Generally speaking, IELTS results are valid for 2 years.
This is the validity period recommended by the owners of the IELTS test, and the vast majority of organisations around the world follow this recommendation.
However, since each organisation is free to set a validity period that works for their purposes, there are exceptions. You should always check the validity period for the organisation you are applying to.
Validity for skilled migration
For skilled migration, most countries specify a validity period of 2 years for IELTS results, with the notable exception of Australia, where IELTS results are usually valid for 3 years.
The key date is usually the date of application, not the date of approval. That is, your IELTS results must be valid when you apply for your visa.
Here is an overview:
|Country||Validity period||More information|
|Australia||3 years||Department of Home Affairs|
|Canada||2 years||Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada|
|New Zealand||2 years||Immigration New Zealand|
|United Kingdom||2 years||UK Visas and Immigration|
NOTE: The United States does not have English language requirements for its visas.
Validity for university study
Most universities specify a validity period of 2 years for IELTS results.
For most universities, the key date is the date your course starts, not the date of application. That is, your IELTS results must be valid when your course starts, not just when you apply.
NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption to English language testing around the world, some universities have temporarily extended the validity period. You should check whether the university you are applying to has done this.