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Convert your IELTS band to CLB points

Candidates for Canadian immigration are mainly required to demonstrate a minimum language ability to ensure they can adapt to life in Canada. 

Jennifer ArandaOriginally posted on December 3, 2017; updated December 3, 2017

IELTS to CLB Conversion

And, you can test for at least one of Canada's official languages, English or French.

If you decide to test your English language ability, you may take one of two exams that are accepted by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  These are:

  • International English Language Testing System or IELTS or;
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program or CELPIP.

Of the two, the IELTS is administered in more countries and is the more popular standardized language test recognized by IRCC for immigration purposes.

Regardless of the exam you decide to sit for though, Canada has its own system to standardize results.  This is the Canadian Language Benchmark or CLB.  Although the CLB was first used in Canada for teaching and testing adult language learning, the CLB is now used for immigration by IRCC.  The CLB is important as you will be using this on your application for permanent residence.

These CLBs cover a range of applicants' abilities from the most basic at CLB 1, to complete fluency in English at CLB 12.  As the IELTS will assess your ability in each of the four language components, the band score you receive per ability will have a corresponding CLB point. 

Take note of the following guidelines regarding your IELTS test result:

  • Your scores must be valid when you complete your Express Entry profile
  • If your results expire anytime during the 12-month validity period of your profile, you'll have to sit for the exam again.   Once you have received your scores, remember to enter the new test results into your Express Entry profile and when needed, your Personal Information Number or PIN.
  • Your language test results must valid at the time you are sent an Invitation to Apply and when you are applying at an embassy post for visa stamping.
  • There is no need to send your test results to IRCC.  Just keep it as the original document may be needed during the course of your application.

Are you applying for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Category? If you've listed English as your first language and sat for the IELTS, you may want to check our matrix below.  We've listed the test components in the table in the order as they appear on the results of your IELTS exam.  Just go to the column of each IELTS module for your band, look at the corresponding CLB on the first column.  Then check the FSW points you will be getting based on the CLB. 

CLB Listening Reading Writing Speaking FSW points 1st language
1 1 1 1 1 0
2 2 1.5 2 2 0
3 3.5 2.5 3 3 0
4 4.5 3.5 4 4 0
5 5 4 5 5 0
6 5.5 5 5.5 5.5 0
7 6 6 6 6 4
8 7.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 5
9 8 7 7 7 6
10 8.5 8 7.5 7.5 6
11 9 8.5 8 8 6
12 9 9 9 9 6

If you are claiming English as your second official language (French is your first), you may claim points in total ONLY IF you meet the following threshold for all language abilities:

CLB Level Listening Reading Writing Speaking Total Points
5 and above 5 - 9 4 - 9 5 - 9 5 - 9 4

Authors & Contributors

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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