IELTS Validity 2024: All You Need to Know!

7 min read

IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is a popular language test that is widely accepted by organisations and universities around the world. IELTS assesses a candidate on four parameters: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. 

IELTS has two main types: IELTS Academic and General Training. Both these tests are offered in paper-based and computer-based modes. The test is scored on a band scale of 0-9. 

IELTS Validity 2024: All You Need to Know!
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IELTS scores are commonly required during university admissions to prove your English proficiency.

The IELTS validity period is 2 years from the result date. 

This blog will address the following questions: 

  • How long is the IELTS score valid?
  • Are there exceptions to IELTS score validity?
  • Does the IELTS validity change depending on the country or university?
  • What should you do once your IELTS validity has expired? 

Let’s dive in! 

IELTS Validity 2024

The IELTS validity period is 2 years from the date of the results. The IELTS validity period is when your IELTS Test Report Form (TRF)  is considered valid and actively accepted by universities and organisations.  

To give you the big picture, IELTS TRF consists of an individual score rating your Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing skills. And an overall score in the range of 0-9.

IELTS TRF is the most important document you’ll receive after taking the test. You can share it with universities of your choice electronically (online). 

Now, where does IELTS validity fit into all this? 

Universities, visa officers and other organisations may be reluctant to accept your IELTS score if it has been a long time since you took the test. 

Therefore, the IELTS validity period is 2 years from the date of the results. 

Your IELTS score may not be the most accurate representation of your skills if you took it over two years ago. Let’s understand why.

Why is Second Language Loss or Attrition Important in IELTS?

Second Language Loss or Attrition is when a person loses their second language skills due to inadequate use. For example, in simple terms, if you don’t speak English enough over a period of time, there is a high chance that your English language skills will significantly decline. 

To avoid this risk and provide the most accurate analysis of your language skills, the IELTS team urges you to test again if your scores are over 2 years old. 

You must also remember that English is ever-evolving, as with any language. The language develops new meanings, words, and references every year. 

The team behind the IELTS exam is constantly updating the exam. Universities and organisations typically prefer scores from the latest version of IELTS.

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IELTS Validity for Popular Countries 2024

IELTS result validity does not typically vary depending on the country. The IELTS validity of 2 years is pretty standard for all countries. However, the validity may vary depending on what you intend to use your results for.

For instance, the IELTS validity period for university admissions may differ for PR applications. 

Below is a country-wise breakdown.

IELTS Validity for USA 2024

IELTS is accepted by over 3,400 universities in the USA. Universities and organisations in the USA typically accept IELTS results that are below 2 years old. 

We recommend checking with the official sources to confirm if they have any additional eligibility requirements. While most accept the standard validity period, some may prefer scores that are a lot fresher. 

Here’s an overview of IELTS for the USA.

IELTS Validity for USA2 years
IELTS Minimum Score for USA6.0-6.5

IELTS Validity for UK 2024

IELTS is the most common English language test accepted in the UK and is recognised by various educational institutions, employers, and immigration authorities. The validity of your IELTS score remains as 2 years for the UK. 

However, there is no harm in verifying with universities and organisations if they have any additional eligibility requirements regarding validity. 

IELTS Validity for UK2 years
Average Minimum Score for UK Universities6.0-6.5

IELTS Validity for Canada 2024 

IELTS is popularly accepted by Canadian universities, organisations and immigration offices. 

The IELTS validity period for Canada is 2 years for admission purposes, just as in other countries. 

However, you must remember the instructions below if you’re applying for PR in Canada. 

  1. Your IELTS score must be less than 2 years (24 months) old, or your applications will be rejected. 
  2. IRCC takes about 6 months to process your application. You must ensure that your IELTS results do not expire within this period.

Here’s an overview of IELTS for Canada.

IELTS Validity for Canada2 years
Average Minimum Score for Universities in Canada6.0-6.5
Minimum Score for Express Entry6.0

IELTS Validity for Australia 2024 

IELTS is one of the widely recognised language proficiency in Australia. The IELTS validity period in Australia for admission and study visa purposes is 2 years. 

