There are several immigration paths available to people who want to immigrate to Canada and one of the paths you can leverage is Express Entry. If you choose to immigrate to Canada via Express Entry or even PNP, you will need to prove that you can communicate in at least one of the nation’s official languages which are English or French.

Interestingly, the Canadian government has set a goal to increase its French-speaking immigrant population by 4.4 percent by 2023. The implication is that, as a potential migrant, you might have an advantage if you pass one of Canada’s widely used French language proficiency tests.

Please note that as part of the requirements for your immigration and citizenship process, the government of Canada will request proof of your knowledge of French. If you are entering the country via Express Entry, the only acceptable proficiency exam is the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF).

Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF)

Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF) is also known as the French Evaluation Test. The Test allows candidates to prove their French proficiency on immigration or citizenship applications. Please note that it is compulsory to obtain Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF) in the following cases:

  • To immigrate to Canada and become a Canadian citizen
  • To certify one’s French-language ability if it is required for employment
  • To enroll in certain programs, including studying abroad (as an international student)

Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF) consists of three written sections: reading comprehension, written expression, and vocabulary and syntax. There are also two oral sections: listening comprehension and oral expression.

All five parts are compulsory if you are seeking to immigrate to Canada. If you are pursuing Canadian citizenship, only listening comprehension and oral expression are compulsory. The Canadian immigration application consists of:

  • Listening comprehension: 40 minutes/60 questions
  • Reading comprehension: 60 minutes/50 questions
  • Oral expression: 15 minutes/2 topics
  • Written expression: 60 minutes/2 topics

If you are preparing to apply for Canadian citizenship, the test consists of:

  • Listening comprehension: 40 minutes/60 questions
  • Oral expression: 15 minutes/2 topics

Please note that all Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF) sections must be completed on the same day for Canadian authorities to recognize your results (which are valid for immigration for up to two years).

French Test Required for Quebec Province

Now, if you choose to migrate to Quebec, then you should be prepared to write the specific proficiency tests required by Quebec and the tests are;

French Language Proficiency Tests for Immigrating to Quebec

Presently, most Francophones live in the province of Quebec. As the government boosts its overall numbers, it would also like to see speakers of French spread out across its provinces and territories. To incentivize French-speaking immigrants to live outside of Quebec, the government is:

  • Promoting Francophone immigration opportunities, pathways, and settlement services
  • Encouraging employers to recruit and employ French-speaking immigrants
  • Increasing the availability and accessibility of French language learning services
  • Supporting inclusive Francophone communities across Canada

Quebec will always be a popular choice for French-speaking immigrants and here are the accepted French tests you should consider if you are applying to immigrate to Quebec:

  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) (in French)
  • Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) (in French)
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF)
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCFQ)
  • Test d’Evaluation du français adapté pour le Québec (TEFaQ)

Whichever test you choose, it must be completed within one day for Canadian authorities to recognize your results during the immigration process.

Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)

Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) is a French language proficiency test for international students. If you are planning to pursue a degree in any subject within a program that is taught entirely in French, then you would be required to prove your understanding of the language by passing the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF).

Please note that the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) exam is divided into compulsory tests and optional tests. The compulsory tests have three subsections, which total 76 questions. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the compulsory portion of the exam.

Good enough, you can take this test several times, as long as there are 60 days between each attempt. It is always advisable for you to make the first attempt well in advance of your immigration application deadline or the beginning of your degree program (whichever is required by the university). You have the opportunity to try again if you don’t pass on your first attempt.

Test d’Evaluation du Français Adapté pour le Québec (TEFaQ)

Test d’Evaluation du Français Adapté pour le Québec (TEFaQ) is used to assess French comprehension and expression skills in people who are not native speakers of French. You can take this test if you intend to immigrate to Quebec. Additionally, it is the only French-language exam accepted for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Please note that the reading comprehension and written expression sections are optional for applicants. Listening comprehension and oral expression are compulsory for the principal applicant, but optional for the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner.

Test de Français International (TFI)

The Test de Français International (TFI) is used by language learners at all levels, regardless of occupation or background. It assesses listening and reading comprehension skills by using everyday vocabulary, phrases, and key expressions in the context of real-world situations.

Please note that businesses and government organizations use this test for:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and determining promotions (where French is relevant)
  • Selecting employees for training in French
  • Defining goals and language requirements
  • Developing training programs
  • Measuring employee progress and proficiency in French

Please note that the Test de Français International (TFI) assessment is divided into two sections and they are:

Part I – Listening Comprehension: Test-takers listen to a variety of questions and answers, short dialogues, and talks recorded in French, and answer questions based on what they’ve heard. This section has three parts: questions, dialogues, and conversations.

Part II – Reading Comprehension: Test-takers read a variety of materials and answer questions based on what they’ve read. This section has three parts: error identification, incomplete sentences, and reading comprehension.

Here is How You Can Take a French Language Proficiency Test in Canada

If you are applying for Express Entry, you are expected to follow these steps:

  • First, make an appointment to have your skills assessed by an IRCC-approved organization, and pay the cost of the test.
  • To obtain the maximum number of points, take both the oral comprehension and expression tests.
  • Then, you will want to take the written tests if you write French at an advanced level.
  • After you complete the exam and receive your results, enter them into your Express Entry profile (along with your identification number, when prompted by the system).
  • Finally, attach the test results if you are invited to submit a request.

Do not send the results directly to IRCC unless you already have a file with them. When it is time to send your results, provide a copy, not the original. You are expected to keep the original version of your exam results in a safe place.

Please note that as an international student, if you are seeking admission to an undergraduate program in French, you must provide proof of proficiency at the level required by the degree program to which you are applying. You may be required to send a copy of your French language proficiency test results or a diploma from a previous language program.

In Conclusion

It is important to state that writing a French proficiency test will not only help you accumulate points for your Express Entry application, but it will also help you succeed in your daily social interactions and during your job search in Canada.

Please note that the French proficiency test is highly valued in some provinces like Quebec, and certain jobs. As a second language, the French proficiency test will add some points to your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for Express Entry. A higher score can increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) for residency. It can also speed up the overall immigration process.