Do I need a language test to immigrate to Canada?

Do I need a language test to immigrate to Canada?

Many of Canada’s economic immigration programs require candidates to complete a language test to be eligible to apply.

This article will provide an overview of important details about whether a reader may need a language test on their immigration journey to Canada. For example, the following will cover which programs require language tests and the types of language tests accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Which Canadian economic immigration programs require a language test?

According to IRCC, 12 economic immigration programs currently require candidates to take a language test to qualify*. They are:

*Each program may have different standards regarding the score that a candidate must obtain on their language test to qualify for that specific program

What are my next steps if I require a language test?

Candidates who are applying to an economic immigration program that requires a language test must:

  • Schedule their test with an approved agency
  • Pay the cost of the language test*

*The cost of a language test may vary depending on the agency that administers it

Which language tests are accepted by IRCC?

IRCC accepts five different language tests in total, three for English test takers and two for those taking a French language test. They are:


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Core

  • Economic immigration candidates must take the PTE Core option


What do I do once I take the test and receive my results?

After a candidate takes the test, IRCC “will verify the test results with the testing organizations to prove [the candidate’s] language skills.”

At this time, a candidate’s next steps will depend on whether they are applying for a program managed under IRCC’s Express Entry system.

  • Express Entry applicants: Candidates who are applying through Express Entry must enter their results directly into the online profile they created with IRCC
  • All other candidates: All candidates applying to a non-Express Entry program that requires a language test must include a copy of their test results alongside the application they submit to IRCC

In both scenarios, test results used to apply for Canadian immigration are only considered valid if they are less than two years old when a candidate applies for permanent residence.

Note: Candidates with test results that expire soon should consider re-taking their test and updating their Express Entry profile with the new test results.