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Portuguese Citizenship / Nationality - Everything you need to know

Portuguese Citizenship / Nationality language test

Are you looking to obtain the Portuguese nationality? If so, there's some requirements you must fulfil, but an important one is to be able to prove that you can speak, understand and read Portuguese at a certain level. This is where the "Portuguese Citizenship Test" comes into play. In this article we will explain everything you need to know about this test, the format, how difficult it is, how to prepare and where to take it.

Who has to take the Portuguese citizenship language test?

Anyone wanting to get the Portuguese nationality must take the test, but there are some exceptions. You also can get the Portuguese nationality:

  • through marriage to a Portuguese citizen
  • through naturalization

You can take the Portuguese citizenship test at anytime you like, but you need to be residing in Portugal for at least 5 years in order to obtain the Portuguese citizenship.

Explaining the CIPLE, the Portuguese Language Test for Citizenship

The CIPLE (in Portuguese: Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira) corresponds to level A2 of the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The description for this reference level presents the social domains of communication, the communication situations, the types of written and oral texts, the communication strategies, the speech acts, the themes, the specific and general notions that are expected to be necessary the use of language in the communicative activities described below.

What will be tested and which are the components of the CIPLE test?

CIPLE testifies to a basic general ability to interact in a limited number of predictable everyday communication situations. It is also expected that in the professional and study areas, CIPLE users will be able to interact in communication situations that require a very limited use of Portuguese, which is no different from a general use of the language.

For you to be able pass the Portuguese Citizenship Test, you need to demonstrate your knowledge in several aspects and components of the Portuguese Language.

The Portuguese Test for Citizenship (CIPLE) has three components. We’ll show below what you can expect in each one.

Reading Comprehension and Written Production and Interaction

Part I:

Reading of notices posted in public places and of short texts.

Multiple choice items, matching, true / false are used.

Part II:

Production of a small message / postcard to a friend.

Production of a letter.

Duration: 1h15m

Score: This component has a percentage of 45% of the total.

Oral Comprehension

Listening to texts, informal registration, typical of communication situations in the public, professional or educational domains.

Multiple choice, matching, true / false items are used.

Length: 30 m

Score: This component has a percentage of 30% of the total.

Oral Production and Interaction

This component is carried out, whenever possible, with two candidates at the same time.

Part I:

Interaction between the examiner and candidates on personal identification.

Part II:

Simulation of communication situations in the public or personal domain.

Part III:

Interaction between the examiner and the candidates on a topic related to current events.

Duration: 10-15m with each pair of candidates.

Score: This component has a percentage of 25% of the total.

How is the test graded?

You need to score at least 55% to pass the test. The test classifications are as follows:

The Sufficient classification is assigned to candidates who obtain between 55% and 69%.

The classification of Good is attributed to candidates who obtain between 70% and 84%.

The classification of Very Good is attributed to candidates who obtain between 85% and 100%.

What about children or young people, can the also take the citizenship test?

Of course, they can! This exam has a school version for young people aged between 12 and 15 years. In this version, the exam tasks are adapted to the age of the candidates.
When does this test takes place?

This exam takes place in the international seasons of May, July and November and also in the national seasons indicated with the name CIPLE-P (CIPLE-Portugal).

Where to take the test?

The test can be done in one of the several official CAPLE centers in the world. You can check their locations following this link: CAPLE - certified language testing centers
How much does the test cost?

At the time of writing this article, the exam cost is 72€, which payment has to be made at least 24h before the test.