What does “adequate knowledge” of English or French mean when applying for citizenship?
The Citizenship Act requires that new citizens have “an adequate knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada,” which are English and French.
We define “adequate knowledge” as having the equivalent of Level 4 for speaking and listening in English or French using the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC). This level means you can, in English or French:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics;
- understand simple instructions, questions and directions;
- use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses; and
- show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.
Please use this option only if:
- the normal processing time for your application has passed and
- you cannot verify the status of your application using the online application status tool or
- you wish to report important changes about your application, such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions, changes in address, changes in job status or
- you need urgent processing or
- you would like to make a refugee claim
In Canada: You can use this case specific enquiry form.
Outside Canada: You can use the case-specific enquiry form for the visa office where you sent your application.
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