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Passing the Portuguese Test for Citizenship

Becoming a Portuguese citizen is a goal that many people dream of achieving. And while it’s certainly not an impossible reach, there are a few challenges you’ll need to overcome when applying for Portuguese citizenship.

One of those challenges is the Portugal citizenship language test. While the test is not remarkably difficult, you will want to prepare and study a bit to pass.

We want to share some advice with you on how you can successfully pass this test and get well on your way to becoming a citizen of sunny Portugal.

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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What is the Portugal citizenship language test?

The Portugal citizenship language test is a requirement for anyone applying for the citizenship and its purpose is to evaluate your proficiency in Portuguese.

Applicants will be asked to demonstrate their ability to understand, speak, read, and write in Portuguese at an A2 level.

A certified Portuguese language test instructor conducts the test, and you must pass to move forward with the citizenship application process.

Typically, the Portugal language test takes around two hours to complete, and the test results are returned to you in around two weeks. It has a cost of €72, which you can pay via MULTIBANCO (only in Portugal) or bank transfer. 

You can take the test in a number of CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira) certified language centers all over the world. You can find the list here.

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What is the A2 language level?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an internationally recognized system that rates an individual’s proficiency in a given language from A1 to C2.

A2 is considered a “basic” level of proficiency, meaning that an individual at this level can perform simple, everyday tasks in the language. This would include introducing oneself, asking and answering simple questions, and understanding basic phrases and expressions.

CEFR language system

What to expect – areas covered in the Portuguese language test

Four areas are covered on the language test:

  • Grammar – verb tenses, noun genders, and article usage.
  • Vocabulary – Portuguese words and phrases
  • Reading comprehension – capacity to understand an excerpt of text
  • Oral expression – ability to verbally communicate in Portuguese

The best way to prepare for the language test

The best way to prepare for the Portuguese citizenship language test is to study! Make sure you brush up on your grammar and vocabulary through exercises. Reading in Portuguese would help greatly with the reading comprehension part. For the oral expression, try actively speaking in Portuguese, especially with someone who’s fluent.

Several resources are available to help you study for the test, including books, online courses and websites like Instituto Camões. In addition to studying, it’s also a good idea to practice taking unofficial Portugal language tests. This will help you get familiar with the format of the test and the types of questions that will be asked.

What is the passing score for the language test?

The passing score for the test is 55%. Oral comprehension is 30%, reading and writing is 40% and oral expression 30%. 

If you don’t pass the citizenship language test, don’t worry! You can take the test again. Make sure you study hard and give yourself enough time to prepare before taking it a second time. And in the meantime, you can legally live in Portugal with your temporary residence permit until you pass. 

A2 CIPLE language test

What kinds of documents are needed for the test?

You’ll need to bring a few documents to take the Portuguese citizenship language test. These include your passport, ID and residence permit.

Does everyone need to take the Portugal language test? Are there exceptions?

Everyone above 18 must prove their language proficiency before being granted Portuguese citizenship, meaning that mostly everyone will need to take the test. However, there are some exceptions, including:

  • Being married to a Portuguese citizen
  • Being from a Portuguese-speaking country
  • Having a certificate proving a higher level of Portuguese than A2 (B1, B2, C1, or C2)
  • Being seriously ill or disabled 

Is a language test required for the Portugal golden visa?

No, there is no language test requirement for the Portugal Golden Visa program. While there are other requirements for being granted the a Golden Visa, a language test is not one of them.

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12 Responses

    1. Hi!
      No. Only certificates from Portuguese schools allow you to not take the Portuguese test for citizenship.

  1. I have heard conflicting information about the exact requirements for Portuguese citizenship, specifically regarding proficiency of the Portuguese language. Your site references CIPLE test requirement exceptions for people greater than 60 years and for persons having completed classes beyond A2. Can you provide a link to a Portuguese government website or regulations that reference these exceptions?

  2. My husband and I have been married for 6 years and we live outside of Portugal. Would he need to pass a language proficiency test? Thank you.

    1. Hi Isabel! In order for him to get citizenship, yes, he still needs to pass the language proficiency test.

  3. I have heard from different sources that even if you are married to a Portuguese citizen, you still must pass the A2 CIPLE exam for citizenship. Can you please confirm?

  4. Hi, my family and I have been living in Portugal for over 7 years. Do we need to take the Ciple language test if we are applying for citizenship through naturalisation?
    Thank you

  5. Hi,
    I will be 71 years young this year and my wife will be 69.
    We are UK passport holders but have been residents in Portugal for over 7 years now and would like to apply for citizenship.
    Can you please confirm that because of our age we will not have to take the CEFR – A2 and where and how do we start the application process?
    All help greatly appreciated

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