IELTS for UK Visas & Immigration


The United Kingdom is a preferred destination amongst those aiming to pursue higher studies or work opportunities abroad. Numerous people from all around the world enter the UK every year to work or study at one of its globally revered universities. If you are originally from a non-English speaking country and are applying for a UK visa, you will have to fulfil the required English language qualifications by taking one of the tests listed among the Secure English Language Tests (SELT tests) determined by the UK Home Office. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is among the widely accepted tests for getting a UK visa. Read this blog to know about the different types of IELTS for UK visas and find the right one which suits your visa requirements!

Types of IELTS

The IELTS is one of the most popular English language proficiency exams amongst international students as it is widely accepted by top universities around the world. It is also among the globally preferred English proficiency tests required for migration and work purposes. The IELTS aims to test your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the English language. There are two types of IELTS exams:

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic is for students aiming to pursue higher studies abroad. It aims to assess your proficiency in the English language to determine if you are qualified to study a course taught in the language at a global university. The IELTS academic test has 4 sections, one each for evaluating your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in English.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training is for those who wish to migrate to any English speaking country abroad for work or training purposes. The focus of the test is on the basic language and communication skills needed to survive in a broader social or work context. Although the speaking and listening sections of the IELTS general training test are similar to the IELTS academic test, the reading and writing sections are different. 


If you wish to take the IELTS for UK, i.e., to support your student or work visa application, you need to take the IELTS for UKVI (United Kingdom Visa and Immigration) which is approved by the UK home office. IELTS for UKVI comprises IELTS Academic, General as well as IELTS Life Skills (for those who need to provide the proof of their English speaking and listening skills for the visa application). If you are applying for a family permit or a work visa for the UK, you need to opt for the IELTS General Training Test for UKVI. Similarly, for applying for a study visa to pursue any undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral level course at any of the universities in the UK, you will have to take the IELTS Academic for UKVI.

To know more about the visa requirements, check out our detailed blog on UK Visa Application!

Difference between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI

You must be wondering what is the difference between an IELTS exam or IELTS for UKVI? Well, the tests are totally similar in terms of difficulty level, content, the format of the exam, timing, scoring etc. The main difference lies in the Test Report Form (TRF) that you will get after completing the test. It will specifically mention that you have taken the IELTS for UKVI. Additionally, the IELTS for UKVI can only be taken at UKVI approved centres.

Also, you don’t specifically need to take the IELTS Academic for UKVI to be eligible to study at any university in the UK, you can pursue an undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD level course in the UK by qualifying for the standard IELTS academic as well. But, in such a case, you will have to be sure about meeting the minimum requirements in terms of scores as asked for by the university of your choice, otherwise, you will have to retake the exam till you achieve the required scores. Taking the IELTS for UK (academic) is more advantageous for the fact that even if you do not meet the exact criteria for IELTS scores as asked by a university, you won’t need to retake the test. Instead, you will only need to take a pre-sessional English course. 

Leverage Edu Rockstars

Thus, we hope that this blog cleared all your doubts regarding IELTS for UK and helped you find the exam suited for your immigration purposes. Gearing up for IELTS? Leverage Live offers exclusive online classes and doubt clearance sessions by certified IELTS experts along with premium study materials to ensure that you get your dream score! Sign up for a free demo session with us today!

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