Citizenship Language Requirement

Applicants for citizenship between the ages of 18-54 must provide evidence of their knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages on the date their application is submitted. The minimum language abilities to be met are described in the regulations as the capacity to:

  • Take part in short, every-day conversations;
  • Understand simple instructions and questions;
  • Use basic grammar, simple structures and tenses in oral communication;
  • Use vocabulary that is adequate for routine oral communication.

The applicant for Citizenship must have English or French speaking and listening abilities that meet the language requirements described above. Written proficiency is not necessary. Evidence of language proficiency must include one of the following:

  • Results of a third-party language test, approved by IRCC, showing CLB or NCLC level 4 or higher in listening and speaking;
  • Diploma or transcripts showing secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, either in Canada or abroad;
  • Results from a government-funded language course showing CLB or NCLC 4 or higher;

Individuals who underwent language testing in the process of applying for permanent residence can use those results as evidence of proficiency, even if they have since expired.

Language tests currently approved by IRCC for citizenship application purposes are:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
  • Canadian English Language-Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP General and LS);
  • TEF, TEFAQ (Test d’évaluation de français pour l’accès au Québec) or TEF pour la naturalisation; 
  • Test d’évaluation du français adapté au Québec (TEFAQ).
  • TEF pour la naturalisation