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French immigration language testing systems compared

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Millions of aspirants apply for French visas every year for study, work, and migration. The applicants must prove their proficiency in the French language by taking one of several tests. Here is a look at the most important and popular of these tests.

French immigration language testing

DILF

The Diplôme initial de langue française (initial diploma of the French language) checks for the most fundamental level of proficiency. This is categorized as A1.1 in the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages. DILF is appropriate for beginner learners of French. It assesses the communicative and linguistic skills of first-time learners. DILF is usually offered to new immigrants in France. It is not very common in other countries. The DILF is predominantly taken by migrants who may not be fully proficient in their native tongue. Migrants in France regularly support their families back home with remittances sent via the Ria Money Transfer App and similar channels. Language proficiency is an important prerequisite for gainful employment as an ex-pat in France. DILF is based on the knowledge, expertise, interpersonal skills, and learning skills that are part of communicating on a linguistic, sociolinguistic, and pragmatic level. DILF evaluates 4 language skills: oral comprehension, oral to written conversion, oral production, and written production. DILF costs EUR 70 (about INR 6,300). The test is considered a stepping stone on the way to DELF and DALF.

DELF/DALF

DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) are the only French as a foreign language diplomas issued by the French Ministry of Education. These diplomas constitute recognition of school, university, and/or professional backgrounds in the French language. DELF and DALF are required to study, work, and immigrate to French-speaking countries like Canada and France. These tests are valid for life and are recognized worldwide. The tests are taken under examination conditions. Candidates must find a local center to take one. Exams can be taken as 1 level per session or multiple levels during the same session. Results are given online after 4-6 weeks. The different levels are:

  1. Basic-Level User: DELF A1: FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française) class level A1.2, A1.3, and A2.1, Cost: EUR 99 (roughly INR 9,000), DELF A2: FIAF class level A2.2, A2.3, A2.4 and B1.1, Cost: EUR 107 (INR 10,000)
  2. Independent User: DELF B1: FIAF class level B1.2, B1.3, B1.4, and B2.1, Cost: EUR 82 (INR 7,400), DELF B2: FIAF class level B2.2, B2.3, B2.4, and B2.5, Cost: EUR 140 (INR 12,000)
  3. Expert User: DALF C1: FIAF class level C1.1, C1.2, and C1.3, Cost: EUR 181 (INR 16,500), DALF C2: FIAF class level C1.4, C1.5, and C1.6, Cost: EUR 181 (INR 16,500)

TEF

Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) is an international benchmark test that measures French knowledge and skills. The French Ministry recognizes TEF for the Interior. It is important for anyone applying for naturalization as a French citizen. Results are valid for 2 years. The tests are based on a 7-level scale, from level 0 (most basic skills) to level 6 (proficient). Results are given in 4-6 weeks. TEF evaluates 4 language skills. Each module is priced separately as follows:

  • Oral comprehension test EUR 62 (INR 5,700)
  • Written comprehension test EUR 55 (INR 5,000)
  • Oral expression test EUR 77 (INR 7,000)
  • Written expression test EUR 90 (INR 8,200)

TCF

Test de Connaissance du français (TCF) is generally used for gaining admission to French universities. TCF can also be used as a professional language certification and for immigration purposes. It is administered by the Center international d’études pédagogiques (International Educational Studies) of the French Ministry of Education. The exam includes listening, reading, and grammar sections. There are also optional oral and writing components. There are 2 variants of TCF depending on what the certificate would be used for. TCF DAP is for admission into French Universities. TCF is for French nationality applications. TCF for DAP lasts a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes. Results are given in 4-6 weeks. The certificate is valid for 2 years.

The cost of the tests depends on the chosen combination. Candidates sitting for the optional speaking and writing exams pay EUR 80 (INR 7,300) for each exam. Both exams together cost EUR 160 (INR 14,500). For compulsory exams and one optional exam, the cost is EUR 170 (INR 15,400). For compulsory exams and both optional exams, the cost is EUR 250 (INR 22,700).

About the author:

Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.

Onglobetrotter
the authorOnglobetrotter
Passionate zombie scholar. Reader. Web evangelist. Coffee ninja. Internet enthusiast. Writer. Spent 2001-2008 testing the market for crayon art in Orlando, FL. Won several awards for promoting dust in the financial sector. Spent college summers licensing clip-on ties in Ocean City, NJ. Had moderate success deploying human hair in Deltona, FL. Spent several months building g.i. joes in West Palm Beach, FL. Crossed the country promoting cellos in Atlantic City, NJ.