Portuguese Language Test To Get Portuguese Citizenship

Updated: 24 August 2023

The Portuguese language test CIPLE (Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira) is an obligatory language test for obtaining Portuguese citizenship. The test is a relatively simple one because it requires you to qualify only as an A2 level. This means that the test evaluates whether you have a basic understanding of Portuguese or not.

What Is an A2 Level CIPLE Portuguese Language Test?

The CIPLE (Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira) Portuguese proficiency exam is a mandatory Portuguese language test for those who wish to become Portuguese citizens. Portugal wants to make sure new citizens know a bit of Portuguese.

Well, Portuguese language proficiency has three stages: A for beginner, B for intermediate, and C for advanced. Each stage has two levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. So, the government expects prospective citizens to qualify for Beginner Level 2 in terms of the Portuguese language

Who Is Required To Take the Exam

Individuals who want to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa, a temporary residence permit in Portugal do not need to take the test. However, those who are eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal must pass the exam. There are some cases where you can be exempt from taking the language test. You can find out about exemptions in the next section.

Who Is Exempt From the Exam

You will be exempt from the test if:

  • You are married to a Portuguese citizen, or
  • You are eligible for Portuguese citizenship through naturalization, or
  • You are from a Portuguese speaking country, or
  • You have a certificate stating that you have a higher level of Portuguese than A2 (B1, B2, C1 or C2), or
  • You are over 60 years old, have a mental handicap, or being illiterate, or
  • You are seriously ill or handicapped.

In addition to that, children aged under 10, and individuals who have learning difficulties or special needs may take an adapted version of the language test.

Required Documents

You must bring one of the following documents to the exam:

  •  Passport, or
  •  ID card, or
  •  Residence Permit. 

Where and When to Take the Test

The test is organized by CAPLE. You can take it in many places around the world. In most places outside Portugal, the test dates are in November, July, and May. Inside Portugal, there are additional dates.

How Much Will You Pay for the Test

The test costs €72, and you can pay the amount via MULTIBANCO or bank transfer. It is essential to pay it 24 hours before the exam at the latest. 

What Is Included in The Test

The test consists of three main parts, Reading & Writing, Listening, and Speaking. The duration of the exam is two hours. 

Reading & Writing (40%)

This part of the exam lasts 75 minutes and makes up 45% of the test. 
For the reading part, you will read a piece such as a piece of news, a simple dialogue, a short story, or a descriptive text. You will then answer questions related to these texts. 
For the writing part, you will write a short and simple text. You will use basic phrases to express your feelings or thoughts about yourself or others.

Listening (30-35%)

This part of the exam lasts 30 minutes and makes up 30% of the test. In this part, you will listen to a simple daily conversation and short sentences. Then you will answer a few questions about what you just heard.

Speaking (25-30%)

Speaking lasts between 10-15 minutes, and it makes up 25% of the test. Usually, this part of the exam is done with two applicants. You will use basic daily structures and phrases while speaking. 

What Is the Pass Grade of A2 CIPLE Language Test

When you get a mark of 55% or more, you will pass the exam. The details of the grading are as follows:

  • 0-54% : Fail
  • 55-69% : Sufficient
  • 70-84% : Good
  • 85-100% : Very good

Preparing for the Test

Even if the test is basic, it’s important to prepare. The Instituto Camões offers resources to help you learn and practice.

Age Limit for Children

The main age limit is 18 years. Children don’t always have to take the test. If they’re in school in Portugal, that might be enough. Also, if their parents become citizens, the kids can become citizens too without the test.

Frequently Asked Questions About A2 CIPLE Language Test

Do children have to take the Language Test?

Children aged under ten can take an adapted version of the test. Also, if children under 18 study at a Portuguese school, they can be exempt from the test if they take a declaration from the school, which states the child’s proficiency in Portuguese.

What if I couldn’t pass the test?

According to SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service), if you cannot pass the language test, you will receive only a temporary residence permit. However, in this way, applicants can stay in Portugal until they pass the exam. 

How difficult is the test?

The test is a relatively easy one. Because it only examines your ability to use daily phrases and basic sentences and your ability to understand them.

When should I take the test?

For citizenship, you must be a resident of Portugal for five years. In the meantime, you can take the test while you wait for the approval of citizenship. 

Where can I take the test?

The exam is organized by CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira), which is “Centre for Evaluation of Portuguese as a Foreign Language.” So, you can take the exam in any testing center in the world, which is CAPLE-certified. 

How can I learn the exam dates?

You can find the next exam date on the website of CAPLE.

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