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Guide to the TEF Canada/TCF Canada Examinations

If you are a French-speaking or bilingual skilled worker planning to work in Canada through the Francophone Mobility Program, you will need to take an approved French Language Proficiency Test: test d’evaluation de français le Canada (TEF Canada) or test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada) to assess your knowledge in French Language.  Results of either the TEF Canada or the TCF Canada will be honoured by IRCC.

There are three main differences between TEF Canada and TCF Canada which include: the format of the tests, the time limit, and the number of questions.

TEF Language Test

Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) is an international benchmark test that measures your level of knowledge and skills in French.  Different types of TEF exam and its purpose are written below.

If you're a Francophone, you need to take TEF Canada for your language ability.

  • TEF Études - Studying in France
  • TEF Naturalisation - Obtaining French nationality
  • TEF Carte de résident - Obtaining a French resident card
  • TEF Canada - Emigrating to Canada and obtaining Canadian citizenship
  • TEF Québec – TEFAQ - Emigrating to Quebec

TEF Canada

For immigration and citizenship application procedures, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognizes TEF Canada as a proof of the applicants’ linguistic knowledge of French.

TEF Canada Test Format

For Canadian immigration application:

  • Oral Comprehension: 40 min – 60 questions
  • Written Comprehension: 60 min – 50 questions
  • Oral Expression: 15 min – 2 topics to cover
  • Written Expression: 60 min – 2 topics to cover

For Canadian citizenship application:

  • Oral Comprehension: 40 min – 60 questions
  • Oral Expression: 15 min – 2 topics to cover


For the Oral and Written Comprehension tests, as well as Lexicon and Structure: Each correct answer is given a point and giving a wrong answer does not take a point away.  The total of correct answers does not constitute the final score. This total is converted into a calibrated score which takes into account the differences in difficulty of the questions making up the test.  

Two examiners will assess the Oral and Written expression tests using a standardized assessment grid.

The TEF Canada tests are evaluated on a scale with 7 levels, from level 0 (most basic competencies) to level 6 (complete fluency).  This scale relates to the 6 levels (A1 to C2) of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and to the 12 levels of the Canadian Language Benchmarks.

TEF Canada Scores and Canadian Language Benchmarks

In the case that you weren’t able to meet the minimum requirements, don't worry!  You can take the test multiple times to improve your scores. There is a 30-day waiting period between two successive exams.

How do I register?

TEF Canada is held year-round in various testing centres.  The test taker must be at least 16 years of age.  For registration, you will need a photocopy of your valid ID (passport, driver's license, etc.) and a recent photograph with your signature.  Registration deadlines are at least a week before the date of the test, it’s important to register early so there is enough time for paperwork to be processed.  Please note that registration fees vary from one centre to another.

You may contact your centre here: for more details on session dates, prices or for any questions about the organization of sessions near you.

If you cannot find any authorized centres offering the TEF Canada examination in your country, you may contact the following address:


Results will be sent to the testing centre within 15 business days from the date of receipt of the session materials and will be mailed to each candidate within 4 to 6 weeks.  Please note that you will only receive a single copy of your result, therefore, you are advised to keep a certified copy. Your certificate is valid for two years.

TCF Language Test

You should take TCF if you wish to assess your skills in French for personal academic or professional reasons.  As of 2018, TCF Canada is the second French language test approved and recognized by IRCC. If you are a Francophone, you need to take TCF Canada.

TCF Canada

“TCF Canada”, is a French language proficiency test that meets the standards of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). TCF Canada results are accepted for the purposes of economic immigration or for obtaining Canadian citizenship.

The exam evaluates general French language proficiency.  It is consists of four mandatory parts: Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Speaking and Writing.

TCF Canada Test Format

  • Listening Comprehension: 39 multiple choice questions
  • Reading Comprehension: 39 multiple choice questions with only one correct answer possible;
  • Speaking: 3 speaking tasks, organized according to a progressively increasing level of difficulty;
  • Writing: 3 writing tasks, also with a progressively increasing level of difficulty.

The levels correspond to the benchmarks specified by the European Framework for Language Learning, Teaching and Evaluation as well as the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB).


TCF Canada scores are ranked on 6 levels, ranging from A1 to C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.  You can score 699 total possible points for the reading and listening section while the writing and speaking section has 20 total possible points. Much like the TEF Canada, they also have to be converted according to CLB. Here is a guide:

TCF Scores and Canadian Language Benchmarks

The TCF Canada can be taken many a times, within a gap of 30 days between the two examination sessions.

How do I register?

TCF Canada sessions are held throughout the year.  You can check the approved centres below here: to register.  Like TEF Canada, the test taker must be at least 16 years of age.


The results are sent to the test centre within 15 days (excluding weekends and public holidays) of the test papers being received by the CIEP.  Candidates must collect their certificate directly from the centre at which they took the examinations.  Your certificate is valid for two years.

Last Updated: November 13, 2020