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CIPLE Exam Is Necessary to Get Permanent Residency in Portugal

If you wonder whether you need to take a language test to obtain residency in Portugal, the answer is, yes. To obtain Portuguese permanent residency or citizenship, you need to prove basic knowledge of the Portuguese language by taking the CIPLE exam.

What is the CIPLE exam exactly?

The CIPLE exam tests language proficiency in Portuguese at the basic A2 level and is mandatory for anyone applying for a Portuguese permanent residence permit or citizenship*. 

The CIPLE acronym stands for Certificado Inicial de Português Língua Estrangeira (Initial Certificate of Portuguese as a Foreign Language). 

* To learn more about acquiring permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship I recommend you to take a look at this article by Portugal Residency Advisors. (Portugal Residency Advisers is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized services to individuals, families and business seeking to relocate to Portugal.)

What does the A2 level mean? 

According to CEFR*, the A2 level implies language skills in your target language at an elementary level. Here’s an elaborate description of the A2-level provided by CEFR itself:

[The student] can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.  Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need. 

* CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and is an international standard for describing language proficiency, namely through a scale that goes from A1 and A2 (Basic level) to B1 and B2 (Intermediate level) to C1 and C2 (Advanced level). Click here to learn more about CEFR.

CIPLE exam structure and grading

The CIPLE exam is 2 hours long and divided into 3 components:

  • reading comprehension and writing production (1h15m, worth 45% of the total grade)
  • listening comprehension (30m, worth 30% of the total grade)
  • oral production (15m, worth 25% of the total grade)

Here’s what the final grading looks like:

  • Failed (0-54%)
  • Sufficient (55-69%)
  • Good (70-84%)
  • Very good (85-100%)

For more details, visit CIPLE’s webpage.

How to enroll for the CIPLE exam?

The CIPLE exam is administered by CAPLE* (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira) and several different CAPLE-certified centers around the world. 

For more information about CIPLE-exam dates and registration, visit CAPLE/CIPLE webpage.

*CAPLE is an autonomous unit of the School of Arts and  Humanities of the University of Lisbon (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa). CAPLE and its certified centers are the only recognized entities for certifying language proficiency in Portuguese.

How to prepare for CIPLE?

All-round Beginners A1 is a comprehensive online course and an excellent choice to get started. Throughout its 6 modules, you’ll immerse in several lexical topics and gain a solid foundation in Portuguese grammar and pronunciation. Learn more about All-round Beginners A1 here.

There are of course other competent resources out there. Here’s an article on learning resources (European standard specific) for you to explore: Learn Portuguese Online – Best Resources for Beginners and Beyond

Finally, make sure that you adopt sound learning strategies – you’d be surprised how much they can positively impact your language learning. Here’s your must-read: The Best Way to Learn Portuguese: Key Strategies to Become Fluent.

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Olá! This is Pedro and I'm the founder of Portuguesepedia, a platform created to support and accelerate your Portuguese learning journey. Até já, p

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