IELTS test for UK Visas and Immigration
On 20 February 2015, the UK government announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes. If you make a visa application to stay or move to the UK, you need to be aware of changes made by United Kingdom Visas & Immigration (UKVI).
What are the changes?
If you are going to or staying in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you. In addition to the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests, which you may already know of, a new test called IELTS Life Skills will be introduced.
IELTS Life Skills test will be introduced for candidates who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at levels A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This will be a single test covering speaking and listening skills.
When will this change take place?
The change in the UK government policy will be effective from 6 April 2015. Until 5 April 2015, you can sit an IELTS test anywhere in the world and the result can be submitted to UKVI with your application until 5 November 2015.
Entering a bachelor degree or higher in the UK
UKVI has confirmed that these changes do not affect you if you are entering directly at degree level or higher at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in the UK. Higher Education Institutions currently choose their own method of testing students’ English language ability for entry onto their courses and this will not change. See "Tier 4 Student Visa" below.
Tier 4 Student Visa (without a presessional)
People who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor (previously known as Highly Trusted Sponsors) to study for a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. Tier 4 Student Visa applicants can apply to the UK universities listed here with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless the institution has additional requirements.