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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Where is the IELTS test accepted?

When signing up for the IELTS test, you want to be assured that it will be widely recognised and accepted. We detail where the test is accredited and accepted across the world.

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The IELTS test is one of the most widely used and accepted English language proficiency tests. For international students, proof of English language ability is essential when applying to study abroad. However, it can be confusing as to when and where an IELTS test is accepted. This includes the distinction of IELTS for university applications versus IELTS for migration purposes. In this article, we take you through the differences and nuances of the IELTS test.


What countries accept IELTS for entry?


The IELTS test is used to check English language proficiency levels by governments in numerous countries. In most English language speaking countries to be granted entry, it is necessary to provide proof of being able to understand and communicate in English. These countries include CanadaAustralia, and New Zealand.


The Australian Department of Home Affairs uses the IELTS test for several visa categories and permanent residency applications. You will need an overall IELTS score above 6 to qualify for a study visa, sponsored work visa, skilled work visa and a business visa in Australia.


If you have your eye on studying or working in Canada, you will require an IELTS test score. The score required will differ depending on the type of visa you are applying for. IELTS is also used in Canada for professional accreditation and recognition.


Moving to study and live in New Zealand requires you to have achieved a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. This score particularly applies to immigration and work-related visa including investor and entrepreneur, and skilled migrant visas. If you’re applying for a student visa and to a university always check with the institution to verify the scores needed.  


Find out more about IELTS test scoring.


Is IELTS accepted for UK visas?


Yes, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) accept the IELTS test for immigration. Several test versions are used to provide evidence of English proficiency, including IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training and IELTS Life Skills. As an aspiring international student, you’ll take the IELTS academic test.


Remember that to qualify for a Tier 4 student visa you must meet the language requirements for the course as set by the institution. This will differ depending on which course you take and the level at which you are studying. If you don’t meet the English entry requirements, you can take a pre-sessional English course or a pathway programme.


Get to grips with English language test scores.


What types of organisations accept IELTS?


The IELTS test is presently accepted in over 140 countries and by more than 11,000 organisations. Apart from being used by universities and colleges, and government immigration authorities, IELTS is also recognised by:


  • Professional accreditation bodies
  • Industry associations
  • Private Companies  
  • Employers


Several industries and sectors require good to high levels of English language ability. Thus, professional bodies and industry associations may require an IELTS test for membership. You may also need an IELTS test to secure employment. Some of the fields where this is more common are medicinenursingpharmacy, law, accountingengineering, and veterinary medicine.


Find out how IELTS tests are verified.


How do organisations set IELTS scores?


Institutions and organisations consider numerous factors when setting IELTS scores. These factors are closely aligned with their unique requirements. The central elements used to guide score setting include:


  • Level of language ability needed by a candidate or student to successfully undertake work and tasks.
  • The communication level required, and the demand placed on the student or candidate.
  • General applicant profile.


In academic institutions, courses are evaluated in terms of the linguistic demands they place on students. For example, academic courses often have higher IELTS scores than training courses as the need for a high level of English is greater. Therefore many top academic courses require an IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with 6.5 usually being a minimum requirement. It’s also why universities ask for the IELTS Academic Test rather than the IELTS General Training Test.


Discover the benefits of taking the IELTS test.


How can I check who accepts IELTS?


If you want to find out if an organisation or institution accepts the IELTS test, you can use the search tool and function provided on the IELTS website. All organisations and institutions that have registered with IELTS will have their information available, including the scores needed. You can search for an institution using a country, city, and organisation name.


Are you wondering how the IELTS test is developed?


Hopefully, you now have a better idea of where the IELTS test is accepted and how this can help with your study abroad plans. We’ve also got some great guides on preparing for the IELTS writingreadingspeaking, and listening tests. In addition, if you’re not sure how to book an IELTS test, we have you covered.


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