IELTS for the UK

IELTS, the world’s most popular test of English for higher education and global migration, has been approved for all UK visas that require applicants to provide proof of their level of English.

IELTS test for UK Visas and Immigration

If you make a visa application to stay or move to the UK, you need to be aware of changes made by the United Kingdom Visas & Immigration (UKVI).

In addition to the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests, which you may already know of, a new test called IELTS Life Skills has been introduced for people who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

The IELTS test you take – and the score you need – will depend on both your visa requirements and/or the requirements of the institution where you plan to study or work.

IELTS Life Skills

IELTS Life Skills is for people who need to show that their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.

What is the test?

IELTS Life Skills is available at two levels:

  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening. This test is for UK visas and immigration for a “family of a settled person”.
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening. This test is for UK visas and immigration for “indefinite leave to remain or citizenship” visa.

The focus of IELTS Life Skills

  • At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people.

Face-to-face Speaking and Listening tests

  • You will take the test with an examiner, and with one other test taker. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects.

The IELTS Life Skills test formats

A1 Speaking and Listening

You will be expected to:

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • Communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
    Talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.

Tasks may include:

  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  • asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting

B1 Speaking and Listening

You will be expected to:

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives and follow straightforward explanations
  • Communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality
  • Talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.

In addition to the A1 tasks, the B1 tasks may include:

  • comparing
  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility

Test dates for IELTS Life Skills

Please note that if you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre. IDP IELTS Test Centres are UKVI approved test centres and we offer all the approved IELTS tests for UK visa applications. To register for a test, please visit here.

Guidance on applying for a UK visa

Before you book your test, we strongly recommend that you check with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on the test that you will be required to submit for your application. Please visit this page for more information.