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English Language

You will need to meet certain English language requirements to apply for:

  • student visas
  • skilled visas
  • some permanent visas

Check the eligibility pages in the visas you wish to apply for, to see the level required.

To prove you have functional English, you will need to provide evidence that:

  • you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland; or
  • your English has been assessed as functional by an Australian Adult Migrant English Program service provider;  or
  • you completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English; or
  • you undertook your education at:
InstitutionStudy time
a primary school and secondary school where all instruction was in English in or outside AustraliaAll years of primary and at least 3 years of secondary study
a secondary school in or outside Australia where all instruction was in EnglishAt least 5 years of study
an institution in Australia where all instruction was in EnglishAt least 1 year of full-time study towards an award
an institution in Australia where all instruction was in EnglishThe part-time equivalent of 1 year of full-time study towards an award

or

  • in the 12 months before you applied for the visa, you scored one of the following:
TestScore
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)An average band score of at least 4.5 for each or the 4 test components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)A total band score of at least 32 based on the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)An overall band score of at least 30 for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)An overall band score of at least 147 for each of the four test components

Some visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages to find out.

To prove you have vocational English, show evidence that:

  • you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland; or
  • in the 3 years before you applied for the visa, you scored one of the following:
TestScore
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)At least 5 for each of the 4 test components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)At least 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)At least 36 for each of the 4 test components
Occupational English Test (OET)At least B for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge C1 Advanced test​At least 154 in each of the 4 test components

Some visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages to find out.

To prove you have competent English, provide evidence:

  • that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, with your application; or
  • you have an obtained one of the following English language test results:

Specified test results

TestRequired score
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)At least 6 for each of the 4 components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)At least 50 for each of the 4 components
Occupational English Test (OET)At least B for each of the 4 components
​Cambridge C1 Advanced testAt least 169 in each of the 4 components

When to provide proof

When you must have taken your test and how long the test result is valid

SubclassApplicantWhen to provideValidity
Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)Main/primaryBy time of applicationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of application
Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme (subclass 187) – Direct Entry pathwayMain/primaryBy time of applicationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of application
Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) subclass 188) (Entrepreneur stream)Main/primary By time of invitationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Independent (subclass 189)(Points tested stream)Main/primaryBy time of invitationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)Main/primaryBy time of invitationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation
Skilled Regional (provisional) (subclass 489)(first provisional stream)Main/primaryBy time of invitationTest cannot have been undertaken more than 3 years before the date of invitation

For the subclasses 189, 190 and 489 if you are claiming partner points then your partner must also have Competent English at time of invitation.

To prove you have Proficient English, you need to show evidence that in the 3 years before you are invited to apply for a visa, you scored one of the following:

TestScore
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)At least 7 for each of the 4 test components​
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)At least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)At least 65 for each of the 4 test components​
Occupational English Test (OET)At least B for each of the 4 test components​
Cambridge C1 Advanced testAt least 185 in each of the 4 test components​

Some visas will allow you to submit other forms of evidence. Check the relevant visa pages to find out.

To prove you have Superior English, you need to show evidence that in the 3 years before you are invited to apply for the visa, you scored one of the following:

TestScore
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)At least 8 for each of the 4 test components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)At least 28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing and 26 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)At least 79 for each of the 4 test components
Occupational English Test (OET)At least A for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge C1 Advanced test​At least 200 in each of the 4 test components
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