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Is It Possible to Travel to Canada Without IELTS?


    People who are looking to travel to Canada especially international students mostly have this question lurking at the back of their minds. This is because of the rigorous stress and exercises involved in immigrating in the first place.

    Immigrating to Canada does not come cheap, including submitting so many required documents at your disposal. After spending so much money on all these, immigrants feel the cost of the IELTS is quite unnecessary.


    However, despite having such thoughts and wanting to boycott all the IELTS expenses you will be surprised to know that immigrants can actually travel without the IELTS.

    There are some special fast-track Canadian study permit programs targeted at specific countries that may require completion of the IELTS test before you can apply for fast-track processing.

    Examples are the Canada Nigeria Student Express Program and the Canada Student Direct Stream programs for Pakistan, Senegal, Morocco, China, India, Philippines, and Vietnam. Even then, international students from these countries can still apply under the regular study permit process which does not require IELTS.

    International students from English-speaking countries feel it is unfair to be subjected to taking this compulsory test as they are already fluent in the language, which is just a waste of money.

    These are valid concerns especially when one appreciates the fundamental domestic economic circumstances that make these international students choose Canada in the first place.

    Which Language Test Can You Take to Immigrate to Canada?

    Generally, the approved test requires to immigrate to Canada is the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) tests to demonstrate your English-language proficiency. If you’re a Francophone, then you can take either the TEF or TCF tests.

    Test Instructions
    CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program You must take the CELPIP-General test
    IELTS: International English Testing System You must take the General Training option

    Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

    As the name goes, the CLB is the benchmark that the Canadian government is expecting immigrants to have – this is more like a cutoff mark. Your language test results will be used to determine your language level according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or the French equivalent, Niveaux de compétence Linguistique canadiens (NCLC). The IRCC refers to CLB and NCLC levels for language requirements on your permanent residency application.

    Universities That Do Not Require International English Language Test System (IELTS)

    Once an international student has been offered admission by a Canadian university, the international student will be given the student permit, in that case, the student should check the school’s website to check if the school does not require IELTS. This is because in cases like these it is the school that requires the International English Language Test System not the IRCC visa center.

    Canadian universities have found that students who have completed their degrees from a recognized educational institution in the English language often show good proficiency in Reading & Writing. They only have to submit specific documents to get admission to the university of Canada.

    There are universities that international students can apply to without the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and they are listed below

    • Concordia University;
    • Cambrian College;
    • Seneca College;
    • University of Saskatchewan;
    • Brock University;
    • Carleton University;
    • University of Winnipeg;
    • University of Regina;
    • Memorial University.

    NOTE: Some Universities can grant you provisional admission on the criteria that you have to take up English classes during your studies in the institution.

    Furthermore, international students should know that there are schools that might need the IELTS but can wave it if they show proof that they were taught in English in their country. The proof can vary from a written note from the school you graduated from to the school sending your transcripts/results in English to show you were taught in English.

    Also, you can send any official certificate which shows you are familiar with the language. With this, you don’t have to go through the rigors and expenses of taking the IELTS.

    You can study in Canada without IELTS if you take an online English language course instead of IELTS. It is easier and far less expensive than the IELTS, plus it doesn’t have a standard required for a pass. All you need is the online test certificate as proof of English language proficiency.

    The English language or French language test requirement is for individuals who want to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents and not temporary residents like students.

    In some cases, applicants for study permits in certain special programs may be required to write an English test. However, generally, individuals who want to immigrate to Canada for work are not required to write the IELTS test.


    To get a Canadian work permit, you need to secure a job offer from your Canadian employer. If your employer does not ask for your IELTS score, then you do not need IELTS to get your temporary resident visa to work.

    Alternative Language Tests to Study in Canada

    Language Test Eligibility
    Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Accepted by over 180 universities and colleges across Canada, including all English-speaking universities and 82% of English-speaking colleges.
    Cambridge Assessment of English Accepted by over 200 schools in Canada including nearly all public universities.
    Duolingo English Test Accepted by almost 140 post-secondary institutions in Canada.
    IELTS Academic Accepted by some 400 Canadian universities and colleges
    Pearson Test of English (PTE) Accepted by 90% of Canada’s universities and colleges.
    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Accepted by over 400 Canadian universities and colleges including 100% of universities.
    Tests offered by individual institutions The University of Toronto and McGill University