No. You cannot use TOEFL for Canada Immigration. TOEFL is primarily used for academic purposes and student visas and not for the immigration process, irrespective of how high your score is. According to reports, Canada’s immigration laws prefer either IELTS General or CELPIP (The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) to meet immigration criteria.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is mainly designed for an academic environment and is run by Educational Testing Services (ETS), a private non-profit organization. Note that this test was created in the early ‘60s by some organizations in the USA and first used in 1964.

However, since 1973 it has been run by ETS. The TOEFL test is very similar to the IELTS, but unlike the IELTS, the tests take place on the same day, with breaks between the Listening and Speaking sections. It is also a popular test and is graded on a 120-point scale.

Truth be told, when looking to move to Canada, you will be expected to provide language test results from an authorized organization. According to the IRCC, only two authorized test providers in English are accepted for immigration purposes: the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).

If you intend to take your language test in French, then you will have to take the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). And since results from all three tests are valued equally, you can choose to take whichever test is more convenient for you. Howbeit, regardless of the language test you take, the results will have to be from within the last two years (24 months) to be valid.

Note that no matter the test you decide to take, your results will be converted into Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), or Niveaux de competence linguistique canadiens (NCLC), levels. CLB levels run from 4 (poor) to 10 (excellent). When Canadian immigration programs indicate a language requirement; they are more or less referring to a CLB level.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Language Test for Canada Immigration

Just as was noted above, Canada’s immigration laws prefer either IELTS General or CELPIP (The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) to meet immigration criteria. While you can sit for TOEFL if you are looking to use the result for academic purposes in Canada, here are factors that will influence your choice of a language test for Canadian immigration.

  1. Consider Your Target School or Visa Program

To choose the best language test to take, you must consider the exact test your school or visa program prefers. A good number of schools in Canada still work with TOEFL, while others prefer IELTS. However, if you are looking to immigrate to Canada, you should settle for the IELTS language test.

  1. Take The Exam That Will Help Show Your Strengths

Truth be told, no two persons have the same strengths and weaknesses. You may be more comfortable or very good at reading and writing than speaking and listening. There may also be areas where you flourish without much stress and others where you don’t do so well. Depending on this, choose the exact language test that aligns with your strengths.

If you don’t do well with writing, then you might want to avoid the IELTS exam. For the IELTS exam, you will be expected to write short answers to many questions, while TOEFL has a few written answers. Most questions are multiple-choice on the TOEFL; therefore go for this if you are not so strong with written words.

  1. Pick The Exam That Is More Convenient for You

For individuals with formidable typing speed, the TOEFL test is super ideal as this exam tends to be computer-based. Howbeit, if you write faster on paper then go for IELTS as they make available paper-based options as well as computer-based exams. You may also find that IELTS has more test locations than TOEFL. If you live in a metropolitan city, then both exams should be equally accessible to you.

  1. Choose a Text That Will Be Easier for You

Have it in mind that the TOEFL exam only uses academic texts, while IELTS leverages a combination of academic as well as exerts from magazines and newspapers.

This entails that the text provided on the TOEFL test can be more challenging to understand, and will only be easy for you if your English language proficiency is at the university level. But if you are not so certain about where you stand with your reading skills, then go for the IELTS test.

  1. Decide If You Are Comfortable Having A Real Time Conversation With Someone

For a good number of people, speaking with an examiner can be more challenging and may lead to poor performance. Therefore, if you are nervous about interacting with someone directly for the speaking section of your test, you should settle for the TOEFL exam.

Have in mind that the TOEFL exam is completely computer-based, and you will have to speak into a microphone for the speaking section of your test. Meanwhile, the IELTS requires you to have an actual conversation with a person. So when deciding the ideal exam for you, go for the test that feels easier and more natural to you.


Proving your language proficiency is very necessary when looking to immigrate to Canada. If you score well on your language test, you are considered a viable addition to the country’s workforce or student population. While you cannot use TOEFL for Canada Immigration, students can prove their English language ability by taking the IELTS Academic (most common) or TOEFLiBT tests.