Canada IELTS Requirements - Updated - - Canada Immigration Newsletter
Canada IELTS Requirements

Canada IELTS Requirements – Updated

Updated Canada IELTS Requirements. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and some Provincial Nominee Programs to prove language skills by taking a language test approved by IRCC in either English or French. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is one of the English language tests approved by IRCC, hence some call it Canada IELTS Requirements.

International students often ask if there are ways to immigrate to Canada to study without IELTS (International English Language Testing System). While this may seem like looking for “a way around the system”, it is a perfectly legitimate question with some surprising plausible answers. There is no immigration requirement that you must sit and write an English language test in order to apply for a study permit under the general study permit application programs. See International students can study in Canada without IELTS.

To prove language proficiency, each applicant must take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, a Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) exam, Test d’Evaluation Français (TEF) exam, or Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.


See also ★ How to immigrate to study in Canada without IELTS

Results from one of these exams help IRCC Visa Officers determine whether the applicant has sufficient English or French language proficiency to properly integrate into Canadian society and the Canadian workforce. 

IELTS has over 1400 test centres worldwide. To enroll for an IELTS examination, you will need to register with your local IELTS test centre to find out the dates when you will be able to take your test and what the cost will be. Download and complete the application form and send it the local IELTS centre along with your photos, a copy of your identification and your payment.

NOTE: IELTS procedures and test centres have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. See More IELTS and CELPIP test dates and venues opening.


Where you can take an IELTS

As of June 15, 2020 IELTS is open for testing in 72 countries.

Tests are available in leading source countries of immigrants to Canada, such as:

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam

IELTS is available in many more countries including in Canada.

International students, temporary foreign workers, and other temporary residents and visitors currently in Canada can now book their IELTS in provinces across the country including Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.


Before you enroll for IELTS, you should get tested to find out your current language skills. Visit a language assessment centre in your city and tell them you’re interested in taking language classes. As a courtesy you can also start with the free online IELTS practice tests. You can also do a self-assessment test to find out your current language level before doing a formal language test.

IELTS also has free preparation materials for IELTS test takers. Make sure you’re fully prepared for your IELTS test by practicing your reading, writing, speaking and listening with IELTS free practice materials. Practice on the go with IELTS free apps filled with free resources right at your fingertips. Download IELTS free app to get a comprehensive IELTS preparation experience. Learn more about each section of the test and practise your skills. Also, get IELTS test tips and improve your grammar and vocabulary skills so that you can be ready to succeed on test day! Download on the App Store OR Download on Google Play.

Sign up with IELTS to get regular updates on the IELTS preparation resources. Get access to free preparation material and information on how to join IELTS free webinars with IELTS experts to help you learn the skills you need for test day. Sign up now

About the IELTS

The IELTS consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The whole test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes and can be completed in one day. The speaking component can also be taken up to seven days before or after the other three components (at the discretion of the test centre).



The listening component lasts for 30 minutes and consists of four audio clips that you must listen to and answer questions about.

  • Conversation: Two speakers
  • Monologue
  • Conversation: Four speakers
  • Lecture

You can read the questions and familiarize yourself with the question types before you listen to the recordings. Listen carefully, as the recordings are played only once.


The reading component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of three passages you will read and answer questions about. The texts are typically taken from books, newspapers, magazines, and journals. You will be asked to:

  • Identify attitudes and perceptions
  • Find detailed information
  • Complete a diagram


The Writing component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of two tasks. Be sure to read the question carefully before composing your text.You will need to:


  • Write a descriptive report of a table or diagram (150 words)
  • Write an essay in response to a statement (250 words).


The Speaking component lasts for 10–15 minutes. It is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and the examiner. It consists of:

  • Introduction and interview
  • Individual talk
  • Discussion topics

Try to speak fluently, using appropriate grammar, and demonstrate a range of vocabulary. Always try to support your opinions and answer the questions with more than “yes”€™ or “€˜no”€™.


You will be given a score for each component (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) on a Band Scale from 1–9. In order to be awarded the maximum 16 points for English language ability under the Federal Skilled Worker eligibility assessment, you will need to score a 7.5 or higher in the listening component and a 6.5 or higher in the other three components.

  • Band 1: Non user
  • Band 2:€“ Intermittent user
  • Band 3:€“ Extremely limited user
  • Band 4:€“ Limited user
  • Band 5:€“ Modest user
  • Band 6:€“ Competent user
  • Band 7:€“ Good user
  • Band 8:€“ Very good user
  • Band 9:€“ Expert user

What Are the Express Entry Points for Languages?

1) First Official Language Express Entry Points

Test scoreWith spouseSingle
CLB 4 (L4.5, R3.5, W4, S4) or 5 (R4, 5 in all others)66
CLB 6 (5 in Reading, 5.5 in all others)89
CLB 7 (6 in all four abilities)1617
CLB 8 (7.5 in Listening, 6.5 in all others)2223
CLB 9 (8 in Listening, 7 in all others)2931
CLB ≥ 10 (L8.5, R8, W7.5, S7.5)3234

2)  Second Official Language Express Entry Points

Test scoreWith spouseSingle
CLB 5 or 611
CLB 7 or 833
CLB ≥ 966

3) Additional Combination Points for Strong French Language

Test scoreWith spouseSingle
CLB 7 in French and CLB 4 or less for English1515
CLB 7 in French and CLB 5 or higher for English3030

4) Language Requirements By Program

a) What Are The Language Requirements For The Federal Skilled Worker Program?

You must obtain a minimum level of CLB or NCLC 7 for your first official language in all four language areas. To receive points for your second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5 in all four language areas.

b) What Are The Language Requirements For The Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

You must obtain a minimum level of: 

  • CLB or NCLC 5 in speaking and listening abilities, and 
  • CLB or NCLC 4 in reading and writing abilities.

c) What Are The Language Requirements For The Canadian Experience Class? 


The skills you need for this program will depend on the job classification under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • NOC 0 or A: CLB / NCLC 7 +
  • NOC B: CLB / NCLC 5 and 6

d) What Are The Language Requirements For The Canadian Citizenship?

All applicants for Canadian citizenship aged 18-54 must submit proof that they have adequate knowledge of English or French. 

If you decide to submit a third-party language test, the results must be equal to CLB / NCLC level 4 or higher in speaking and listening abilities. 

The federal authorities also accept expired test results if they were done for immigration or citizenship purposes.

e) How do IELTS test results correspond to Canadian Benchmark Levels (CLBs)?

IELTS test results correspond to CLB scores as follows:

CLB Level 9 – IELTS Listening: 8.0 Reading: 7.0 Writing: 7.0 Speaking: 7.0

CLB Level 8 – IELTS Listening: 7.5 Reading: 6.5 Writing: 6.5 Speaking: 6.5

CLB Level 7 – IELTS Listening: 6.0 Reading: 6.0 Writing: 6.0 Speaking: 6.0

CLB Level 6 – IELTS Listening: 5.5 Reading: 5.0 Writing: 5.5 Speaking: 5.5

CLB Level 5 – IELTS Listening: 5.0 Reading: 4.0 Writing: 5.0 Speaking: 5.0

CLB Level 4 -IELTS Listening: 4.5 Reading: 3.5 Writing: 4.0 Speaking: 4.0

See also Language Training for Canada

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.