The B1 Language Certificate (2023)

In case you missed our latest update on the new language requirement for Italian citizenship by naturalization, you may want to read our article entitled, “A New Language Requirement for Italian Citizenship by Marriage“.
In light of the new requirement to obtain a B1 level (or higher) Italian language certificate for those interested in applying for Italian citizenship through marriage or residency, there has been a lot of confusion about what this requirement is and what it entails. We’ve received a number of emails with questions such as, “What is a B1 certificate?”, “How fluent in Italian does one need to be in order to get B1 level certification?”, “What do I need to do to get a B1?” and so on….

In this article, we will address these questions and more.

Part 1: What is a B1 Certificate?
The Italian B1 level language certificate is a document which shows Italian linguistic competency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (also known as CEFR or CEF or CEFRL). This certificate will demonstrate to the Italian government that you will be able to function with day to day tasks in Italian as a potential Italian citizen. The B1 certificate can also be useful to people who may be interested in studying in Italy since many courses/programs require a certificate in order to see that the prospective student will be able to understand the course material. (Please note that some schools may require a higher C1 or C2 level. It would be advisable to first check with your educational institution of choice. Nonetheless, a B1 certificate can help you prepare for a higher level of certification if necessary.) The levels are in alphabetical order with A levels being the most basic, B levels being intermediate and C levels considered to be advanced.

Those of you who may be interested in finding work in Italy or another European nation where the Italian language may be necessary, you may be required to present a B1 level certificate (or above) for consideration as a potential candidate. Fortunately, by acquiring Italian citizenship, Italian nationality gives you the option to reside and legally work in Italy without restriction and also gives you much more accessibility to jobs and education across the European Union.

To see additional benefits of Italian citizenship, you can visit our page going through more benefits, CLICK HERE for more info.

Part 2: How much Italian do I need to know for a B1 Certificate?
The B1 level certificate shows that you have a basic ability to use the Italian language. At this level total perfection in comprehension and communication is not required. Some errors are allowed, but in summary, a B1 certificate shows that you have demonstrated that you…

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. ¹

The CEFRL is divided into 6 levels, as follows:

  • A1 (Beginner)
  • A2 (Elementary)
  • B1 (Intermediate)
  • B2 (Upper intermediate)
  • C1 (Advanced)
  • C2 (Mastery)

Which are further broken down into 3 main skill categories:

  • Understanding
  • Speaking
  • Writing

Each main skill is further divided in sub-skills, namely:

Understanding:

(Video) The B1 Certificate for Italian Citizenship by Naturalization - Overview & FAQs

1) Listening

I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.²

2) Reading

I can understand texts that consist mainly of high-frequency every day or job-related language. I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.²

Speaking:

3) Spoken Interaction

I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).²

4) Spoken Production

“I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.” ²

Writing:

(Video) What does it mean to have a B1 certificate in English?

5) Writing

“I can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. I can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.” ²

Part 3: Examples of what you might find on a B1 level exam and what to study.
The exams and testing time can vary slightly depending on the institution. The various sections of the exam, in total, should take a few hours. Rather than going into detail in this overview of the vast scope of what the exam covers, we would recommend visiting the following free online resource which may help you to understand the linguistic requirements:
https://onlineitalianclub.com/free-italian-exercises-and-resources/online-italian-course-intermediate-b1/

We would also recommend contacting the educational institution you have chosen where you will actually be taking the exam for more details about their specific tests and what their exam entails so that you can be well prepared. The exams may vary somewhat but the basic required knowledge is generally the same. Some schools may also offer courses to help you prepare for the exam. For a list of institutions please see the list below…

Each person has his or her own unique learning style and aptitude for learning a language. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many hours of study will be required. It is possible to study in a classroom or with a private tutor, but it is estimated that the amount of time to get from A 1.1 through B1.4 in a classroom setting would be roughly 200 hours. Of course, it can vary depending on the individual and one’s learning style and ability. The levels are A1.1, A1.2, A2.1, A2.2, B1.1, B1.2, B1.3 and B1,4. An estimated 25 hours per level(note some schools may count hours as “academic hours” which can be 50 minutes each).

Part 4: How can I take the exam?
Below you will find a list of schools which offer the B1 certification.

