For applicants for Canadian citizenship between the ages of 18 and 54*, Canada requires that they prove that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) calls for a “Adequate knowledge” of English or French..
Canada uses four general guidelines to define “adequate” knowledge of any of its official languages. These guidelineslisted below are considered skills that represent sufficient ability to speak and listen in English or French.
- The ability to participate in short, everyday conversations about common topics.
- The ability to understand simple instructions, questions and prompts.
- The ability to use basic grammar, including simple verb structures and tenses.
The ability to demonstrate that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.
*The age requirement for language proficiency is determined by the applicant’s age on the day they sign their application for Canadian citizenship.
How does the IRCC measure my language skills?
IRCC uses the following three methods to assess the language skills of eligible Canadian citizenship applicants*.
- Review the language test submitted along with a citizenship application.
- Assess an applicant’s ability to speak by speaking with a citizenship officer at any time during the application process.
- Assess your language level during a citizenship test with an official, if necessary
Further: You can find all the details about the Canadian citizenship process, including the types of supporting documents you need to include with your application. here
*Certain Canadian citizenship applicants may receive an accommodation (aid) or exemption (exemption) from this part of the citizenship process. More on that later.
Is there any equivalence between my language level for citizenship and permanent residence?
According to the Government of Canada, “adequate” knowledge of English or French is required. equivalent to obtaining a level 4 on the speaking and listening portion of the CLB or NCLC language tests.
Can I request an accommodation or exemption to the language skills requirement for Canadian citizenship?
Applicants for Canadian citizenship may request/receive an accommodation or exemption from the language skills requirement.
For example, IRCC notes that the following groups of applicants may request accommodations.
- Applicants with conditions (including disabilities) that are medical, physiological, psychological or cognitive.
- Applicants who cannot take the citizenship test online
- Applicants who take the citizenship test online but cannot remove their face covering
Complete details about accommodations for Canadian citizenship can be found, including the types of assistance IRCC can provide (braille, large print, sign language interpretation, etc.) and how to request an accommodation from IRCC. here.
Valid reasons for an exemption, as decided by the IRCC, include, but are not limited to:
- A serious medical condition (serious illness, physical or developmental disability, or mental impairment) that has lasted (or may last) for at least 1 year.
- Trauma due to war, torture, living in a refugee camp, etc.
- Low levels of education or literacy in the first language (mother tongue)
On the contrary, the IRCC considers the exemption requests submitted invalid for the following reasons.
- An applicant needs time to study for the citizenship test.
- An applicant cannot cover the cost of taking a third-party language test.
Click here for more information about receiving an exemption from Canadian citizenship requirements, including how to apply for an exemption and what to expect after submitting an exemption application.