|EE-029| What is the IELTS UKVI? – Common questions and some information.

Hello Exam Seekers,

A while ago, I posted a text telling you the differences between the TOEFL and the IELTS. When looking for proficiency exams to assess their level of English, many people come across these two exams. So I  said that it depends on some factors:

1. Why do you want these exams in the first place?

Is it for academic purposes? Is it to get a promotion or a better job position/salary? Is it to migrate to another country? Is it to take a course or high school abroad?

2. What exam does the institution you wish to enroll in require?

Do they require TOEFL? Do they ask for an IELTS? Are they in Europe or in America?

3. What is the minimum score?

Which grade does the institution or the program require from you? What is the mark expected?

Before enrolling in one or the other, you must have the answers to these questions clear in your mind because it makes the difference.

Both TOEFL and IELTS can help you with a variety of life choices, like moving abroad, getting the job you’ve always wanted, or even just improving your English language skills. But, some institutions and places require specific certifications.

Cover for the IELTS UKVI from British Council

What is the IELTS UKVI, and why do I need one?

If you plan to live in the United Kingdom or work in the UK, you might be looking for the IELTS UKVI. It is an acronym for International English Testing System – United Kingdom Visa and Immigration.

IELTS for UKVI is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that it is a regular IELTS, but they are taken under extra security measures to guarantee no fraud. For instance, the only documents accepted for registration are your passport and the official ID used in your county. You also have to register your biometric information; then, when taking the test, they take a picture of you and check your biometrics. Moreover, all your tests are recorded.

If you want some more information about the SELT, take a look at the UK Government website. They provide you with a range of information about the documentation needed and accepted and the documents (the SELTA unique reference number) given after you pass the test.

Which IELTS is best for me?

As I mentioned before, you must know the reason for taking a specific test so that you sit for the right one. Look at the image below and check the exam that meets your needs:

Choose your IELTS test/exam
Which IELTS is the best option for you?

For you to be sure which one to take, take a look at the IELTS tests below that are included on the list of SELT tests and have been approved for UK Visas and Immigration purposes:

approved IELTS UK Visas and Immigration SELT tests
Approved IELTS UK Visas and Immigration SELT tests

What is the IELTS UKVI format?

The actual test taken is the same as IELTS tests for all other purposes and includes content, format, scoring, and difficulty level. That means that you will still be assessed in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking as follows:

  • Listening – 40 questions (approximately 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes transfer time);
  • Reading – 40 questions (60 minutes);
  • Writing – 2 tasks (60 minutes);
  • Speaking – 3 parts (11–14 minutes).

However, depending on your purpose, you might not need to take all of the papers.

Table with types of IELTS

Here is are samples of the UKVI test:

For more information about the IELTS content (format), read What is the IELTS? – An overview.

Do I get a certificate?

Yes, you do. Everyone taking the IELTS gets a similar certificate. However, the Test Report Forms for the UKVI are slightly different to show that you have taken the test at a UKVI approved test center.

IELTS UKVI certificate - sample
IELTS UKVI certificate – sample

How can I practice for the UKVI?

The BritishCouncil.org offers some tests for you to practice. Check the links below:

  • UKVI Reading practice test: the Academic Reading question types in IELTS for UKVI (Academic) are the same as in the paper-delivered test. For each question, click on the link and follow the instructions.
  • UKVI Writing practice test: the Academic Writing question types in IELTS for UKVI (Academic) are the same as in the paper-delivered test.

Where can I register for the IELTS UKVI?

You can go and check the British Council website from your country. They offer information related to places and prices. Or, download the brochure below:

If you want more information about the IELTS UKVI, comment in the comment section below!


That’s it for today! Please like the post and follow the blog on:

You can also listen to this post at Anchor!!!

Have a great week,
Patricia Moura


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