The normal IELTS exam and IELTS UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) are ideally same exams which only vary in the context of their usage. The IELTS UKVI is accepted everywhere in the world just like the normal IELTS exam, but for immigrating to UK, only IELTS UKVI is acknowledged. IELTS UKVI Academics is often taken if a person has to study undergraduate or postgraduate courses and has to register professionally. The General Training module of the same is taken if a person has to migrate permanently to UK. Any candidate who has appeared for IELTS UKVI does not need to appear for another test if he wishes to apply anywhere else except for UK.
Both the exams follow same pattern, same difficulty level and same scoring pattern as well. However, the exam centre, the security measures, display of the result differs. Not all the test centers are authorized to conduct IELTS UKVI. Only those centers which are specified by the UKVI are allowed to conduct this test. Even the booking of this exam is done only through British Council, not at other centers. In India, IELTS UKVI can be taken up through computer at a few designated centers.
The IELTS UKVI is monitored through cameras, and only a few candidates appear for this at one center as compared to the normal IELTS exam. No video surveillance is done in case of the normal IELTS exam, whereas for the other exam video of speaking module is recorded.
Where normal IELTS exam result is displayed on the websites of IDP and British Council, the result for IELTS UKVI are only sent by post in the form of TRF. The TRFs for the exams also vary slightly. The TRF for IELTS UKVI also bears the UKVI number.
The exam fee for both the exams is different. IELTS UKVI is expensive than the normal IELTS exam.