However, IELTS scores are valid for 3 years for Skilled Migration applications.  If you’re moving to work in Australia, taking IELTS is important, as many organisations ask for proof of English language skills.

Here’s an overview of IELTS for Australia.

IELTS Validity for Australia (Admissions and Student visa)2 years
IELTS Validity for Australia (Skilled Migration Application)3 years
Average Minimum Score for Universities in Canada6.0-6.5

To sum up

The IELTS validity period is 2 years for most countries, though it can vary slightly depending on what you’re using the scores for. If the validity of your IELTS exam has crossed the 2-year mark, you can retake IELTS. 

Preparing for IELTS? Leap Scholar’s IELTS Masterclasses have the most impressive set of resources, including study guides, mock tests, sample papers and more! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between raw scores and band scores in IELTS?

A. Reading and listening sections in IELTS are graded on a scale of 40 marks. The band score in these sections ranges from 0 to 9. Now, a raw score is the number of correct answers that a candidate gives in the test. On the other hand, the band score is calculated by taking into account the raw scores.

Q. Does the IELTS score have a lifetime validity?

A. IELTS result does not hold a lifetime validity. The validity of the scores are country specific. While some countries require an IELTS assessment report to be not more than two years, others may accept three year old test results as well.

Q. What is the current validity of IELTS?

A. The IELTS TRF is valid for 2 years, and the candidate can retake the test anytime. This validity applies to all the countries, but may vary slightly depending on what you’re using your IELTS scores for. It’s best to check university requirements to confirm the validity

Q. Are there different validity periods for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?

A. No, the validity period is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Whether taking the test for academic reasons or general purposes, the scores remain valid for two years.

Q. Do different countries have different validity periods?

A. It depends. Most countries follow the general IELTS validity rule of 2 years. However, some countries may have additional preferences depending on what you intend to use the scores for. It’s advisable to check with the relevant organisations in the respective country to ensure that you meet their specific policies.

Q. Can I use my IELTS scores for immigration purposes after they expire?

A. Not likely. Immigration authorities request the latest language proficiency scores.If you’re planning to apply for immigration, you should carefully review the guidelines provided by the immigration officers and plan accordingly. If your scores have expired, you can always take a retest.

Q. What is the minimum IELTS score required to study in Canada?

A. The minimum IELTS score for Canada depends on various factors. For instance, the minimum score required for UG courses are 6.0 on average, whereas for PG courses you need a 6.5. It also depends on universities. Top ranking universities may ask for a score higher than 7. For Canada’s Express Entry pathway, you need a minimum score of 6.0

Q. How many times can I take the IELTS exam?

A. As many time as you’d like. There is no limit set on the number of times you can take the IELTS exam. However, do remember to prepare well before you retake the exam. Recently, IELTS also released their new IELTS One Skill Retake feature, which allows you to take just one section of the exam.

Q. Is 6.5 a good IELTS score for UK universities?

A. Yes, a score of 6.5 in IELTS opens up various opportunities in the UK. However, it’s important to note that English language proficiency requirements can vary among universities and courses. Competitive programs may require a higher score. Some institutions accept a minimum overall band score of 6.5, others may also ask for a 7.0 or 7.5 for admission.

Q. Does Canada accept 5.5 in IELTS?

A. Yes. Canada is among the few countries that do accept a 5.5 in IELTS. However, this does not apply for all courses. Though some Canadian universities may accept 5.5 bandscore, they will most likely ask you to meet additional requirements such as an exceptional academic record. Also, this minimum score range may not be applicable for advanced courses such as nursing or psychology.

Q. How long is an IELTS score valid for studying in the UK?

A. IELTS scores remain valid for two years from the result date. During this time, you can use your scores for university applications, job opportunities, and immigration purposes. If your IELTS scores are more than two years old, you’ll need to retake the test. Importantly, there’s no set limit on how many times you can retake the IELTS test.

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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