Difference Between IELTS and IELTS UKVI


Meridean Overseas

Updated On 30 September 2023 & Read Time 7 minutes



When it comes to proving your English language proficiency for academic or immigration purposes, two commonly recognised tests that come to mind are IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and IELTS UKVI (IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration). While they share the same core purpose of assessing English language skills, there are some significant differences between them.


Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss difference between IETS and UKVI IELTS to help you decide which test suits your specific needs.



IELTS UKVI stands for "International English Language Testing System for UK Visa and Immigration." It is a specific version of the IELTS test designed to meet the English language proficiency requirements for individuals applying for UK visa for immigration or academic purposes.


While IELTS UKVI follows the same test format as standard IELTS, it has additional security measures in place to ensure the test-taker’s identity and meet the specific requirements of the UK immigration authorities.


Types of IELTS UKVI Test

There are three different UKVI IELTS test options, namely Academic, General, and a brand-new test called Life Skills. Let’s discuss all the three types below:



This version is typically required for individuals applying for Tier 4 student visas or Tier 2 work visas in the UK. It assesses your ability to use English in an academic context.


IELTS UKVI General Training

This version is commonly needed for family, spouse, or partner visas, as well as for immigration purposes. It evaluates your English language skills in everyday situations.


IELTS Life Skills

A Secure English Language Test (SELT) version that has recently been released and received UK Government approval is IELTS Life Skills. Candidates who need to demonstrate their English speaking and listening abilities in order to get the desired visa should take this test. Your abilities will be evaluated in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), levels A1 and B1.


IELTS Life Skills A1: Candidates who wish to demonstrate their proficiency in speaking and listening English should take this test, such as sportspeople, corporate executives, and family members (spouse and parents)

IELTS Life Skills A2: Candidates seeking to demonstrate English speaking and listening abilities for family extension visas should take this test.

IELTS Life Skills B1: People who need to demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration that they are able to speak and understand English as part of their application for citizenship or permanent residency should take this test. 


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Benefits of IELTS UKVI

Appearing for IELTS UKVI offers several benefits, particularly if you plan to immigrate to or study in the United Kingdom. So, here are some of the benefits of appealing for IELTS UKVI:

  • Many UK visa categories require proof of English language proficiency. IELTS UKVI is widely accepted by UK Visas and Immigration as evidence of your language skills, making it a crucial step in your visa application process.

  • If you aim to immigrate to the UK for work, family reunification, or other purposes, having a valid IELTS UKVI score can enhance your eligibility and chances of approval.

  • In cases where English language proficiency is essential for your job or career advancement, having an IELTS UKVI score can open up opportunities and demonstrate your language skills to employers.


Difference Between IELTS and UKVI IELTS Test

So, here are some of the differences between IELTS VS IELTS UKVI in teh table below:





Global use (academics, immigration, work)

UK visa and immigration applications, accepted by some UK universities



Computer-based with more protocols

Test Centers

Widely available globally

Select centres approved by UK Visas and Immigration

Identity Verification

Standard verification procedures

Stricter identity checks to meet UK immigration requirements

Test Fees

Varies by country and test centre (in India, it is around 15,500 INR)

Typically higher due to added security measures (in India, it is approximately 15,750 INR)

Band Score

Generally, required 6.5 or above

Generally, the score should be 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening 


In conclusion, IELTS and IELTS UKVI assess English language proficiency; key differences lie in their purposes, test centre availability, security measures, and associated costs. It's essential to choose the test that aligns with your specific goals. If you plan to immigrate to the UK or pursue studies there, IELTS UKVI is the way to go. For other international purposes, standard IELTS is sufficient. Always check the requirements of your intended institution or immigration authority to ensure you choose the right test.



Q: Is there any change in the pattern of IELTS and IELTS UKVI?

A: There are no significant changes in the pattern of the IELTS and IELTS UKVI. However, the Test Report Form, which contains your results, is slightly different to show that you have taken the test at an official IELTS for UKVI location, which is approved by the UK Home Office.


Q: Is IELTS for the UKVI test valid for countries other than the UK?

A: No, IELTS for UKVI is primarily designed for visa and immigration purposes in the United Kingdom. It may not be universally accepted in countries outside the UK. For general academic or professional purposes in other countries, regular IELTS scores are typically sufficient.


Q: Which is easier, IELTS or IELTS UKVI?

A: IELTS and IELTS UKVI have the same content and difficulty level. The only difference is that IELTS UKVI is specifically designed for UK visa and immigration purposes. Therefore, in terms of difficulty, they are equivalent, but the choice between them depends on your specific immigration or visa requirements.


Q: What is the UKVI IELTS’s cost?

A: Depending on the exam type, the cost ranges from 14,600 to 15,750 INR for the UKVI IELTS test.


Q: Can I get a UK student visa with a General IELTS test?

A: Yes, international students can also get a UK student visa with the score of General IELTS test, if the university they are applying to accepts the test.


Q: What is the passing score for IELTS UKVI?

A: The passing score or required score for IELTS UKVI can vary depending on the specific visa or immigration application you are making and the immigration rules in place. However, generally, a score of 4.0 or above is required in the Speaking and Listening test of IELTS UKVI.


Q: What is the eligibility criterion for UKVI?

A: The eligibility criteria for IELTS UKVI depend on the specific visa or immigration category you are applying for. Each visa category may have its own set of eligibility requirements, which can include factors such as purpose of travel, financial capability, sponsorships, and more.


So, if you are also planning to immigrate to the UK for studies or job purposes and want to get a deeper insight into UKVI IELTS, then we encourage you to have a word with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). If you are unable to travel to our offices, we offer online counselling services via our website. Our dedicated counsellors will provide you with the best guidance regarding your application to study in UK. Apart from this, our expert counsellors will also provide assistance in the visa process for your successful study abroad journey. Don't hesitate to contact us at application02@meridean.org or call us at 1800-1230-00011.

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