There are two tests, both internationally-recognised, which demonstrate your competencies in the Italian language: Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera (CILS) and Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana (CELI). CILS is administered by the Università per Stranieri di Siena (The Foreigners’ university of Siena) and is accredited by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while CELI is administered by the Università per Stranieri di Perugia (The Foreigners’ university of Perugia) and is accredited by both the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and Research.
CILS is divided into four levels:
The CILS exams evaluates and consists of five parts:
CELI is an alternative exam which consists of five language proficiency tests designed to evaluate Italian proficiency in non-native speakers.
CELI has three levels:
Except for CELI Uno, which is a simple pass or fail, different grades are given (A, B, C are pass grades). The test consists of four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Both CILS and CELI exams are regulated by their parent institutions (Siena and Perugia, respectively). Examination centres, certified by the two institutions, can be found all over the world.
CILS exams are normally hosted in June and December and CELI exams are available throughout the year depending on which country you sit the exam. As a general rule, the higher the level you take, the longer the exam (up to five and a half hours for CILS Quattro).
You will have to pay a registration fee which varies from centre to centre.