Student visa English language requirements

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You will need to meet the English language requirement to apply for a student visa.

Some student visa applicants may need to provide the results of an English language test with their visa application. You can find out if you are likely to need to provide this evidence by using the Document Checklist Tool.

Student visa evidentiary requirements

Where you need to provide documentary evidence, you will need to provide one of the following with your visa application:

  • evidence of an acceptable English language test score
  • evidence that you fall within an exempt category.

If you are not required to provide evidence of your English language capacity, we will retain the discretion to seek evidence of English language proficiency where appropriate.

Acceptable English language test score

Where evidence of English Ianguage is required, the following minimum English language test score from the following providers will be accepted: 

​English language provider test​Minimum test score​Minimum test score where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS​Minimum test score where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS
​International English Language Testing System​5.5​5​4.5
​*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based​527​500​450
​TOEFL internet based test ​46​35​32
​Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English)​162​154​147
​Pearson Test of English Academic​42​36​30
​Occupational English Test**​Pass​Pass​Pass

*The TOEFL paper based test will only be accepted from limited countries.

** The Occupational English Test includes a mark between A and E. An A or B is considered a pass.

The test must have been taken no more than two years before the student visa application is made.

Where our online application system indicates that documentary evidence of English language proficiency is required, it is important for you to attach these documents to your visa application before lodging your application. Failure to do so may result in visa refusal.

English language exemptions

If you fall into one of the following student categories, you are exempt from providing evidence of English language proficiency requirements with your visa application:

  • students enrolled in fulltime school studies as a principal course, including secondary exchange programmes; postgraduate research courses; standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS); and Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students
  • students who have completed at least five years’ study in one or more of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
  • citizens and passport holders of one of the following English‑speaking countries: UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland
  • students who have successfully completed in Australia in the English language either the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or studies at the Certificate IV or higher level, in the two years before applying for the student visa.

The full list of English language exemption categories is specified in a Legislative Instrument.

Packaging English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

You can package ELICOS with other courses. There is a minimum English language requirement when a course is packaged with English which depends on the amount of ELICOS undertaken (shown in the table above). There is no limit on the amount of ELICOS that can be studied. However, if your ELICOS course is more than 12 months you should provide lots of information with your visa application showing how you meet the genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement.