In order to become a citizen of Canada, applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 must show “an adequate knowledge” of either English or French, the two official languages of Canada. For the purposes of citizenship, “adequate knowledge” means an applicant meets Level 4 speaking and listening ability of the Niveaux de compétence Linguistique Canadien (NCLC) or the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB).
In general, this level of proficiency means you can use different tenses, simple sentence structures, and can answer questions in English and French. If you are at Level 4 in proficiency, you should be able to follow instructions in one of these two languages and have simple conversations.
Proving Proficiency with Tests
If you are currently enrolled in a post-secondary or secondary school in Canada, your transcript or your diploma from such a school can establish you meet language requirements. If you do not have a diploma and need to prove your knowledge of French or English, you can use the following tests:
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). You can use either the CELPIP General test or the General LS, which tests both listening and speaking.
- International English Language Testing System General (IELTS – General)
- Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF). This test assesses your French ability and you can take either the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEFAQ) or the TEF pour la naturalisation, which tests both listening and speaking skills.
If you have immigrated to Québec, you may have submitted the results of tests such as the Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF), Test de Connaissance du français (TCF), Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF), or the Test de Connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCFQ) as part of your immigration application. If that is the case, you can use the results of these tests as proof of your language skills when applying for citizenship.
If you have questions about applying for Canadian citizenship, Immigration Direct has a free Knowledge Base with resources to help you understand the process more fully. In addition, we have kits with everything you need to start the citizenship application process.