Language Tests for Canadian Immigration - IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF?

Language Tests for Canadian Immigration – IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF?

Almost every Canadian immigration program requires an applicant to provide language test results. Depending on the immigration pathway you chose and your work status, you need varying band scores for your language tests. This blog covers approved exams and the minimum level of language proficiency for Canadian immigration.

Types of Language Tests 

Canada is a bilingual country, so candidates are required to show eligibility by submitting test results in both official languages, English and French. IELTS, CELPIP, and TEF language tests assign a score for each of the four language abilities: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

1. IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

IELTS is an international system for assessing proficiency in the English language. It is the most popular English test in Canada. There are two categories of IELTS: General Training and Academic. For Canadian immigration, you should take the IELTS – General Training.

When you take the IELTS – General Training, you will get a score for each language ability, as well as an overall band score. For Canadian immigration purposes, your overall band score does not matter.

2. CELPIP (The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)

CELPIP is an English language assessment tool that measures listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. There are two CELPIP test types: the General Test and the General LS Test. For immigration, you have to take the CELPIP – General Test.

Note that both CELPIP and IELTS are approved and accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

3. TEF (Test d’Evaluation de Français)

The TEF is a French exam for Canada that evaluates the French language skills of candidates on a scale of 7. If would prefer to submit language test results demonstrating French proficiency, you must take the TEF. There are two types of this test: TEF Canada and TEFAQ. TEF test is accepted by both Quebec and federal immigration.

What test should you take?

Most Canadian immigration programs have minimum language requirements, but they are not all the same. The test you should choose depends on your purpose and chances of success.

If you need to apply for permanent residency, citizenship, or a professional designation, then choosing CELPIP is a good idea as it is designed for these purposes. If you have to apply for a study or work visa, then choosing IELTS is a good idea. If you s intend to prove your proficiency in French, go for the TEF test.

Before you apply for any immigration program in Canada, take the desired language test by:

  • Scheduling testing at an IRCC-approved centre and paying fees
  • Getting a minimum score according to the requirements of the selected immigration program
  • Entering the test results in your online profile
  • Keeping the original results and attach a copy to the application


Each immigration program in Canada has its own requirements. Some programs set a minimum threshold on the language score, while others use a system that awards points not only for language proficiency but also for age, education, and work experience. There are several testing centers that are available in India and your country. However, you will find online resources much more convenient and updated.

One you’re ready to apply for an immigration pathway, contact Dastur Immigration. Our consultants will help you apply for the best immigration program and increase your chances of getting accepted in Canada.

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