What Is The Difference Between The Regular IDP And British Council IELTS Exam And The UKVI IELTS Exam?

There are different types of IELTS tests you can take. The test you should choose depends on what you want to do. Some people need a particular IELTS  Band score for acceptance into universities, while others need to take the IELTS exam as part of their visa application requirements for entry into an English speaking country. There are also a number of factors to consider when choosing whether to book your test with the British Council or IDP.  It’s important to have a clear idea about which test you need to take and who should register with before booking your test. Many students from Singapore are often confused about whether or not they should take the regular IELTS test or the UKVI IELTS test. In this article, I will take a closer look at the UKVI IELTS test and provide information about who exactly needs to take this test.

What Is The Difference Between The Normal IELTS Test And The IELTS For UK Visas And Immigration (UKVI) Test?

The UKVI IELTS exam is only for those test takers who are applying for United Kingdom visas and immigration purposes. ‘IELTS for UKVI’ is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that IELTS can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) applications.

The content, examiners, format, the level of difficulty, scoring, are exactly the same as the regular IELTS test. There are also different versions of the UKVI test such as the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. These tests are designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by the UK Home Office. The test report forms are slightly different and show that the test was taken at an IELTS UK visa session.

There are also additional security measures which are implemented during IELTS for UKVI such as having surveillance cameras in the test centre examination halls, entrance corridor and speaking test room.

The UKVI IELTS test is slightly higher in price as compared to the normal IELTS test. The higher price has nothing to do with an increased level of difficulty or a better level of language proficiency. The increased cost has more to do with the administrative procedures required for this particular exam.

Your  IELTS UKVI test results are also accepted by countries that would accept a regular IELTS test. It is only the UK that will reject a non-UKVI result when immigrating.

If you are not an EU citizen or EFTA citizen (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), and you are applying for a visa to move to or remain in the UK, then you should apply for the UKVI IELTS Test

Does The UK Accept The IDP UKVI IELTS Test?

The IELTS Test is jointly hosted by the British Council and IDP Education Australia. Both organizations have numerous test centres located throughout the world that offer both the regular and the UKVI IELTS Exam. Students often think that if you want to register for the UKVI IELTS exam, then they must do so via the British Council. This is just an untrue myth that has been perpetuated on the internet.

The services and types of IELTS Tests offered are exactly the same and irrelevant of whether you book with IDP or the British Council. This includes identical levels of test difficulty and marking methods.

You can easily book your test either in person, at one of these organization’s official test centres or by visiting their website(s). The IELTS Exam is held on 48 fixed test dates and you have the ability to choose a test date and location that best suits you. Once you have completed the registration process, you will be emailed a booking payment update.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.