Minimum English requirements for Australian visas

Do I need an English test to apply for an Australia visa?

Depending on the visa you are applying for you may be expected to meet a minimum standard of English. The level required will largely depend on the type of visa you are applying for and whether or not you need to claim points for your English if applying for a points-based visa.

Are there English requirements for all visas?

Applicants for visitor, partner, parent and working holiday visas are not required to meet English Language requirements.

English language requirements for family members

The acceptable level of English language is usually lower for partners and children over 18 years of age than it is for the principal applicant (main visa holder/seeker). There are also exemptions available under certain visa categories. See below for more information.

How can I prove that I meet the requirements?

You may prove your English skills via a recognised test such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System), PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic), TOEFL IBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test), OET (Occupational English Test), or FCE (Cambridge English: First).

The IELTS test the most widely accepted. Please note that some skills assessing authority may require you to sit a specific test from the above list and/or score certain points in each band.

To prove Competent level of English, evidence of being a citizen of and holding a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland is acceptable. Alternatively, you can sit one of the above English tests where you will need to score minimum 6 in each band if opting for the IELTS test (General or Academic)

Who needs to meet the minimum standard?

Skilled Migration

General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visas

The principal applicant and partner if claiming points for partner's skills or English. Everyone else aged 18 or over included in the application, unless exempt.

This popular category is meant to attract skilled professionals into Australia. As such, the requirements are relatively high with an IELTS test band score result of at least 7 in each band required for the principal applicant and at least 6 in each band for their partner (for points purposes).

If not claiming points for English, the principal applicant will only need to score at least 6 in each band – Competent English or hold a valid passport from one of these countries: Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States or Ireland.

Other English tests are also acceptable, and your personal Migration Agent can make recommendations.

If not claiming points for partner's skills or English, the partner and children aged 18 will only need to score an overall band score of at least 4.5 – Functional English. The family members can be exempt from sitting an English test if they each hold a valid passport from a certain country or undertook their schooling or tertiary education at an institution where all instruction was in English.

While English Tests completed within 36 months prior to lodgement of a visa application will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs for points purposes, Functional English requires testing to have been done at most 12 months before lodgement.

If your partner and/or children do not meet the requirements, you will be required to pay the English Language Charge (2nd instalment)

Employer sponsored
Business categories
Family categories

English Language Charge (2nd instalment)

You might be required to pay an extra visa application charge also known as the second instalment for any applicant 18 years old or older who has less than functional English. The second instalment charge varies and depends on the visa subclass: AUD4,885 for each family member included in one of GSM residence class visa, AU$4890 for each family member included in GSM provisional visa, AU$9800 for each family member included in Employer Nominated Scheme residence visas, AU$9,795 for the principal applicant applying for a business visa, AU$4,890 for each family member included in a business visa.

Not sure what visa is right for you?

Take our online eligibility assessment or get in touch with our team!