French Cefr levels

Test your level in French

In this post, I will help you discover your French level. I will also explain different levels of French and respond to your common questions about Canadian immigration and permanent residency. 

Which French language test is required for Canadian immigration?

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, there are different programs such as express, family sponsorships, provincial nominees, etc. I would recommend the check the Canadian government website to learn about the different programs they offer.

Canada mainly accepts two big language test results as proof of your French ability:

  1. Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) 
  2. And Test de connaissance du français (TCF)

Both tests have 4 parts: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. You need to pass all four parts to succeed in the tests.

I prepare my students for all these skills in my one-on-one lessons. 

What level of French is needed for Canada Permanent Residency?

Each program has different minimum language requirements, however, most of them require an intermediate B1 or B2 level of French. I will explain these levels below.

IMPORTANT: you need to make sure your results are up to date. They need to be less than 2 years old when you apply.

How many levels are there for French?

There are 6 French levels determined by CEFR (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages): A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

CEFR French levels graphic 

These levels are accepted as the global standard for assessing a person’s language proficiency. 

Now, I will break down these levels and explain what you can do at each level of proficiency.

Let's start with the most basic level A1 which is the beginner discovery level. 

A1- Discovery 

At this level, you can:

  • Introduce yourself and others
  • Ask and answer basic questions such as where you live, what you do for a living, etc.
  • Interact in a simple way when people talk slowly

It usually takes 60 hours of study and practice to reach this level. 

I cover all the topics of A1 level in my beginner self-paced course. You can start your French journey and start speaking in only 6 weeks!

A2- Survival 

At this level, you can:

  • Communicate your immediate needs
  • Make simple sentences to describe your surroundings
  • Understand and use common terms and expressions while shopping, traveling, or working

It usually takes 180 hours of study to get to this level.

B1- Intermediate 

If you are planning to apply for Permanent residency in Canada, you usually need to get this level. 

At this level, you can:

  • Talk about your experiences, projects and events
  • Understand the main points of a speech
  • Write little texts on various topics

It usually takes 180 hours of study and practice to reach this level. 

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A guy studying

B2- Upper intermediate

At this level, you can: 

  • Understand the key points of a speech 
  • Converse with ease even though you make some little mistakes
  • Present your ideas clearly and write complex texts on various topics 

It usually takes 180 hours of study to reach this level. 

C1- Advanced 

At this level, you can:

  • Understand a wide range of conversations and texts by recognizing implicit meanings
  • Express yourself fluently without much searching for expressions
  • Produce clear, well-structured texts on complex subjects 

It usually takes 250-300 hours of study to reach this level. 

C2- Mastery

At this level, you can:

  • Understand with ease everything heard or read
  • Analyze and synthesize information from different sources
  • Express yourself spontaneously, fluently, and precisely

The study hours are variable to reach this level. 

About me

Umut Incesu
My name is Umut and I have been teaching French to adults for more than 5 years in Toronto. I love reading, learning new languages and travelling!
I've helped hundreds of students to learn French effectively and managed to bring many students from entry-level to advanced fluency with my online courses.

Let's start your French journey!  Start your lessons now.

Umut Incesu, PhD

Tumu Learning


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