What is the IELTS score required for New Zealand?

Table of contents

  1. Which should you take for an IELTS score in New Zealand?
  2. How many bands are required for New Zealand?
  3. IELTS band score for New Zealand student visa
  4. IELTS score needed for New Zealand for different categories
  5. How much band is required for New Zealand for top universities?
  6. Conclusion
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

Meeting the government’s English language proficiency standard is essential for working in New Zealand. The Government mandates the submission of a minimum IELTS score for New Zealand as  English proficiency for various visa categories, such as Skilled Migrant, Business, and Residence from Work visas.

Let’s take a look and learn more about the New Zealand band requirements for IELTS!

Which should you take for an IELTS score in New Zealand?

There are two available options: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Your choice should align with your specific goals.

The Academic test is typically for university admission, while General Training is for migration purposes. Before booking your test, verify the requirements set by the organization you intend to work or study with.

In brief, all New Zealand universities take Academic IELTS. However, some destinations, companies, and immigration authorities take General Training IELTS. Make sure you understand the difference between IELTS Academic and General Training.

How many bands are required for New Zealand?

To be eligible for a study visa, students must attain the required IELTS score. For undergraduate programs, the minimum overall score is 6.0, and the minimum band score of 5.5 for each band is required. For graduate courses, an overall IELTS band score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 in each band are deemed sufficient. 

For the universities that are ranked highly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or business areas, the minimum score of 7.0 overall and in each band for programs such as Engineering, Teaching, or Education Studies is required.

IELTS band score for New Zealand student visa

S.No.Program to StudyMinimum IELTS Score for New Zealand
1Diploma 6.0 with no band less than 5.5
2Bachelor6.0 with no band less than 5.5
3Graduate6.0 with no band less than 5.5
4Post-graduate 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
5Master Programme6.5 with no band less than 6.0

IELTS score needed for New Zealand for different categories:

Skilled Migrant Category: 

Visa eligibility in this area is assessed according to a points system taking into account the prospective applicant’s age, work experience, credentials, and a job offer in the skilled work category. For your general or academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) band score to be 6.5, you need to have the corresponding score.

 Residence from Work Category

After completing the two-year stay under the Work to Residence (Talent) Visa classification, you would be eligible for residence status in the Residence from Work Category.

To be eligible, you must:

  • The period of residence in New Zealand on a Work to Residence visa for at least two years.
  • Satisfy specified health and character criteria.
  • Attain an IELTS certificate with an overall band score of at least 5 in either the IELTS General or IELTS Academic module.

How much band is required for New Zealand for top universities?

University NameWorld ranking IELTS Overall 
University of Auckland68Overall score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 
Victoria University of Wellington241Minimum score 6.5 overall with no sub-score below 6.0
University of Canterbury256An average score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking
University of Waikato250Overall score of 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band)
University of Otago2477.5 overall with a minimum of 7 in each band
Massey University 5986.5 for postgraduate programmes with no band less than 6.0


The IELTS score is a vital prerequisite for those aspiring to study, work, or migrate to New Zealand. This exam assesses the proficiency of non-native English speakers in comprehending and utilizing the language across different scenarios. The New Zealand government sets specific IELTS score criteria for each visa category, emphasizing the need to ascertain the appropriate visa classification and required score prior to exam registration.

If you have any further inquiries regarding IELTS and the Postgraduate Diploma in New Zealand, please contact our expert admissions consultants at Nomad Credit. We offer guidance on score requirements and university eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are 5 bands in IELTS for New Zealand good?

A band score of 5 in IELTS for New Zealand is considered acceptable for certain programs and visa categories, but it may limit your options. Some institutions and immigration categories may require higher scores for admission or visa eligibility. It’s advisable to check the specific requirements of your intended program or visa category to determine if a band score of 5 meets their criteria.

Is there any IELTS exemption for entering New Zealand?

Yes, the selection of the IELTS exam isn’t the only alternative for those aiming to study in New Zealand. For instance, you can present a certificate of passing the British secondary education using English as the medium of instruction or another language test score, for example, from TOEFL, PTE, CAE, or ESOL.

How many categories of visas are available for migrating to New Zealand?

There are four visa categories for migration to New Zealand: Work and Residence Permit for Employment, Work and Residence Permit for Employment, and Work and Residence Permit for Business.

What is the validity period of my IELTS test results?

The results of the IELTS test remain valid for a period of 2 years. New Zealand universities usually admit those results which are obtained in the last two years before this year.

Could I retake the IELTS exam in case I failed to get a satisfactory score?

Yes, if you don’t get the standard score you expected, you can rewrite this exam. Yet, you have to wait a minimum of three months before you can retake the test.

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