top of page
  • Writer's pictureC&A Insights Team

English/French Language Requirements for Canadian Immigration (IELTS, CELPIP, TEF)

Updated: May 15

To be eligible for an express entry program, such as Canadian Economic Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program etc., English or French language ability must be proven. Learn more about how you can meet the language requirements for your Canadian immigration.


English/French Language Requirements for Canadian Immigration (IELTS, CELPIP, TEF)


To be eligible for an express entry program, such as the Canadian Economic Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, etc., an English or French level of language proficiency must be proven. This article walks you specifically through these language requirements for Canadian immigration. Click on the links below to skip to specific parts of this guide:

Which language tests are accepted?


Any of the following approved language tests are accepted to fulfill the language requirements for Canadian immigration:


1. English

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (General)

  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System (General)

2. French

All the above-mentioned tests evaluate comprehension in reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills for the respective language. Based on the test scores, your language level is determined based on:

You must ensure that your test results are less than two years old when you submit the application for permanent residence.



What are the language requirements for Canadian Immigration Programs?


The test scores must meet the minimum requirement or threshold for the respective immigration program. The language scores required for Canadian Permanent Residency programs are as follows:


Canadian Economic Class (CEC):

  • Skill Type 0 and A: CLB 7 (Both English and French)

  • Skill Type B: CLB 6 (Both English and French)

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP):

  • CLB 7 (Both English and French)

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP):


1. English:

  • Speaking and Listening – CLB 5

  • Reading and Writing – CLB 4

2. French:

  • Speaking and Listening – NCLC 5

  • Reading and Writing – NCLC 4

You must meet the above language requirements for Canadian immigration programs to qualify. There are select provincial nominee programs that do not have the same language requirements. Please book a consultation to understand if you qualify for such a program. 


Need help to assess your eligibility for Canadian immigration?


We can help you understand the Canadian immigration options you may be eligible for and calculate your CRS score. There may be ways to improve your score depending on your profile.


What is CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark)?


The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) describe 12 levels of ability in each of four different language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.


The CLB is used in Canada to describe the language ability of people who are learning English or French. For each language skill, you receive a separate benchmark, and this benchmark indicates how well you can function in that language skill.


There are three stages in the CLB. Stage I covers basic language ability (benchmarks 1 to 4). Stage II covers intermediate language ability (benchmarks 5 to 8). Stage III covers advanced language ability (benchmarks 9 to 12). 


The ability measured on the CLB scale has equivalence with the IELTS, CELPIP, and TEF language scores that you can test below. You can check if you meet the language requirements for Canadian immigration based on the converted score from the below tables. 


IELTS Score Required for Immigration (IELTS to CLB Conversion)


Below is a conversion from IELTS to CLB levels. You can find out the CLB language requirements for Canadian immigration programs here

CLB Level

Reading

Writing

Listening

Speaking

10

8.0 - 9.0

7.5 - 9.0

8.5 - 9.0

7.5 - 9.0

9

7.0

7.0

8.0

7.0

8

6.5

6.5

7.5

6.5

7

6.0

6.0

6.0

6.0

6

5.0

5.5

5.5

5.5

5

4.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

4

3.5

4.0

4.5

4.0


CELPIP Score Required for Immigration (CELPIP to CLB Conversion)


Below is a conversion from CELPIP to CLB levels. You can find out the CELPIP Score required for Canadian immigration programs here


CLB Level

Reading

Writing

Listening

Speaking

10

10

10

10

10

9

9

9

9

9

8

8

8

8

8

7

7

7

7

7

6

6

6

6

6

5

5

5

5

5


TEF Score Required for Immigration (TEF to CLB Conversion)


Below is a conversion from TEF to CLB levels. You can find out the CLB language requirements for Canadian immigration programs here


CLB Level

Reading

Writing

Listening

Speaking

10

263-277

393-415

316-333

​393-415

9

248-262

371-392

298-315

​371-392

8

233-247

349-370

280-297

​349-370

7

207-232

310-348

249-279

310-348

6

181-206

271-309

217-248

271-309

5

151-180

226-270

181-216

226-270

4

121-150

181-225

​145-180

181-225


How do I book my IELTS test?


East! Click on the link below to book your IELTS test at a test center near you. Make sure you practice, practice, and practice before your test! Remember, you will need the General IELTS for Canadian immigration purposes. If you are applying for education programs in Canada, you will need Academic IELTS.


A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.