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In 2015, the UK government announced new requirements for secure English language testing for visa and immigration purposes. These requirements reduced the number of tests on the UK Home Office list of Secure English Language Tests (SELT).
Since the 6 April 2015, IELTS for UKVI (IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English), and a new test called IELTS Life Skills are the only Cambridge English exams included on the UK government list of Secure English Language Tests.
IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills tests for visa purposes must be taken in an approved test centre.
Find a UKVI-approved IELTS test centre
Most students applying for degree-level university study or higher (e.g. undergraduate and postgraduate) do not need to take a SELT. This is because the new SELT arrangements do not apply to applicants for Tier 4 student visas who are applying to study at degree level (or higher) at most UK universities and colleges. They also do not apply for applicants from the European Union, European Economic Area, Switzerland or ‘majority English speaking countries’ as defined by the UK Home Office. Find out which Cambridge English exams can be used for UK university applications.
To find out whether you need to take an approved test (SELT), what level you need to achieve, and which exam you can use, contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), or the British Embassy or High Commission in your country.
For visa and immigration applications to the UK, you may need to take an English language qualification which is included on the Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (often referred to as SELT tests). The UK government has announced new requirements for secure English language testing for visa and immigration purposes. These requirements reduce the number of tests on the SELT list. IELTS for UKVI and our new test IELTS Life Skills are both included on this revised list. IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills are ideal tests for UK visas and immigration purposes. They are designed to ensure that candidates have the skills they need for success in an English speaking environment, and that they can use the language effectively in a wide range of different contexts.
IELTS Life Skills is for candidates who only need to demonstrate Speaking and Listening skills, at levels A1 or B1 of the CEFR.
Most students applying for degree-level study or higher (e.g. undergraduate and postgraduate courses) do not need to take a SELT, but instead have to meet the English language requirements of the institution they apply to. Almost all UK universities accept C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency for entrance purposes.
If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa you will still be able to use your Cambridge English certificate under the following conditions:
Find more information about which Cambridge English exams you can use for UK university applications.
The following table shows the approved Secure English Language Tests offered by Cambridge English and the IELTS test partners.
IELTS for UKVI – 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills
Other Cambridge English exams can also be used at this level of study at Tier 4 Sponsor universities3
1Both General and Academic Training modules are accepted. The CEFR requirement for each skill must be met.
2IELTS for UKVI can be used where IELTS Life Skills is used; candidates would need to get 4.0 or above in Speaking and Listening (scores for Reading and Writing will be ignored).
3Universities on UKVI’s list of Tier 4 Sponsors decide which exams to accept when a SELT is not required, and these may include C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency.
4From 01 May 2017. For those on the 5-year route to settlement. Exemptions apply to partners of members of HM Forces, 10-year partner and parent routes, and partners granted leave under Part 8 of the Immigration Rules.
5From 12 November 2015, you can no longer use a result from a Cambridge English exam for Citizenship (naturalisation). From 19 November 2015, you can no longer use a result from a Cambridge English exam for Indefinite Leave to Remain (to settle). We strongly recommend taking IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Life Skills for these purposes.