What are the English language requirements for a student visa?

All Australian student visa applications require evidence of your English language skills. The level of your course will dictate the level of English language you need. For most courses, a minimum score of 5.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required. Some university courses require 6.0 and above, while nursing or medicine may require a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS.

In addition to IELTS, there are other acceptable tests including Cambridge English, TOEFL internet-based test, Pearson Test of English (PTE) and Occupational English Test. These systems require minimum scores of an equivalent level to IELTS. Any English language test results used for the purposes of a student visa must have been obtained in the two years prior to your application.


Are you coming to Australia with the intention to learn English? If you are concerned about your ability to pass these tests, not to worry, because registering in an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) will exempt you from meeting the English language requirement.

Some other examples of students who would be exempt are:

  • Citizens and passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland.
  • You are registered in a post-graduate course.
  • You have completed at least five years of study in any of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, NZ, South Africa or the Republic of Ireland.

Check out some other exemptions here.

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