English Language Requirement for Immigration/Citizenship

Language requirements for immigration

Requirements for proof of language proficiency vary between immigration streams. Proof of language proficiency must be less than 2 years old on the date of submission. See section below for details of accepted English language tests. As of January 2019 required levels of language proficiency are:

Federal immigration programs
  • Federal Skilled Worker program: minimum language threshold is CLB 7 for all four skills (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing). If submitting language proficiency proof for a second official language, level required is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) (or NCLC for French) 5.
  • Canadian Experience Class: For NOC (National Occupational Classification) 0 or A, the required level is CLB 7 for all four skills. For NOC skills level B, the required level is CLB 5.
  • Federal Skilled Trades program: required levels are CLB 5 for Speaking and Listening, CLB 4 for Reading and Writing.
BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker: NOC Skill Type 0 pr Skills Level A are not required to submit language test results. NOC skill level B requires CLB 4 for all four skills.
  • Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker: applicants are required to meet federal language requirements (see above).
  • Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-skilled: CLB 4 in all four skills.

Language requirement for 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 for speaking and listening – 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.

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

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

For IELTS, you can access test preparation materials called ‘Road to IELTS’ from the Whistler Library website – via these pages:

If more than 3 people are accessing at the same time, you will get a message asking you to try again later. Please note, ‘Road to IELTS’ is not compatible with Internet Explorer, so you will need to use a different browser.

For CELPIP, sample test materials are held by Whistler Settlement Services. For access, and to borrow preparation materials, contact the Whistler Welcome Centre on

Other online sample test materials can also be found at

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. To see what CELPIP and IELTS scores are equivalent to the CLB levels, check https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/standard-requirements/language-requirements/test-equivalency-charts.html

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

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