Language ability in English and/or French is another very important factor for Express Entry.

All Express Entry candidates are required to obtain the results of an approved language test. There are no exceptions.

Even if you were born in the U.K. and have communicated in English your entire life, you would still need to take a test to prove your language proficiency as part of the immigration process.

How is language ability measured?

IRCC relies on two language benchmark systems to assess the language ability of candidates:

  1. For English: The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)
  2. For French: The Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC)

The Canadian government accepts two tests for proving English ability, and two tests for proving French language ability:


  • Only the General Training module will be accepted for Express Entry
  • The Academic test is not accepted for Express Entry

  • Only the CELPIP-General Test will be accepted for Express Entry
  • The General-LS test is not accepted for Express Entry


1) TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français, which includes:

  • compréhension de l’écrit 
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

2) TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français, which includes:

  • compréhension de 
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

Language testing if you have a medical disability

If you are unable to complete one or more sections of the language test because of a disability, you may be exempt from having to provide language test results in up to three of four language skill areas. Instead, you must:

All of the designated testing organizations must provide accommodations for people with mental or physical disabilities.

These accommodations are not standardized or consistent between organizations, however they include modified test materials, extra time to complete the test, and the use of assistive technology.

Any individual with disabilities requesting accommodation is required to provide medical documentation to the testing organization in order to be accommodated. 


Language ability is not only important for meeting the eligibility requirements of an Express Entry program, it is also crucial to increasing your CRS points and maximizing your chances of receiving an ITA. Improving your ability in English or French, as well as practicing for the language test, should be a point of focus for anyone going through Express Entry.

Even if your ability in English or French is advanced, it is still in your interest to practice for (or at least review) the language test format before taking the test.