Looking to work or study in the UK?

If you are looking to work or study in UK, you may need to apply for a UK Visa and demonstrate that you have met the required level of English by taking a Home Office approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), such as IELTS for UKVI (Academic and General Training) or IELTS Life Skills.
Is there a difference in test format between IELTS and IELTS for UKVI?

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are the same in terms of format, content, scoring and level of difficulty. 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.
Which test format should I take?
If you are a student, please check with your university / college / school which test you need before booking.

If you are applying for a Student Visa (Tier 4) at a higher education institution to enter directly onto a bachelor or postgraduate degree at a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor, you must meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS Academic results This means you may not need to take an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test but can submit an IELTS Academic result.

If you are NOT a student, please check which test format you need with the organisations you are applying to before booking the test.


IELTS for UKVI: cancellations and transfers policy for test takers

Note: This policy applies only to IELTS for UKVI testing, including IELTS Life Skills.

A. Cancellations

You can cancel your IELTS test registration at any time before taking your test by notifying your test centre. Refund terms depend upon when you cancel and whether exceptional circumstances apply.

1. Time to test date

1.1. More than 14 days before the test

If you cancel your IELTS test registration more than 14 days before the test, you will receive a 75% refund of the total test fee.

1.2. Within 14 days but more than two days before the test

If you cancel your IELTS test registration within 14 days but more than two days before the test, you will receive a 50% refund of the total test fee.

1.3. Within two days of the test

If you cancel your IELTS test registration within two days of the test, you will receive a 25% refund of the total test fee.

1.4. On the test day or after the test

If you cancel your IELTS test registration on the test day or after the test, no refund will be provided.

2. Test taker exceptions

You may make a case for exceptional circumstances to your test centre before the test and up to five working days after the test date if you did not attend the test. Your test centre will respond to you within seven working days of receiving your case in writing. Your test centre will assess your case for exceptional circumstances. All cases for exceptional circumstances and supporting evidence must be received by your test centre no later than five working days after the scheduled test date. If your test centre approves your case, you will receive a full refund less an administration fee of no more than 25%.

If your test centre does not approve your case, the terms given in section 1. will apply.
We define exceptional circumstances as:

  • serious medical conditions which prevent you from attending or performing normally on test day; such conditions require supporting evidence of a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner
  • evidence of bereavement, trauma or other forms of significant hardship
  • military service.

3. Test centre exceptions

Under certain circumstances outside test centre control, we may have to cancel your test. These circumstances include and are not limited to extreme weather conditions, natural disaster, civil unrest and industrial action.

In these circumstances, your test centre will provide you with as much notice as possible and give you the choice of either:

  • a full refund or
  • a transfer to a future test date convenient to you.

In cases where your test centre cancels a test under circumstances within its control, in addition to a full refund or transfer to another test date, you may be eligible to apply for compensation for expenses incurred. Your eligibility will be assessed as a reasonable claim or not by the test centre and any compensation will be awarded depending on the following conditions:

  • The test centre will assess whether the decision to cancel is within or outside its control.
  • Any compensation awarded will be limited to travel and accommodation expenses only and which are:
    • directly incurred as a result of planning your attendance on test day
    • evidenced by payment receipt(s)
    • evidenced that cancelled travel and/or accommodation charges are non-recoverable from the vendor
    • benchmarked against lowest reasonable market rates for the expenses in question (this will be carried out by the test centre).
  • If you travel further than the closest test venue to your normal place of residence, the test centre will not find your claim reasonable.
B. Transfers

4.1. More than 14 days before the test

You may change your test date at any time more than 14 days before the test. You must select a test date, where available, within the next three months from your original test date. If your preferred test date is more than three months after your original test date, your transfer will be treated as a cancellation. You can only transfer the same booking once. Your test centre may charge an administration fee of up to 25% of total test fee.

4.2. Within 14 days of the test

Any transfer requests within 14 days of the test will be treated as a cancellation. Please refer to section A. Cancellations of this policy document.

To cancel or transfer your test date, please send an email to


i. Your test centre is responsible for issuing refunds and organising transfers.
ii. Under section A. 2., the test centre is responsible for decisions related to test taker claims for exceptional circumstances.
iii. Under section A. 3., the test centre is responsible for decisions related to compensation, including eligibility and any amounts awarded.
iv. If local consumer protection law in the country you have registered to take the IELTS test provides for cancellation and transfer rights which are more favourable to the test taker than the rights set out above, local consumer protection law will apply.

Special arrangements for your IELTS test with the British Council

Our official IELTS test centres can help if you have visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties. If you need a modified version of IELTS, please give the test centre three months’ notice.
If special arrangements (for example, extra time) need to be made, then please give the test centre six weeks’ notice.
Your English language ability will be assessed objectively, regardless of any disability or special needs that you may have.

Special arrangements include:

  • braille papers
  • special Listening CD with necessary stops and pauses
  • lip-reading version of the Listening test
  • enlarged print or Speaking task cards in Braille.
  • What sort of help can I get?

If you have a visual impairment, we can provide:

  • enlarged print
  • Braille test papers
  • an amanuensis to write the answers for you.

If you have hearing difficulties, we can offer:

  • special amplification equipment
  • a lip-reading version of the Listening module.

If you have dyslexia, we can arrange:

  • extra time for the Reading and Writing tests.

Please contact us three months in advance of your test date if you have special needs that may require a modified IELTS test version.

In the Registration System select “Yes” under special arrangements and you will be able to view different dates for your exam. In addition, before completing your registration, you will have to upload the relevant supporting documents.

Register for your IELTS for UKVI test today

If you need assistance with applying, kindly contact us on