The Top Nine Things Asked About IELTS and Canadian Immigration

14 Oct 2016
The Top Nine Things Asked About IELTS and Canadian Immigration

FAQHave you noticed that the words IELTS and immigration often appear in the same sentence? Do these sentences have question marks at the end of them? If this is true for you, then following F.A.Q. responses might help!

Q1. I have taken the IELTS Academic test. Can I use that to immigrate to Canada?

As clearly stated on the IRCC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website, when a language score is required for immigration purposes, you must provide a general test score.
Girl in Hat Immigrating to Canada

Q2. I heard that the IELTS in other countries is easier. They also ask different questions. Can I use the IELTS from a different country for my Canadian immigration application?

Find the conversion tool at

IELTS is a standardized test. It’s exactly the same in all countries. So, taking it in one country is no different than taking it in another. For this same reason, you can use IELTS results from any test center worldwide for your IRCC application.

Q3. CLB and IELTS… what’s the difference?

Both the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) and the IELTS provide language proficiency scales. They give a grade for your ability to speak, listen, read, and write in English. When applying to different immigration programs, you will often see requirements listed in one or both of these systems. It’s very important to note that these numbers are not equal to each other. For example, an overall 6 in IELTS is not an overall 6 in CLB. It’s a CLB 7.

A useful and simple way to check you scores is to use a conversion tool.

Q4. My immigration requirement states that I need a basic level of proficiency in Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). What does this mean?

The CLB is scored from 1 to 12. 1 is the lowest and 12 the highest. Language ability is graded as basic (1 – 4), intermediate (5 – 8), and advanced (9 – 12). Check the table below to calculate the IELTS equivalent.
CLB Benchmarks

Q5. I took the IELTS General test three years ago. Can I use that score for my application?

Unfortunately, IRCC would probably tell you that your score is no longer valid. The general rule is less than two years old on the date of your immigration application. So, in this case, the best thing to do would be to take another IELTS test. The reason for this validity rule is that people do lose their language ability over time. Hopefully, your English ability has improved, and if you need to retest, you will score even higher.

Q6. I heard about the Express Entry. What is that? Do I need IELTS for it?

The Express Entry (EE) system is a newer online application system for immigration into Canada. If you are applying for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades (FST), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), you will probably use it.

All these programs award your EE profile for language ability. To prove your language skills, you will need an approved score such as IELTS. A higher IELTS score could be the difference between being Invited To Apply (ITA) and not being selected as a possible immigrant. Make sure you prepare well for your test to maximize your chances of being invited!

Q7. I am going to submit my application for Express Entry as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). How does my IELTS score work in the point system?

The federal skilled worker program requires a minimum CLB 7. In IELTS language, this means you will need a minimum score of reading 6, writing 6, listening 6, and speaking 6. If you score a 5.5 or lower in one of these categories, you do not meet the requirement.

Q8. I just submitted my Express Entry profile. However, my IELTS score will expire after two months. What should I do?

In this case, you should take the IELTS test again soon. After that, update your Express Entry profile with your new results. Hopefully, your IELTS score will be higher and improve your chances for an ITA.

Q9. I am taking my IELTS test next week and preparing my documents for Permanent Residency (PR). Should I have my IELTS test centre send my results directly to IRCC (CIC)?

According to IRCC, you should not do this. The process is as follows:

  1. Take the IELTS.
  2. Collect your score.
  3. Submit score in your IRCC (CIC) application as directed, either scanned or photocopied.
  4. Keep your original score in your records. IRCC may ask for it in the future.


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