IELTS VS IELTS UKVI (Differences and Similarities)

The IELTS exam is the most popular English proficiency test taken by both students and adults planning to work and settle abroad. However, several IELTS modes are available for different purposes, such as IELTS Academic for study abroad, IELTS General for employment and permanent residency, and UKVI IELTS for UK immigration.


In terms of format, content, score, and level of difficulty, IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are identical tests. The only distinction is that the UK Home Office recognises an IELTS for the UKVI test for work, study, and migration purposes. If you take an IELTS for the UKVI test, your test report form will be slightly different to indicate that you took the test at an approved test centre.

Before we get into the similarities and differences, let’s take a closer look at IELTS UKVI:

What is the IELTS UKVI examination?

When applying for a UK student visa to work, migrate, study, or pursue vocational training, you must pass the IELTS UKVI examination, which is approved by the UK Visa and Immigration department. This test is for candidates from non-English speaking nations. All UK universities accept IELTS academic results from international students.

However, for the UK, the IELTS UKVI is required. It is essential that students inquire about the sort of IELTS UKVI test required by their preferred universities. The type of IELTS UKVI examination you take and the required UKVI IELTS band score will be determined by your university’s criteria. This option also impacts how much the UKVI IELTS fees are.

What are the different types of IELTS UKVI?

The IELTS for UKVI is offered in three formats: Academic, General Training, and Life Skills.

1. IELTS Academic

The IELTS UKVI academic examinations are appropriate for those seeking to study in the United Kingdom. You can, however, apply for IELTS academic for professional registration. Many health professionals, including nurses, require the IELTS UKVI for professional registration in order to lawfully work in the UK.

The major goal of the IELTS UKVI academic test is to determine if the candidate is qualified to pursue further education in UK universities.

2. IELTS for UKVI General Training

IELTS for UKVI General Training is appropriate for individuals interested in further education or migration. The primary goal of the IELTS for UKVI General Training is to concentrate on essential survival abilities in a diverse employment environment.

The IELTS General Training test design, like the IELTS UKVI Academic, includes hearing, reading, writing, and speaking assessments. Furthermore, it is comparable to the General IELTS test. Candidates only need to choose from the test centres approved by the UK Home Office.

3. IELTS Life Skills

The IELTS Life Skills is a new Secure English Language Test (SELT) version approved by the UK Government. This is a test for individuals who want to demonstrate their English speaking and listening abilities in order to obtain the desired visa. Your abilities will be evaluated using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels A1 and B1. IELTS Life Skills A1, A2, and B1 only assess listening and speaking abilities.

The tests last between 16 and 22 minutes and are given by an examiner and a second test taker. You will be evaluated on your abilities to access and gather information, communicate with another candidate, and engage in discussion. The performance of the second test taker has no bearing on your test results.

IELTS Life Skills results differ slightly. Instead of a band score, you will receive either a pass or a fail. A pass result indicates you can use your exam results to apply for a visa. In the IELTS Academic or General Training test, there is no pass or fail. The 9-band system is used to grade scores. Each educational institution or organisation establishes its own level of IELTS scores to satisfy its specific needs.


Note that unless you apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI), you will only receive one copy of your Test Report Form. Some testing facilities offer SMS alerts, and you can examine your results online.

The IELTS UKVI score varies depending on the type of visa. Refer to the official website for further details IELTS UKVIOpens in a new tab.

Let us delve in detail into the similarities and differences of the IELTS and IELTS UKVI :

The key distinction between both exams, as you may have realised, is that the UK Home Office has approved an IELTS UKVI test for job, study, and migration purposes. Let’s look through this table for further information.

Test ReportRegular Slightly modified, mentioning the name of the approved UKVI test centre
Scoring Mentioned in bands from 0 -9 Mentioned in bands but score range different from IELTS
Modules Listening, reading , writing and speakingListening, reading , writing and speaking
Type of questions Same Same 
Mode Pen and Paper BasedComputer Based TestPen and Paper BasedComputer Based Test( but with more protocols)
Fees INR 15,500IELTS UKVI: INR 15,750Life Skills: INR 14,600
Validity 2 years2 years
ResultsPen and Paper Mode – 13 days CBT – 3 to 5 daysPen and Paper Mode – 13 days CBT – 3 to 5 days
Eligibility International Candidates for Study abroadInternational candidates who wish to pursue study, job, or migrate to the UK.
Band ScoreUsually, 6.5 or above is needed for admission into renowned institutions.UKVI IELTS band score should be 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening

What is the IELTS UKVI Registration process?

The registration process is similar to that of a regular IELTS booking. IDP is now the only IELTS examination conducting authority in India. As a result, you can schedule your exam using the IDPs official websiteOpens in a new tab..

To register for IELTS UKVI, follow these steps:

1. Select your desired IELTS for the UKVI test ( computer based or pen and paper based)

2. Choose a test module ( IELTS UKVI Academic or General Training)

3. Select your preferred city ( be careful while choosing as it will not be possible to change the location later).

4. Check availability and choose test dates.

5. Make the payment to complete your booking.

What are the advantages of IELTS for UKVI?

For students applying for the IELTS UKVI test for higher education in the UK, there are over 1,000 test centres accessible globally. Above all, UK institutions help students by informing them of IELTS UKVI test dates in India, test patterns, and so on.

The best thing about IELTS for the UKVI exams is that you won’t have too much trouble acquiring PR in the UK when you finish your studies. Furthermore, because your IELTS scores are shown in your CV, it provides you an advantage when looking for work while studying. As an international student, you must demonstrate English speaking, reading, and hearing proficiency through IELTS for the UKVI test.

Though this is only one component of your application, there are some prerequisites to study in the UK that must be met. Since IELTS test results are accepted in over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments, and employers, you can still share your IELTS UKVI exam results with other nations if you take it in the UK.

Where can I take IELTS UKVI in India?

The IELTS UKVI is available in a number of major Indian locations. The authorised exam centre location varies depending on the type of IELTS exam taken.

IELTS UKVI ( paper-based)IELTS UKVI ( CBT)IELTS UKVI Life Skills
Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Ahmedabad 
Bangalore Bangalore Kasturba RoadBangalore 
ChandigarhBangalore St Marks RoadChandigarh
KochiCalicut MalaparambaKochi
Hyderabad Chennai Hyderabad 
Jalandhar Gurugram Jalandhar 
Mumbai south Hyderabad Begumpet Mumbai south 
New delhi south Hyderabad KukatpallyNew delhi south 
PuneKolkata Park StreetPune
SuratMumbai Surat
Vadodara Mumbai lower parelVadodara 
Chennai New delhi Nehru place Chennai 

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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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