The Guide of Portuguese Test for Citizenship

The Guide of Portuguese Test for Citizenship

Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the most popular residence by investment schemes around the world. After 6 years of residence, Portuguese government allows Golden Visa holders to apply for naturalization. Residents may also choose to apply for permanent residency. In these processes, the applicants are required to pass a basic Portuguese test which evaluates the applicant’s proficiency. Except for the people who already past an eligible test and provided the required document to the authorities, everyone needs to pass this test regardless of their method of application.

According to the Foreigners’ Law introduced by Portugal’s border agency (SEF), every applicant must successfully pass the test that proves their knowledge of basic Portuguese. Otherwise, SEF can only provide the applicant with a temporary residence permit which allows the applicant to stay in the country until they meet the requirements of permanent residency or citizenship.

Qualification Terms of Portuguese Proficiency Test

Portuguese language test that is required from each applicant is defined through the limitations of CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. According to CEFR, the applicants must pass an A2 level proficiency level in the test. Also, not every institution is authorized to provide this test to the applicants. Only the following institutions are qualified:

  1. An accredited school in a Portuguese speaking country (including Portugal)
  2. An accredited centre which provides evaluation services for the knowledge of Portuguese as a foreign language
  3. IEFP (Portugal’s Institute for Employment and Professional Training)

Does Everyone Have to Take the Portuguese Language Test?

There are several instances where the applicants may be exempt from taking the Portuguese language test. In some other cases, the test might be adapted towards the needs of the applicants.

For instance, illiterate elderly people, seriously ill and handicapped people may be exempt from the writing part of the test. People with special needs or children under 10 years old may request alternative, adapted tests.

For applicants under the age of 18, there are several options that might be tried to be exempt from taking the Portuguese language test. As mentioned above, there are several institutions that are qualified to provide proficiency information for the authorities. If the applicant under 18 years old attends a school that can provide this kind of proficiency qualification document(s), the applicant may be exempt from taking the test. This document or documents must be written and must be included into the application. Also, a Portuguese speaking reference might work towards the same goal. If a witness writes a declaration to document the minor applicant’s Portuguese language proficiency – provided that the declaration is approved – the applicant does not have to take the Portuguese test.

How Hard is the Language Test Exactly?

Officially, the proficiency requirement of the test is classified as level A2. It means that the required level is basic knowledge of the language. However, elementary stage of a foreign language may be the hardest part to grasp when learning it.

There are many institutions worldwide that teaches Portuguese. There are also online and free courses available to everyone. These courses are mostly specifically designed for this kind of Portuguese language proficiency tests and they are highly helpful in the preparation stage for the test. Solving mock tests from different sources is also very handy and might be a quick remedy.

It is true that the Portuguese language proficiency test only asks for a basic knowledge of the language, however, underestimating the test would be a big mistake. It should be taken seriously. The application process for both the permanent residency and the naturalization is quite complicated and tiring. Therefore, getting stuck at this part of the process is highly undesirable. So, it is a good idea to prepare nicely for the test and pass it without building up stress for the overall period of application.

What are the Contents of the Test?

The Portuguese language proficiency test consists of two parts, namely: written and oral. Both of these tests are intended to prove basic knowledge of the language.

The contents of the written test are listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and written expression. These three components are done on computer like the popular language proficiency exams worldwide, and the written test has a time limit of 75 minutes.

The second part of the exam is the oral test. It involves an interview. The interview has a jury of two Portuguese language teachers. One of these teachers is the person who conducts the interview, and the other one is the evaluator. The oral exam part of the overall test takes a maximum duration of 15 minutes, and it is conducted in accordance with a script that has guidelines for the conversation which is the object of evaluation.


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