English-speaking background

If you speak and understand English because of your work or home life, you may be able to use this to prove your English language ability.

Meeting our English language requirements

You need to show us you have a minimum standard of English when you apply for any of these visas:

  • an Entrepreneur Work Visa or Entrepreneur Resident Visa
  • an Employees of Relocating Businesses Resident Visa
  • an Investor 2 Resident Visa
  • a Religious Worker Resident Visa
  • a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa
  • a Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Resident Visa
  • a Long Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa
  • a Parent Resident Visa
  • a Dependent Child Resident Visa
  • an Active Investor Plus Visa.

Instead of an English language test, you may be able to show us that you are a competent user of English through having an English-speaking background.

Proving you have an English-speaking background

When you apply, the evidence you provide can include:

  • certificates showing you were taught in English for all the years you were at primary school and for at least 3 years of secondary school
  • certificates showing you were taught in English for 5 years at secondary school
  • a tertiary qualification that was taught in English, which took 3 or more years to complete, or
  • certificates showing you have a qualification listed in our ‘English Language Information’ leaflet.

English Language Information (INZ1060) PDF 254KB

Other reasons you can speak English which support a visa application

You may be able to show us that you are a competent user of English for other reasons, including:

  • English is the only language you speak
  • the country you live in now or any countries you have lived in before are English-speaking
  • how long you have lived in any English-speaking countries
  • your family speaks no language other than English
  • your family speaks English
  • you have to speak English for your work either now or in the past.

Even if you provide evidence that you have an English-speaking background, we may still ask you to provide us with an English language test result to show that you meet the minimum standard. If we are not satisfied that your level of English meets our requirements, you may have to pay for English lessons.


The principal applicant for some resident visas cannot meet our requirements by paying for English lessons.

Learning English after you come to New Zealand