If you fulfill the correct requirements in order to obtain Portuguese nationality, you will need to take the Portuguese language test. The language test for citizenship is known as CIPLE (Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira).
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Portuguese citizenship language test, including what to expect, how difficult it is, and where to take it.
What is the CIPLE Portugal citizenship language test?
The CIPLE Portuguese proficiency test is a mandatory Portuguese language exam for those who want to become Portuguese citizens. It is one of the Portuguese citizenship requirements. The simple A2 test ensures that those who obtain citizenship in the country have a basic understanding of Portuguese. Even if you are not seeking citizenship, it is a great way to test your knowledge if you are planning on relocating to Portugal or a Portuguese-speaking country.
Who has to take the Portuguese citizenship language test?
According to the Portuguese legislation in force, anyone who is eligible for Portuguese nationality must take the CIPLE exam, with a few exceptions.
Some people become eligible for citizenship through marriage to a Portuguese national, some through naturalization, and others through the residency-by-investment program (ARI – Autorização de Residência para Atividade de Investimento), commonly known as the Portugal Golden Visa.
Applicants do not have to take a language test in order to obtain a residency permit, although they must complete the test in order to gain citizenship and a Portuguese passport. The test can be adapted for those under the age of ten and those with learning difficulties.
Portuguese Citizenship Language Test Requirements
CIPLE exam structure
The A2 CIPLE Portuguese language test is two hours long and is composed of three parts:
30 percent: Candidates are required to demonstrate an ability to understand simple, short sentences and basic everyday conversation.
40 percent: In the reading test, candidates are expected to understand simple written texts, usually in the form of informal dialogue, informative texts, news, or short stories, and answer questions relating to these texts to demonstrate comprehension. In the written exam, candidates are expected to compose a short text using everyday phrases and expressions of frequent use. This is usually a short text about yourself or about other people and what you feel and think.
25 percent: A 10-15 minute oral expression exam is usually done with two candidates at once. The oral expression test requires candidates to use simple everyday phrases with basic structures, and also interact on topics and images.
Required documents for the CIPLE exam
You must take a passport, ID card, or residence permit to the exam.
How much does the CIPLE exam cost?
The CIPLE exam costs €72, which can be paid via MULTIBANCO (only within Portugal), or via bank transfer, and must be completed at least 24 hours before the exam.
Preparing for the Portuguese citizenship language test
How to familiarise yourself with the exam
Although the language test for Portuguese nationality is relatively simple, it is a sensible idea to prepare for the test to build confidence and familiarize yourself with the format in order to ensure that you pass the exam.
One of the most useful resources for learning Portuguese is the Instituto Camões, which promotes the learning of the Portuguese language internationally. Its website has a variety of useful online resources and runs a number of courses in universities and other learning centers all over the world.
Where to take the CIPLE exam
The CIPLE exam is officiated by the CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira) and can be taken in a number of different CAPLE-certified language testing centers all over the world. In international test centers, the A2 CIPLE exam dates are in November, July, and May, with more dates available (CIPLE-P) within Portuguese test centers in October, September, June, and March.
How is the CIPLE test graded?
Candidates will pass the exam if they obtain a mark of 55 percent or higher.
After the Portuguese citizenship language test
How long do you have to wait for your CIPLE exam results?
You usually have to wait about two weeks to receive A2 CIPLE exam results, which can be accessed through the CAPLE website.
The Portugal golden visa language test is just one aspect of the citizenship application process. Find out more about residency and citizenship solutions in Portugal in our ultimate guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa, where you can learn how to get a temporary residence permit and, ultimately, become a permanent resident and apply for citizenship.
Requirements for children
Do children need to take the CIPLE Portuguese language test?
The Regulation of the Portuguese Nationality Law states that candidates for the Portuguese language test cannot be younger than the legal age required for completing compulsory schooling on the date of the test.
If a child has not completed the first cycle of basic education in an educational establishment with the Portuguese curriculum, sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language can be proven by having a declaration issued by an education or teaching establishment of Portuguese.
Put simply, when the parents obtain Portuguese citizenship by residency, they can ask for citizenship for their child, provided their child is a minor and is attending a school in Portugal – they will not need to complete the CIPLE language exam.