Directly through programs organized by institutions in Italy:

Università per Stranieri di Siena – aka “CILS” certification
https://cluss.unistrasi.it/2/index.htm

Università per Stranieri di Perugia – aka “CELI” certification
https://www.unistrapg.it/en/certification-italian-foreign-language

Società Dante Alighieri – aka “PLIDA” certification
http://www.societadantealighieri.org/en/plida

(Video) LanguageCert IESOL B1 Sample Interview Sara

Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
http://www.certificazioneitaliano.uniroma3.it/B1-eleIT.aspx

The Italian government is updating the list of certifying institutions abroad.

The ministry of external affairs published a new tool on its website to check the nearest certification center worldwide: https://italiana.esteri.it/italiana/

In the USA you can also consult the current list published by the Embassy of Italy organized by consulate jurisdiction:
https://ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/ambasciata_washington/resource/doc/2019/03/lista_enti_certificatori_eng.pdf

When contacting the schools it is best to mention you are interested in a B1 certificate for the purposes of citizenship.

Part 5: A little background and context…
In 1991 the Swiss Federal Authorities held a symposium entitled “Transparency and Coherence in Language Learning in Europe: Objectives, Evaluation, Certification”. Due to the multilingual needs of Europe as a whole with the continent moving closer with increasing migration, a need was recognized. Because language is such an important part of business, trading, intergovernmental communication and cultural exchange, it was decided to create a European framework for languages to help employers, governmental bodies and even schools to be able to recognize how qualified a potential future employee or student is to be able to work or to be able to study. A project followed this symposium to help define and structure language-level classifications to be recognized around Europe.

After 20 years of research, The Council of Europe had the final framework put into place
a framework of reference. It was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency.” ³

We hope this article has been helpful to you. If you know anyone else who might find this information of interest be sure to share the link to this article with them or on your social media.

If you have any questions about anything covered in this article or any other questions, feel free to get in contact with us at ICA HERE and we’ll do our best to help and we may even base an upcoming article on your question.

¹ Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

(Video) How to pass the LanguageCert B1- 'Achiever' level speaking exam

² Source: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/sites/default/files/cefr-en.pdf

³ Source: https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages

April 1, 2019By Rafael DiFuriaItalian Citizenship By Marriage Italian citizenship tips

About the author

Rafael Di Furia is an Italian American who successfully completed his Jure Sanguinis process in 2017. He devotes his spare time to a video project talking about life as a dual citizen in Italy creating informational content to help others with the transition and processes involved with dual citizenship, life in Italy and sharing Italy with his viewers. Rafael is our Media Advisor

5 Most Common Ways to Acquire Italian CitizenshipWhat is the AIRE?

(Video) How to Learn the German Language in 5 months with B1 Level Certificate || Filipina who speaks German

FAQs

How hard is Italian B1? ›

The Italian B1 level language certification is at an intermediate level. This means that you are proficient enough in the Italian language for everyday interaction, making integration much more straightforward if you choose to live, study or work in Italy.

How do you pass B1 in Italian? ›

Once you pass the CILS exam, you will get your B1 certificate. To qualify, you need to score at least 11 points in each of the 5 tests, from listening and reading comprehension to written skills. The test totals 100 points and you can retake certain sections after 18 months if you don't achieve the minimum score.

How long does it take to get B1 in Italy? ›

Suggested preparation time to pass B1 level is 240-300 hours, and for B2 320 – 400 hours.

How do I get a B1 English certificate? ›

Students require about 400 hours of instruction to reach B1 from a complete beginner level. According to the CEFR guidelines, a language learner at the B1 level: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

Does B1 mean fluent? ›

Level B1 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

Is B1 level enough? ›

However, a B1 level is not adequate to function fully in the workplace in English. According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B1 level in English: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

Can you fail B1 test? ›

B1 ENGLISH TEST TOPICS – THE IELTS LIFE SKILLS TEST

You can take this exam in many parts of the world. The result is either pass or fail. If you receive a fail, then you cannot use the test result in your application for a visa.

What is the passing marks for B1 test? ›

B1 Preliminary – Level B1

If you achieve a scale score of 140–159 (Pass, Pass with Merit) in your exam, you will receive the Preliminary English Test certificate at Level B1.

How long is the B1 English test? ›

How long will the B1 test take? The B1 ESOL test will take about 2.5 hour. The test will consist of a speaking, listening, reading and writing component.

Can I learn Italian in 3 months? ›

While you can certainly learn the Italian language faster than 3 months, you will get better results by taking your time and making sure that you are putting in the effort. The best way to learn Italian in 3 months is to find a program that is designed to teach you Italian and speak like a native speaker.

Can I learn Italian in 6 months? ›

You can expect to need between 24 and 36 weeks of lessons to get that far. So, that's six to eight months to learn Italian from zero to working-in-an-office level. If you have the time and the motivation.

