DELF and DALF diplomas are internationally recognised certificates for French language skills. Each of the seven levels sets a minimum standard of French knowledge and skills, allowing them to be used as a benchmark in a number of situations. Those with the DALF are exempt from language entrance exams at French and Swiss Universities.
Because they certify a consistent standard of skills, the DELF and DALF diplomas are widely used by the labour market in recruitment and selection, and training and development programmes.
They are official diplomas, issued by the Centre International d'Etudes Pédogogiques (CIEP) of the French Ministry for Education (a Member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE)).
DELF DALF Suisse reports to the French Embassy in Switzerland. All exams are prepared and distributed by the Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques(CIEP) (Centre for International Educational Studies) in France. The CIEP is recognized both in France and abroad for its achievements in education, certification and international cooperation.
The CIEP is aided in the accomplishment of this task by the efforts of over 200 people. Drawn from the French Ministry for Development, Tertiary Institutions and research directs their activities.
These certification programmes, which are harmonised within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), are internationally recognised and frequently used by foreign ministries responsible for education. They reflect level of ability in the four language skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing.
To guarantee fairness between the candidates when awarding qualifications, only examiners and trainers that are qualified to manage the content and standardised procedures set out by the CIEP are permitted to assess candidates. Furthermore, to guarantee the quality of examination sessions, compliance checks may be carried out within approved test centres, in line with the procedures and criteria made available to the heads of the centre, for the purpose of self-assessment.
The DILF (Diplôme initial en langue française) is for all non-francophone adults, aged 16 or over, with a minimum level of skill in French: absolute beginners and new arrivals in France. It validates level A1.1 of the CEFR.
The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) has five versions:
- DELF tout public “General public” for older teenagers and adults,
- DELF Prim for children of primary school age,
- DELF junior for teenagers of secondary school age,
- DELF scolaire “For schools” (secondary level) when an agreement has been signed with a country’s education authorities,
- DELF Pro for those doing vocational training or internships.
It validates levels A1.1 (DELF Prim only), A1, A2, B1 and B2 of the CEFR.
The DALF (Diplôme approfondi en langue française) is for experienced users. It validates levels C1 and C2 of the CEFR.
All DELF DALF diplomas are independent from each other.
DELF DALF diplomas are valid for life and all over the world.
Skills are tested at each graduation DELF-DALF (oral and written expression, oral and written understanding).
The hours necessary for the preparation of each DELF DALF diploma are as follows:
(These numbers include overall personal time devoted to learning, not just lessons: homework, reading, writing, listening [watching movies, listening to a radio station, audio tapes, podcasts] other language websites or apps and interacting with other French speakers, through chat or activities)
|DELF A1||80 hours from absolute beginner level A0|
|DELF A2||160 hours from beginner level A0||(100 hours from DELF A1)|
|DELF B1||310 hours from beginner level A0||(150 hours from DELF A2)|
|DELF B2||490 hours from beginner level A0||(180 hours from DELF B1)|
|DALF C1||690 hours from beginner level A0||(200 hours from DELF B2)|
|DALF C2||890 hours from beginner level A0||(200 hours from DALF C1)|
The TCF (test de connaissance du français) is a certificate-based test. It accurately assesses listening and reading, as well as command of language structures. Candidates may also sit additional tests assessing speaking and writing.
The four version of the TDF are for:
- Those who want to assess their French skills for personal, academic or professional reasons (TCF for the “general public) ,
- students who wish to enrol in the first year of a bachelor’s degree in a French university or school of architecture (TCF for university admission - TCF for the DAP) ,
- those who wish to obtain French nationality by decree or by marriage (TCF for French nationality - TCF ANF) ,
- those who wish to set up home in Quebec and are requesting a permanent visa. (TCF for Quebec).
Swiss citizenship laws have undergone dramatic changes in the past 20 years. For one, a Swiss woman no longer loses her citizenship for marrying a foreigner.
To become Swiss, there are basically three paths: through birth, marriage (not automatic) or naturalisation. This section concerns those who would like to become Swiss or to reclaim their Swiss citizenship, both of which can require a lengthy process.
Unlike in the United States, Switzerland does not grant a child citizenship for being born on Swiss soil. A person is automatically Swiss if he or she is the child of married parents, at least one of whom is Swiss. The child of an unmarried Swiss woman is also automatically Swiss. Should an unmarried father be Swiss (and the mother a foreigner), the child can have Swiss citizenship as long as the father acknowledges paternity before the child turns legal age.
Switzerland allows citizens to hold multiple nationalities, so whether a naturalised person loses previous citizenship depends upon the other country in question.
Foreigners with no direct blood ties to Switzerland through either birth or marriage must live in the country for at least ten years before they can apply for citizenship. Years spent in the country between ages ten and 20 count double.
Knowledge of a national language to a minimum spoken level of B1 and written level of A2 will be required. Applicants for naturalisation need a “C” residence permit to apply for a Swiss passport. People on welfare and anyone with a criminal offence are in theory excluded.
The State Secretariat for Migration examines whether applicants are integrated in the Swiss way of life, are familiar with Swiss customs and traditions, comply with the Swiss rule of law, and do not endanger Switzerland's internal or external security.
The State Secretariat for Migration will then “green light” an applicant’s request to begin the naturalisation process but that does not mean citizenship is certain. Rather, cantons and municipalities have their own requirements that must be met.
After submitting your naturalisation application, you will be invited to a personal interview where you will be informed of the subsequent steps to be taken.
Naturalisation procedures vary considerably from one commune or canton to another: some communes, for instance, require applicants to take a verbal or written naturalisation test while others leave the naturalisation decision up to the communal assembly. The duration of the procedure also varies considerably from one canton to another.
Swiss citizenship is highly sought after – and correspondingly hard to get.
Foreigners married to a Swiss citizen or children of one Swiss parent (who do not yet have Swiss citizenship) are eligible to apply for fast-track citizenship. The person must be well integrated, law abiding and not endanger Switzerland’s external or internal security. Cantons and municipalities have no additional requirements that must be met but do reserve the right of appeal.
This rule generally applies to foreign spouses married to a Swiss for at least three years and who have lived in Switzerland for a total of five years, including the year immediately prior to application. People “with close ties” to Switzerland may also apply for the fast-track procedure even if they live abroad. In that case, the couple must have been married for at least six years. The spouse must have had Swiss citizenship before getting married.
Children who are not yet 22 years old and who did not get citizenship when their parents did may also apply, provided they have lived in the country for at least five years – including for one year prior to making the application. “Close ties to Switzerland” also applies (owning real estate in the country is not enough). For children born out of wedlock to Swiss fathers, an application for citizenship must be filed before the child turns 22 and the father must recognise the child as his. The child must have close links to the country.
In February 2017, the Swiss people voted to extend facilitated naturalisation to third-generation immigrants. To be eligible, they must be born in Switzerland, between nine and 25 years of age, hold a “C” residence permit and have attended at least five years of regular schooling in Switzerland. Their parents also must have lived in Switzerland for at least ten years, including five years of Swiss schooling, and hold a valid residence permit. At least one grandparent has to be Swiss or have a residence card.