Do my children need to take English classes to apply for Canadian citizenship?

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There are different rules for minors (those under the age of 18), and adults (everyone aged 18 and older) for applying for Canadian citizenship. The rules in this article apply to permanent residents. They also apply to those who have one or both parents that are Canadian citizens, or are about to become a citizen at the same time as the child.

How to know if your child needs to take English classes for citizenship

A child is a minor if they are under the age of 18 at the time the citizenship application is made.

Minors DO NOT have to prove their ability to speak English or French. Minors are allowed to apply for citizenship without having taken English classes.

For more information, see the following link from the Government of Canada:

Minors applying for citizenship

Adults (age 18 and older) are required to prove that they have a certain level of English or French knowledge when they apply for Canadian citizenship. Specifically, the Government of Canada requires all applicants to have a Canadian Language Benchmark of 4 or higher in their Listening and Speaking skills.

  • Adults that have graduated from an English-or-French high school, university, or college in Canada DO NOT need to take more English classes or tests to prove their language ability. They can provide a transcript from the high school, college, or university, which must show that the courses were taught in English.

Adults who have not completed high school or university in Canada can show that they possess Canadian Language Benchmarks in English by ONE of the following:

  • Completing your studies in a LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program, like the ones offered at CIES (LINC, LINC Home Study, LINC Blended). You MUST write tests in both Listening and Speaking that show you have a CLB of 4 or higher. Placement tests (taken at ILVARC (Immigrant Services Calgary)) can NOT be used to apply for citizenship.
  • Taking and passing the CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Exam)
  • Taking and passing IELTS (International English Language Testing System General Training)

For more information, see the following links from the Government of Canada:

What documents can I use to prove that I meet the citizenship language requirement?

What third-party language tests will you accept as proof I have adequate knowledge of English or French when I apply for citizenship?

Can the government-funded language program I took be used as proof that I meet the citizenship language requirement?

I graduated from an English-language high school/college/university. What can I use to show that I can communicate in one of the official languages when I apply for citizenship?

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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