How long does it take to complete B1? ›

The German B1 level, also known as the intermediate level, It will take you at least 80 hours per week (a total of 4 weeks) to finish your German B1.

Is B1 test easy? ›

Passing the B1 writing exam is not an easy task. You need advanced preparations to successfully complete this English test. Languages are the most complex subjects. You need lots of patience and practice to learn a new language.

How long is B1 certificate valid for? ›

If the two years pass, you'll need to take the test again when you apply for citizenship. There is an exception to the rule: If you have a B1 English language qualification, you can use that for your citizenship application, even if it's older than two years.

Can I do B1 test online? ›

If you want to know your current level of English, we recommend that you take a B1 English test online as part of your preparation process. At ABA English, we have the ideal test for each level, which you can take for free, online, and which will only take a few minutes.

What is B1 level equivalent to? ›

Lower Intermediate

Is B1 beginner or intermediate? ›

B1 English (Intermediate)

Level B1 corresponds to users who can understand and produce text on familiar topics and give opinions and descriptions.

Is duolingo enough for B1? ›

Duolingo is beyond B1 level in German.

Is German B1 enough for job? ›

B1 is one of the central requirements for non-EU-citizens to start working in Germany directly. With B1 you also may apply for an apprenticeship in order to learn a German profession in Germany.

Which is better B1 or B2? ›

Generally speaking, a B1 visa is for business-related projects, while a B2 visa is for tourism and pleasure-travel. The government can also issue a B1/B2 visa to business travelers who plan to travel within the US for tourist activities during their stay in the United States.

How do I clear my B1 test? ›

Sitting the B1 Zertifikat Deutsch exam
  1. A two hour wait. My exam lasted from 9.00am to 4.00pm; others last longer or a little bit less depending on when their speaking section occurs. ...
  2. Sit plenty of test exams. ...
  3. Speaking practice is the key. ...
  4. Challenging but worthwhile.
8 Aug 2022

How many times can you take the B1 test? ›

Both versions of the speaking and listening test can be used in your application for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) or citizenship. For both tests, the results last for 2 years. If you fail, there is no limit to how many times you can retake the test, so you can simply try and try again!

What is the best topic for B1 test? ›

When choosing your topic, you should choose a subject that you know a lot about and can talk about with the examiner for up to 5 minutes such as: a hobby, holiday, your family, your job, your home country.
...
Subject areas:
  • Festivals.
  • Means of transport.
  • Special occasions.
  • Entertainment.
  • Music.
  • Recent personal experiences.

How much does B1 exam cost? ›

The IELTS Life Skills B1 test is designed for those who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and/or British citizenship. It is on the list of Home Office approved Secure English language tests. The IELTS Life Skills B1 test costs £150. It assesses listening and speaking only and can be booked using this link.

How is B1 exam done? ›

B1 Preliminary is made up of four papers developed to test students' English skills. You can see exactly what's in each paper below. The formats below are the same for both the paper-based and computer-based exams. Shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines.

Do I need B1 test for British citizenship? ›

Overview. You might need to prove your knowledge of the English language if you're 18 or over and applying for citizenship or to settle in the UK (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). You can prove it by having either: an English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level.

How long speak Italian fluently? ›

They categorise Italian as a 'Group One' or 'Category One' language meaning a student would spend nearly 600 hours in the classroom to reach basic fluency. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) considers Italian to be one of the easiest languages to learn.

How quickly can you be fluent in Italian? ›

Italian is what the FSI calls a 'Group One' language. This means you would achieve basic fluency with about 600 hour of classroom time. Group One languages are the easiest to learn. So you'll need a lot less time to learn a Group One language than let's say Russian, which is Group Three or Chinese, which is Group Four.

How many words do you need to be fluent in Italian? ›

I'm a good student and I recently took a year of italian, going through all the basics of grammar (little bit of future and past). In the process I learned something like one or two thousand words. (I gather you need 7-10 thousand to be fluent).

What's the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Is Italian useful for business? ›

Another reason why Italian is such an important language for doing business: other languages will only get you so far, or nowhere at all. To make a good impression on Italians and Italian-speaking consumers, you need to localise your website, marketing collateral or other documentation.

Can I reach B1 in 2 months? ›

B1 is the toughest and takes 2 months to complete so, students have lots of time to learn more advanced and essential sentences. During the 2 months period, students will get enough reading, writing, speaking, listening, and visual sessions to guarantee they are well prepared when they reach Germany.

