Can you go to the USA without IELTS

For decades, the United States has been a dream destination for people seeking to migrate, but it is also a difficult country to enter. When aspirants seek to relocate to the United States, one of the most significant considerations is whether IELTS is required for the process.

IELTS is not required for travel to the United States because the country accepts various alternative English proficiency tests such as TOEFL, PTE, and OET. Furthermore, if you meet certain requirements, you may not even be required to submit an English Proficiency test result when travelling to the United States for academic purposes.

Can you go to the USA without IELTS

Let us look at the key points you should be aware of if you intend to travel to the United States without IELTS.

How can I go to the US without IELTS?

If you wish to study in the United States, you are able to bypass IELTS if you have a valid TOEFL or PTE score. The English proficiency test you should take is entirely dependent on the specifications of the university to which you apply.

However, if you intend to study in the United States without taking IELTS, the following are the key prerequisites to bear in mind:

  • You will require a letter from your prior university stating that the graduate programme you pursued was in English when applying for post-graduate courses.
  • You must have English as one of your core subjects in high school to be eligible for undergraduate courses.
  • IELTS may not be necessary if you graduated from a country where English is the official language.
  • If you are unable to give IELTS scores, the institution may need you to participate in their own English language preparatory programme known as Intensive English Language Program (IELP), in which you will be schooled in the fundamentals of this language.

Check out our blog for additional information about institutions in the United States that do not require an IELTS score.

Can I work in the USA without IELTS?

If you are already in the US on a study visa, you can work part time where an IELTS certification will not be demanded by employers in most cases.Even if you work full-time, you may not be required to present your IELTS certificate as long as you are fluent enough to carry out basic communications in par with your sector of employment. 

Most firms will hire students because they know that in order to gain admission to an American university, an applicant must submit an English proficiency test score. As a result, most companies are confident that the employees they hire will possess considerable English proficiency. However, if you need to work in the US on a full-time basis under a legitimate visa, you may need an IELTS score first, followed by a valid visa.

Can I get a US to work visa without IELTS?

Under the following criteria, you can obtain a US work visa without taking IELTS:

  1. If you are sponsored by an organisation based in the United States. In this instance, you might obtain an H1b visa and relocate to the United States. To be considered for an H1b visa, you must have at least 12 years of work experience. Concessions or bonuses may be available based on your education and line of work.
  2. If you marry a US citizen, you will automatically receive a Green Card, allowing you to live and work in the US. You will be allowed to travel to the United States within two or three months of your marriage and subsequent application.
  3. If your company enlists you on on-site or lateral transfer,  you will remain in your existing position but work in a different location, such as one of the 50 states in the United States. You may not be required to have an IELTS score under this circumstance as well.

Under any other conditions other than the above mentioned, an applicant should possess IELTS or any other English proficiency test result for gaining a work visa. For study purposes you have to attend the Academic IELTS. For nurses and several other health professionals too, Academic IELTS is accepted. If you are planning to apply for a Green Card from India, then you may be required to present relevant scores for the General IELTS as well as meet other criteria and conditions.

How can I go to the US?

The US immigration journey is quite a long one with numerous hurdles to overcome. You can apply for a Green Card by participating in the Green Card Lottery Pot. Every year, the Green Card LotteryPot grants permanent residency to 55,000 applicants from around the world. Due to the structure of the lottery, applicants from all qualifying nations have a strong chance of receiving a Green Card if they complete the entire application procedure without errors. The “Permanent Resident Card,” as the Green Card is commonly known, provides the lucky recipient nearly all of the rights of a US citizen.

If you are a citizen of one of the eligible nations and meet the following qualifications, you can apply for the Green Card Lottery Pot.

  • 12 years of formal primary and secondary education
  • At least two years of professional work experience (within the last five years) which should include at least two years of relevant training. The work experience gained within the last five years of your application will only be considered.

Unfortunately, India, along with these other countries, does not fall under the eligible country category:

  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China (including Hong Kong SAR)
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its territories
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam

Can I immigrate to the US any other way than the Green Card lottery pot?

Fortunately, there are four other ways in which you will be able to settle in the US:

  1. Green card through Family reunificationOpens in a new tab.
  2. Green card through a job in the US.Opens in a new tab.
  3. Green card via investmentOpens in a new tab.
  4. Green card via marriage.Opens in a new tab.

If you do not qualify for any of the avenues to a Green Card listed above, you can still live and work in the United States for a limited time with a work visa (e.g., E-visa or the L-visa). However, the journey from a work visa to a Green Card is difficult and full of bureaucratic obstacles, so it will take some time for you to obtain the Green Card. 

You can also come to the United States as a student and then convert your F1 Visa (student visa) to a Green Card in a variety of ways. The student visa is one of the quickest ways to enter the US. However, tuition and living expenses in the United States are higher compared to most other study abroad destinations. However, brilliant students with an excellent academic record have a strong possibility of getting a scholarship that will cover both tuition and, in some situations, living expenses. More information can be found at Student Visa F1Opens in a new tab.


The road to permanent residency in the United States is a long and arduous one. If you intend to reside in the United States, even if an IELTS score is not required, it is preferable to improve your English proficiency because it will help you manage your life in the country more easily. 

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Shruthi Raveendran

I am Shruthi Raveendran, a TEFL-certified IELTS/PTE and ESL tutor who has 8+ years of experience working in the education industry. I am a passionate writer, logophile and film enthusiast

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