Portuguese Language Test for Citizenship: Everything You Need to Know
CIPLE (Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira) is the name of the Portuguese Language Test. It is a mandatory test for foreign individuals who want to obtain Portuguese citizenship. The test is quite simple and It is sufficient to qualify as a minimum A2 level from the exam.
What does it mean to get an A2 level? The levels have three main branches. Each branch also divides into two. So, level A is for beginners, level B is for intermediate learners, and level C is for advanced learners. Their sub-branches are namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.
So, the language test examines if you have a basic knowledge of Portuguese. That’s why you don’t have to worry about the difficulty of the exam. Still, some preparation before the exam won’t hurt.
Who Must Take The Exam
If you’re eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship or for permanent residency in Portugal, you have to take the language test.
There are certain situations where you will be exempt from the test. You don’t have to take the exam if you meet one of the following conditions:
- If you are married to a citizen of Portugal
- If you are eligible for Portuguese citizenship by naturalization
- If you are both older than 60 years and with a mental handicap or illiteracy
- If you are seriously ill or disabled
- If you are from a Portuguese speaking country
- If you have a certificate which declares that you have a Portuguese language level above A2
The Adapted Version of the Exam
Children under the age of ten and people who have difficulty in learning or special needs may take an adapted version of the language test.
Cost of the CIPLE Exam
The Portuguese language test (CIPLE) costs €72. MULTIBANCO and bank transfer are available options to pay the fee. Also, you must complete the payment process at least 24 hours before the exam.
It is sufficient to bring one of these documents to the exam:
- A passport
- An ID card
- A Portuguese residence permit
Duration and Sections of the Exam
The language exam lasts two hours in total. There are three sections in the exam; namely, Reading & Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
You usually have to wait about two weeks to receive A2 CIPLE exam results through the CIPLE website.
Reading & Writing (40%)
The duration of this section is 75 minutes. It makes up 45% of the exam.
So, what will you answer in the reading part? Well, you will read some texts such as a dialogue, a piece of news about someplace in the world, short stories, or a descriptive text. The reading questions will evaluate your comprehension of these texts.
The writing section expects you to write a short and simple text about yourself. Alternatively, it could be about something you feel or someone you know.
The listening section lasts 30 minutes. It makes up 30% of the exam. You will listen to some short audios such as a daily conversation or other simple sentences. After that, you will answer some questions about what you just heard.
The speaking section lasts around 10-15 minutes, making up 25% of the exam. Usually, there are two applicants at once in this section. You are expected to use simple daily phrases when you speak the language.
If you get a mark of at least 55%, you will pass the exam. The rest of the grading system is as follows:
- 0-54% : Fail
- 55-69% : Sufficient
- 70-84% : Good
- 85-100% : Very good
How to prepare for the Portuguese citizenship language test
Though the Portuguese citizenship language test is straightforward, preparation is important. Familiarizing yourself with the test format will increase your confidence and increase your chances of success. One of the prime resources to aid in your learning is the Instituto Camões, which offers a wealth of online materials and conducts courses globally.
Where to take the CIPLE exam
The CIPLE exam, governed by CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira), is available at numerous CAPLE-accredited centers worldwide. Internationally, the A2 CIPLE exam sessions are in May, July, and November. However, additional dates (CIPLE-P) are accessible within Portuguese test centers in June, September, October, and March.
How much does the CIPLE exam cost?
The CIPLE exam is priced at €72. Payment options include MULTIBANCO (only within Portugal) or bank transfer. Payments should be settled at least 24 hours prior to the exam.
CIPLE Test Results: Wait Time
A2 CIPLE exam results are typically available within two weeks and can be retrieved from the CAPLE website.
For a deeper dive into Portuguese residency and citizenship, refer to our comprehensive guide on the Portuguese Golden Visa.
Do children need to take the CIPLE Portuguese language test?
The Portuguese Nationality Law Regulation mandates that test-takers be at least of the age of compulsory schooling completion. However, if a minor hasn’t undergone the initial phase of basic Portuguese curriculum education, a declaration from a recognized Portuguese educational institution can verify their language proficiency. Essentially, if parents secure Portuguese citizenship via residency and their child is a minor enrolled in a Portuguese school, the child is exempt from the CIPLE exam.
What are the requirements for Golden Visa investors who do not live in Portugal?
While minor children are not compelled to take a language test or attend a Portuguese school, there’s a risk of citizenship denial due to a lack of ties to Portugal. It’s recommended that Golden Visa applicants incorporate their minor children in their application and have them attend Portuguese classes outside of Portugal. This demonstrates a connection to the country. Alternatively, after an investor gains Portuguese citizenship, they can seek citizenship for their children through family reunification.
What is the cut-off age for children to take a language test?
The criterion varies based on the path to citizenship. For instance, minors (up to 18 years) with Portuguese parents (by birth or naturalization) can directly apply for Portuguese citizenship without any language prerequisites. For such cases, the age cut-off stands at 18 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Take The Exam?
CAPLE organizes this exam. So, you can take the exam at any one of the CAPLE-certified testing centers in the world. You can find more info on their website.
What Is A2 Level in the Portuguese Language?
A2 level is the elementary level, according to CEFR (The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) standards. A2 level Portuguese skills correspond to a basic understanding of the language. Keep in mind that children under the age of ten, or those with special needs, may take an adapted version of the exam.
When Can I Take The Test?
You can take the exam at any point. So, it is possible to take the test while awaiting eligibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency.
What Happens If I Don’t Pass The Exam?
You only receive a temporary residence permit if you don’t pass the exam. However, you can try again and again until you pass it. In the meantime, you will be allowed to live in the country using your temporary residence permit.
How Long Is The Test?
The CIPLE exam lasts for two hours.
Do I Have to Take The Exam?
You need to take the Portuguese language test if you want to apply for citizenship or permanent residency in Portugal.
Do I Need to Take The Language Test To Get The Portugal Golden Visa?
No, the Portuguese language test for citizenship (CIPLE) is not required for Portugal Golden Visa holders. You only need it to get permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.
What Does The Test Evaluate?
The Portuguese language test evaluates your basic knowledge of the Portuguese language. It is sufficient if you obtain a basic understanding of the language.
Does The Portuguese Golden Visa Cover The Language Test?
No, the Portugal Golden Visa is a residency by investment program. It does not cover the language test.
Should I Take The Exam to Be a Portuguese Citizen?
Yes. You must receive a degree of minimum A2 from the test to obtain citizenship in Portugal.
Do Citizens from The United Kingdom Have to Take The Test?
The relationship between the UK and the European Union is currently a bit unclear due to Brexit. In the past, UK citizens required no visa to live in Portugal, as the UK was part of the EU. After Brexit, however, this will change. In case of a UK citizen wanting to become a permanent resident or a citizen of Portugal after Brexit, he or she will be most likely required to take this test.