How can I increase my B1 level? ›

Reaching level B1 after learning English for roughly two and a half years is not bad.
...
From my personal experience I would recommend:
  1. In order to increase vocabulary: Read books, watch movies with closed captions in the language that you are learning. ...
  2. In order to improve grammar: Use textbooks with exercises.
6 Nov 2017

How many words are there in B1 German? ›

If you are preparing for the Goethe Institut's B1 exam, you must learn at least another thousand words. That's a total of 2,400 words. That's quite a jump, and it can get a bit complex because you have plurals and gender (among other things) to remember.

What's the difference between B1 and B1+? ›

Intermediate level B1+

Covers approximately the second half of Intermediate level B1 and the first half of Intermediate level B2 in The European Framework of Reference. For participants who already master level B1. You learn to understand standard speech on familiar and unfamiliar topics.

What is a B1 qualification? ›

B1 Preliminary is an intermediate-level qualification and is designed for learners who have mastered the basic of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use. It is targeted at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Who is exempt from B1 English test? ›

A person applying for settlement as a partner, parent or dependent child aged over 18 may be exempt from meeting the required (B1) level of English language ability. To be eligible for this exemption the applicant must meet all of the following: have spent a continuous period of 15 years in the UK with valid permission.

How many modules are there in B1 test? ›

Candidates must pass both modules for an ISE I (B1) qualification. Visit Prepare for your ISE I test to find guidance and preparation activities to help you understand and practise for both modules.

How long does it take to learn a language to B1? ›

On average it will take 18 months (6 courses of 10 weeks each) to reach B1 level. B1 is an intermediate level where you can converse comfortably on most everyday topics.

What level of difficulty is Italian? ›

They categorise Italian as a 'Group One' or 'Category One' language meaning a student would spend nearly 600 hours in the classroom to reach basic fluency. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) considers Italian to be one of the easiest languages to learn.

How hard is the Italian citizenship language test? ›

It all depends on your level. If you are an absolute beginner in Italian, it might take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on your time commitment and native language. If you already have an intermediate level, it might take you a month to handle how the exam works.

How long does it take to get to B1 Spanish? ›

Starting from the A2 level, you'll need approximately 150-180 study hours to reach B1. If you're following an intensive path, this amount of hours can easily be done in three months. At a normal pace (one hour of Spanish every day), six months should be enough.

Can you fail B1 English test? ›

B1 ENGLISH TEST TOPICS – THE IELTS LIFE SKILLS TEST

You can take this exam in many parts of the world. The result is either pass or fail. If you receive a fail, then you cannot use the test result in your application for a visa.

Can I learn German B1 in 6 months? ›

The German B1 level, also known as the intermediate level, It will take you at least 80 hours per week (a total of 4 weeks) to finish your German B1. According to Goeth Institut, you'll take at least 350 and 650 45-minute units of teaching depending on what you have retained from your previous A1 to A2 level.

Can duolingo get me to B1? ›

By reaching the end of Unit 5, Duolingo learners have completed all the lessons in the beginner sections of our courses, called A1 and A2, and are starting intermediate B1 material.

Is French or Italian harder? ›

The main difference is in pronunciation: French pronunciation is considered to be the most difficult among the Romance languages, because it has some very unusual sounds we don't have in English. The Italian “r” and the French “r” are very, very different: they are both difficult for a native-English speaker.

What is B1 fluency in Italian? ›

What exactly is a B1 Certification? The Italian B1 level language certification is an 'intermediate' level and means you are proficient enough in the Italian language for everyday interaction to live, study, and work in the community.

Is Italian harder than English? ›

It really depends on your native language and if you speak other languages. For instance, if you speak French, it'll probably be easier for you to learn Italian. On the other hand, if you speak German, you're likely to learn English faster than Italian.

Which country has the hardest citizenship test? ›

17 Hardest Countries To Get Citizenship [REVEALED]
  • Qatar.
  • Vatican City.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Bhutan.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Kuwait.
  • Switzerland.
  • China.

How hard is B1 Spanish? ›

B1. This level indicates that you are able to understand the main points of clear, standard language texts when they deal with subjects that are familiar. You are able to cope with situations that may arise while travelling. You can speak clearly and simply on familiar matters.

Can I learn Spanish in 3 months? ›

It is possible to learn Spanish in 3 months, but it is true that to fully master the language to a native level, you will need more time. An intensive Spanish course covering all levels (from A1 to C2) consists of 62 weeks (about 15 months in total).

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