English Language Requirement for Immigration/Citizenship

From June 11 2015, all adults between 14 and 64 who apply for citizenship must send IRCC proof that they meet the language requirement for citizenship. For this they must have proof that they meet the Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 – click here to see the CLB 4 description Benchmark description.

If you already submitted proof of language ability for your application for permanent residence as a Federal Skilled Worker or for the Canadian Experience Class, you will need to send this again.

If you have completed your secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, you will need a transcript, diploma, certificate or degree to prove this. Note: a single course done in English or French is not enough.

If you attended a LINC program you will need to send in proof of achieving CLB 4 in speaking and listening. Note: Initial placement tests by a LINC assessment  centre and/or attendance at local (Whistler/Pemberton) ESL groups are not accepted as proof of achieving CLB 4 in speaking and listening.

If you do not have any of these documents, you will need to take an approved English (or French) language test showing that you meet the CLB 4 description Benchmark description.

Accepted English language tests

  • CELPIP General is the IRCC approved test that many people will take to apply for permanent residence. IRCC will also accept a copy of these results for your citizenship application.
  • CELPIP General LS – listening and speaking version of the CELPIP General test. It is advisable to take this test if you have not taken a General Test for permanent residence or if you do not have evidence of a secondary or post secondary qualification in English;      or
  • IELTS – General training (International English Language Testing System); or
  • click here for an approved test for the French language

Sample test materials are held by Whistler Settlement Services. Contact your local Welcome Centre to ask for access and to borrow

Sample test materials can also be found online

Scoring of the CELPIP and IELTS

CELPIP and IELTS will not tell you if you pass or fail. You will receive a number as your result. For CELPIP Test Takers, you must receive a level 4 or higher in both speaking and listening to achieve the level required for citizenship. For IELTS Test Takers, you must receive a level 4.0 or higher in speaking and a level 4.5 or higher in listening to achieve the level required for citizenship.

Note: IRCC may change the language requirements at any time. Please check the IRCC website for up-to-date information.

Remember, you need to achieve Canadian Language Benchmark 4 in listening and speaking only. The IELTS test results are shown in 10 levels, but a level 4 should show a sufficient level of competence.

Find full details of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) requirements at  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/language.asp

Click here to find out if you have Acceptable documents for the citizenship language requirement