKVI ISE and Graded Examinations in Spoken English.

IELTS is the most popular and common of the approved English tests. If you are applying from outside the UK, it is typically easier to find a designated IELTS centre compared to other approved tests. If you need help with finding an approved centre, the best immigration solicitors at our office can help.

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Structure of a UKVI IELTS Test

For some visa types, you only need to test for speaking and listening skills on the IELTS test. Other visa types require you to provide proof of testing for reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

If you are applying for a Spouse Visa, Partner Visa, Parent Visa, Sportsperson Visa, British citizenship, or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you need to test only for speaking and listening.

If you are applying for a Skilled Worker Visa, Student Visa, Innovator Visa, Startup Visa, or Minister of Religion Visa, you must test for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Depending on your visa requirements, your IELTS test may comprise of two or four sections. Here is a look at these sections.

  • Reading: This section tests your reading skills. It includes three pieces of text taken from contemporary sources. You are asked to summarise, identify specific information, match headings, and other activities during the test. The reading section comprises of 40 questions.
  • Writing: In this section, you are required to write down two texts. One text must be at least 150 words in length. You have 20 minutes to write this piece. The second text must be at least 250 words in length and you get 40 minutes to pen it down.
  • Listening: The listening section comprises of four texts that you listen. Your listening skills are tested to see if you can grasp the attitudes, opinions, and ideas of a speaker as you listen to them. This section lasts 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, you are asked to respond to 40 questions.
  • Speaking: The speaking test lasts for only 11 to 15 minutes. It is in the format of an interview between the test taker and the examiner. This section is broken down into three parts. During the first part, you speak about yourself and your life. The second part involves speaking on a designated topic for two minutes. During the third part, you have a conversation with the examiner on the same topic.
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Examination Fees and Results

The actual fees for an IELTS test depend on the specific type of test you take. If you are taking the IELTS Life Skills test, aiming to fulfil A1, A2, or B1 testing requirements, you must pay a fee of £150. The fee for the IELTS for UKVI test is £195. If you take the IELTS Academic and General Training, the fees are typically between £170 and £195.

You must meet the minimum scoring requirements for your specific visa type to be eligible. Here is a look at the scoring requirements for different types of visas.

Immigration TypeRequired IELTS ScoreEquivalent CEFR ScoreCEFR Level
Student Visa5.5B2Independent
Spouse Visa or Partner Visa4.0A1Basic
British citizenship4.0B1Independent
Parent Visa4.0A1Basic
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)4.0B1Independent
Sportsperson Visa4.0A1Basic
Innovator Visa5.5B2Independent
Minister of Religion Visa5.5B2Independent
Startup Visa5.5B2Independent
Overseas Business Representative Visa4.0A1Basic
Skilled Worker Visa4.0B1Independent
British Citizenship4.0B1Independent


You also need to pass the IELTS Academic exam when applying for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK. The minimum requirement for NMC applications is at least a 6.5 in the writing section, and a 7.0 in speaking, listening, and reading sections. If you fail to meet these minimum requirements, you can’t register with the NMC.

If you are not sure what requirements you must meet for your particular visa or route, the best immigration solicitors at our office can guide you.

Get in touch with our expert UKVI IELTS Test Solicitors today.

When do I Get My Test Results?

It can take a few days for your UKVI IELTS test results to arrive. The actual duration depends on the type of IELTS test you have taken.

If you have taken the IELTS Life Skills test, for instance, you can expect the result on the Wednesday following the test date. If you took the UKVI IELTS test on a computer, the test results will typically arrive within 3 to 5 days. For paper-based tests, you are likely to get the results around 13 days after the test date.

There can be unusual delays in some cases but if much time has elapsed and you have not received your results, it is best to inquire with the authorities. Our UK settlement solicitors can help you with this.

Validity of UKVI IELTS Exam

The UKVI IELTS exam results have a fairly brief validity. The actual results of the exam are valid for only 2 years.

The good news is that you can still use your IELTS results even if they are expired if you are applying to have your immigration status or visa renewed. So when you are applying for UKVI, it doesn’t matter whether or not your IELTS exam results are still valid. You can submit an application even if you have an expired result.

Testing Exemptions

Many people qualify as exemptions when it comes to English language testing requirements. If you qualify as an exempt, you don’t have to take the IELTS test. You are exempt from the SELT requirements if:

  • You are a citizen where English is the national or majority language
  • You have studied in a degree program primarily taught in English
  • You are aged 65 or above
  • You have received the status of a refugee in the UK
  • You are physically or mentally unable to take the exam
  • You have been discharged from HM Forces or are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are coming to UK on humanitarian protection
  • You are aged between 18 and 64, and are an adult dependent of a UK person with settled status, refugee status, or on humanitarian protection
  • You have been granted discretionary leave in the UK
  • Your spouse is a settled person or national in the UK and has died

Other circumstances may also warrant an exemption from the SELT requirements, although you may still need to take the UK citizenship test. You may want to consult the best immigration solicitor to see whether or not you qualify for an exemption.

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