Portuguese Language Test for Citizenship: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction

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. Moreover, the test is quite simple. 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 are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship or for permanent residency in Portugal, you have to take the language test.

On the other hand, if you apply for a temporary residency or a Golden Visa in Portugal, you don’t need to take the language test.

Exemptions

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 via naturalization
  • If you are both older than 60 years and with a mental handicap or illiteracy
  • If you are seriously ill or handicapped
  • 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.

Necessary Documents

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, which can be accessed through the CAPLE website.

Reading & Writing

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.

Listening

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.

Speaking

The speaking section lasts around 10-15 minutes, making up 25% of the exam. Usually, there are two applicants at once in this section. Basically, they expect you to use simple daily phrases when you speak the language.

Grading System

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

Waiting Time for The Exam Results

Usually, applicants need to wait around two weeks to receive their CIPLE exam results. You can access the result on the site of CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira). This means the  “Centre for Evaluation of Portuguese as a Foreign Language”.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Portuguese Language Exam

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. By A2 level Portuguese, they mean that that they expect you to have a basic comprehension of Portuguese. 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 while you wait for being eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency.

What Happens If I Don’t Pass The Exam?

You only receive a temporary residence permit when you don’t pass the exam. However, you can try 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. So in case that a UK citizen would like to be a permanent resident or a citizen of Portugal after Brexit, they might be required to take this test.