What is the TEF exam?
All immigrants applying through the Express Entry system must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French. The Test d’Évaluation du Français (TEF Canada) is the only exam for proving proficiency in French, so if you want to claim points for French, you must take this exam.
The TEF test examines four different abilities in French: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The exam is offered in many countries around the world, however spaces are often limited, so interested candidates should register in advance.
Express Entry includes three different immigration programs, each having a different minimum requirement for language (see below). However, Express Entry is highly competitive, so candidates who score higher than the minimum will have a greater chance of success.
Please note that for Express Entry, all language test results are valid for two years from the date of the exam.
TEF Canada / TEF Quebec
The Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF Canada) tests the French language proficiency of both native and non-native French speakers.
TEF Canada is recognized as official proof of language proficiency by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as well as the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) du Québec for permanent residency applications, certificat de sélection du Québec applications and Canadian citizenship applications.
TEF Canada assesses the candidate’s level of proficiency using a 7-level scale based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). These levels are described in detail for each skill (reading/listening/writing/speaking).
The TEF Canada consists of 4 modules: listening, speaking, reading and/or writing.
Compréhension écrite (reading)
Compréhension orale (listening)
Expression écrite (writing)
Expression orale (speaking)
For immigration to Quebec only, two modules are compulsory: Compréhension orale and Expression orale.
For immigration to Canada Federal (including Quebec) 4 modules are compulsory:
All four modules are held on the same day
How does TEF impact Express Entry?
Those interested in Express Entry must first create an Express Entry profile. As a part of this profile, candidates must include the results from an official language test. Based on their Express Entry profile, candidates will be assigned a score, out of 1200 points, called the Comprehensive Ranking System score, or CRS score.
All Express Entry candidates must include a language test. However, those including French-language test results from the TEF exam may have a few advantages. First, if a candidate submits TEF results showing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 7 or higher, they will receive additional points for French-language.
As well, French-language proficiency may make candidates eligible for some French-speaking Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), like that of Ontario.
If you are planning to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, you will have to prove that you can communicate in at least one of Canada’s official languages, either English or French. The only accepted exam for proving French-language proficiency in Express Entry is the Test d’Évaluation du Français (TEF Canada). French-speakers have several advantages in the Express Entry system.