What is the cut-off age for children to take a language test?
The requirement will depend on the citizenship route. For example, minors (up to 18 years of age) that have Portuguese parents (even if through naturalization) will simply need to apply for citizenship, and no knowledge of the Portuguese language is required. For this specific situation, the cut-off age is 18 years old.
What are the requirements for Golden Visa investors who do not live in Portugal?
Minor children are not required to take a language exam or attend a Portuguese school. However, there is a risk of them being denied citizenship due to a lack of connection to Portugal. We advise Golden Visa applicants to include minor children in the Golden Visa application of the parents and that the children should take Portuguese classes outside Portugal to demonstrate a connection to the country.
It is also a possibility that the investor can simply apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, and once they have become a Portuguese citizen (after five years and meeting all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law), they can then ask for citizenship on behalf of their children through family reunification.
We advise potential Golden Visa applicants to include minor children in the Golden Visa application, and that minor children attend Portuguese classes outside the country to demonstrate their connection to Portugal and avoid the risk of denial of the citizenship request.
Why choose Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa?
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To see the full list of reasons why to work with Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa, you can find out more here: Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your Golden Visa Portugal Application?
Why apply for a Portugual Golden Visa?
Those applying for the Portugal Golden Visa can make an investment, which can start the investor on a pathway to permanent residency in Portugal and Portuguese citizenship. Qualifying investments start from €250,000 and can be made through a number of different options, such as real estate, business investment, and more. Under the temporary residence permit, there’s a requirement to spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year, then two weeks for every two-year period after that.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Portuguese Citizenship Language Test
What is meant by “basic Portuguese”?
The CIPLE test for citizenship is to test that applicants have a level of “basic” Portuguese, which is to say that they understand and are able to use simple everyday phrases, as well as give simple explanations of themselves and others. The A2 grade is part of the Council of Europe language framework and is the second most basic knowledge level of language proficiency.
Do I have to take a language test to get Portuguese citizenship?
A basic A2 CIPLE language test is required to become a Portuguese national in most cases, although there are some exceptions in which Portuguese proficiency can be proved via other methods.
Who has to take the Portuguese language test?
Apart from specific circumstances, everyone must take a CIPLE test in order to get Portuguese citizenship.
Do children have to take a Portuguese language test?
Under-18s do not necessarily have to take the A2 language test. If they attend a Portuguese school, a declaration of proficiency can be provided instead. For Golden Visa applicants, minors also are not required to take the Portuguese language test. However, we advise Golden Visa applicants to include minor children in the Golden Visa application of the parents and that the children should take Portuguese classes outside Portugal to demonstrate a connection to Portugal.
Is the Portuguese language test difficult?
The A2 CIPLE language test for Portuguese proficiency is not particularly difficult and can be passed relatively easily with some prior preparation. It is designed to test candidates’ ability to use and comprehend everyday Portuguese expressions. It is best to do some Portuguese citizenship test practice beforehand to ensure that you are confident when you sit the exam. As with learning any foreign language, practice is key. We recommend doing a Portuguese language test online to prepare.
Find out more about residency and citizenship solutions in Portugal in our ultimate guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa.
Do I have to take a language test to get Portuguese citizenship?
Yes, apart from specific circumstances, everyone must take a Portuguese language proficiency test in order to get Portuguese citizenship.
Is the Portuguese citizenship language test difficult?
The language test to become a Portuguese national is relatively easy. It tests applicants’ ability to use and understand everyday language and expressions, such as talking about yourself and basic phrases you might use on a daily basis.
You can find a Portuguese A2 test example online so that you know what to expect.
How long is the Portuguese citizenship language test?
The Portuguese language test is two hours long.
When do I take the Portuguese citizenship language test?
You must be a resident in Portugal for at least five years in order to obtain citizenship, you can take the Portuguese citizenship language test at any point during this period.
What is A2 level Portuguese?
According to CEFR standards (The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), A2 Portuguese is the elementary level. For A2 level Portuguese, skills will correspond to a basic understanding of the language.
How much Portuguese do you need to know for citizenship?
For the CIPLE test for citizenship, you will need to show that you have a basic knowledge of the language, corresponding to A2 level.