Difference between IELTS & IELTS UKVI

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  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Apr 18,2024 05:42 PM IST

• The IELTS exam is accepted worldwide, while IELTS UKVI is the UK’s officially approved English test. 

• While the IELTS exam serves academic purposes, such as university admission, on the other hand the IELTS UKVI is only for UK visa and immigration applications.

• There are many more differences between IELTS and IELTS UKVI, which every aspiring study abroad student should know.

Difference between IELTS & IELTS UKVI.webp
IELTS is one of the most popular language proficiency exams for studying abroad. The test has many versions, such as IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training, and IELTS UKVI, which creates confusion among international students who want to take it. Read this blog to learn the difference between IELTS and IELTS UKVI, along with other details such as the types of IELTS exams, tips to prepare for IELTS UKVI, and which exams candidates should take when they want to go abroad.

What is IELTS?

IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is a globally recognized English language proficiency test used to assess the English proficiency of candidates based on four parameters: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. It is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP IELTS, and Cambridge University Press & Assessment. Candidates can take the exam on a computer or paper as well. The exam was launched in 1980 and is accepted by more than 12,000 organizations in over 140 countries. The total duration of the IELTS exam is three hours, which is divided as follows:

IELTS SectionTest Duration (In Mins)
IELTS Listening Test30 Minutes
IELTS Reading Test30 Minutes
IELTS Speaking Test11-14 Minutes
IELTS Writing Test60 Minutes

Talking about how many times the IELTS exam is conducted in a year, the IELTS exams take place four times a month or 48 times a year.

Types of IELTS Exams

There are two types of IELTS exams, which are academic and general training. Let's understand both IELTS exam types.

Type of ExamDetails
IELTS AcademicThe IELTS Academic exam is for students who want to study in a country where English is spoken. It assesses the student on four parameters: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
IELTS General TrainingThe IELTS General Training is for people who wish to migrate to English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.


IELTS UKVI is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) developed by the UK government. This means applicants can use it to prove their English proficiency during UK visa and immigration applications. It is very similar to a regular IELTS exam, but the only difference between IELTS and IELTS UKVI is that the latter is specifically designed to get a UK visa.

Types of IELTS UKVI Exams

There are three types of IELTS UKVI exams: academic, general, and life skills. The academic test is for students who want to get admission to any university, while the general test is for migration purposes. The newly added life skills examination has three parts, A1, A2, and B1, which are evaluated according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Type of ExaminationDetails
IELTS UKVI Academic ExaminationThis IELTS UKVI exam is for students who want to study in the UK, and its primary objective is to test if students can live in a foreign academic environment. 
UKVI IELTS General TrainingThis exam focuses on basic survival skills in a diverse job setting. It is similar to the standard IELTS exam. 
UKVI IELTS Life SkillsThis exam is for people who want to acquire a specific visa to enter the UK.
UKVI IELTS Life Skills A1UKVI IELTS Life Skills A1 must be taken by international company executives, athletes, and family members who want to prove their English proficiency. 
UKVI IELTS Life Skills B1Students who want to live in the UK must take the UKVI IELTS Life Skills B1 exam.


The following are tips for students to prepare well for IELTS UKVI and get high bands. 

ielts and ielts ukvi.webp

IELTS vs IELTS UKVI: Comparison Table

Here comes the most important part of the blog, where students will learn the differences between IELTS and IELTS UKVI. The following table compares both exams on various parameters.

PurposeThe IELTS exam serves various academic and general purposes, such as university admissions, professional registration, and immigration. On the other hand, IELTS UKVI is designed explicitly for UK visa and immigration applications. 
Test CenterApplicants can take the IELTS exam at any authorized IELTS test center.An IELTS UKVI can only be taken at a UKVI-approved test center that meets the standards set up by the UK Home Office. 
Test Report FormFor IELTS, a standard test report form is issued. The IELTS UKVI has a distinctive mark, which indicates that it was taken at a UKVI-approved center. This adds validity for immigration purposes. 
CostThe fee for the IELTS exam is generally cheaper than the IELTS UKVI.IELTS UKVI, on the other hand, is a bit costlier than IELTS as it has additional security measures and other requirements. 
UK Visa AcceptanceA standard IELTS test is accepted globally by various countries for immigration purposes, including the UK. However, some visa categories may require applicants to submit IELTS UKVI specifically. IELTS UKVI is designed to meet UK visa applicants' English requirements. 

IELTS and IELTS UKVI: Which one to choose?

Now that students know the difference between IELTS and IELTS UKVI, they can decide which exam is best for them. If they want to go to the UK, they undoubtedly need to take the IELTS UKVI exam, but if they want to go to any other country, they must take the standard IELTS exam. Even in routine exams, students must see if they need to take IELTS academic or general, as the academic exam is to study in a foreign country, while IELTS general is for people who want to migrate to English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. 


That was all about the difference between IELTS and IELTS UKVI. Now, it’s expected that students are clear on which exam they need to take if they want to go abroad. Although both IELTS and IELTS UKVI are the same in terms of test format and content, the only difference is the purpose they serve. To learn more about the exams or to prepare for the IELTS exam, students must connect with the expert faculty of Canamprep.


IELTS and IELTS UKVI are the same in format, scoring, content, and difficulty level. The only difference is that the UK home office approves IELTS UKVI. 
The IELTS UKVI is accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and universities across Canada. 

A 4.5 in UKVI IELTS is a score between an IELTS band 4 and a band 5. A score of 4 in IELTS UKVI means that the applicant has a very basic understanding of English. 

To apply with UKVI, applicants must have a band score of 4.0 or above. 
The fee for the IELTS exam UKVI for the academic test is Rs. 17,250 for both computer-delivered and pen and paper versions.

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