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Mat Wright

If you are applying for a UK visa in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you. For visa applications to the UK, you may need to have an English language qualification.  

In particular, for many categories of visa, you must submit an English language qualification which is included on the UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (often referred to as SELT tests). IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are on this list.

To find out whether you need to take an approved SELT test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), or the British Embassy or High Commission in your country. There is also a wealth of information on UKVI’s website.

As a guide, you can use the following table:

Visa description                             

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 - 4.0* 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

ONLY WHEN REQUIRED

B1

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills

Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above

ONLY WHEN REQUIRED

B2

Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening

IELTS - 5.5 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 citizenship**

B1

Speaking and Listening

IELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass

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

**. 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.

***. 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.