Canada: 4 New Language Tests Now Accepted for Study Visa

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has unveiled a series of transformative updates. Effective August 10, 2023, aspiring international students can now avail themselves of an expanded repertoire of English language tests for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program.

In a significant development, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced the acceptance of four additional English language tests for applicants seeking admission through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program.

These changes, set to take effect from August 10, 2023, mark a pivotal shift in the eligibility criteria for international students aspiring to study in Canada.

Expanded Language Test Options

Under the revised guidelines, aspiring students can now submit results from a wider array of approved English language tests, beyond the previously accepted International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). The newly recognized tests include:

  1. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General
  2. Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
  3. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT)

This expansion in the range of accepted tests aims to offer greater flexibility to applicants, allowing them to showcase their language proficiency through multiple avenues.


Important Changes to IELTS Requirements

As part of these transformative changes, modifications have been introduced to the IELTS requirements for SDS applicants, effective August 10, 2023. The new IELTS Academic requirements are as follows:

  1. Applications submitted from August 10, 2023: A minimum overall band score of 6.0 is mandatory. This score is calculated based on the average of individual skill section scores.
  2. Applications submitted prior to August 10, 2023: A score of 6.0 is required in each skill area (speaking, listening, reading, and writing).

Furthermore, for applicants opting for IELTS General Training, a score of 6.0 in each skill section remains a prerequisite, regardless of whether the application is submitted before or after August 10, 2023.

Stringent Language Proficiency Criteria

It is imperative for aspiring students to demonstrate proficiency across all four language skills—Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing—to be deemed eligible for the coveted Student Direct Stream (SDS) program.

The stringent language proficiency criteria underscore Canada’s commitment to ensuring that international students are well-equipped to thrive in a diverse academic environment.

Language TestScore Required
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) GeneralCLB 7
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)60
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic60
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT Test83

In-Person Testing Requirement

Another significant facet of the updated guidelines is the requirement for applicants to undertake one of the approved language tests in an in-person format. Remote or online test submissions will not be accepted.

This stipulation ensures the credibility and authenticity of the language proficiency assessment, thereby maintaining the integrity of the admissions process.

These changes signal a progressive step by IRCC in streamlining the application process and enhancing accessibility for prospective international students.

By embracing a wider spectrum of language tests and implementing more discerning proficiency benchmarks, Canada reaffirms its dedication to fostering a vibrant and inclusive academic landscape.



In conclusion, the modifications to language test requirements for SDS applicants represent a pivotal juncture in Canadian immigration policy, heralding a new era of inclusivity and academic excellence.

Aspiring students are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the updated guidelines and embark on their educational journey to Canada with confidence and clarity.

Follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google News for the latest travel news and updates!


Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

Articles: 6340