Target population

Candidates who turn 14 years old within the calendar year are eligible to register for and take the ECL language exam. It is a monolingual, paper-based test designed to assess general language proficiency at four CEFR levels: A2, B1, B2, and C1. Exam tasks focus on everyday real-world situations and candidates’ communicative competencies. The ECL exam is a general language assessment that does not target specific age groups, cultures, countries, or professions.

Target Population for German ECL Exams and Uses for Language Certificates

The ECL language examinations in German are appropriate for adolescents and adults over 14 years of age who:

  • have studied or are studying German as a foreign language and need to assess their general reading, writing, listening, and speaking proficiency in German at a specific CEFR level;
  • intend to enhance their educational/academic or employment/professional prospects, and therefore they require a general German language certificate demonstrating their proficiency at a specific CEFR level;
  • are immigrating to Germany or Switzerland, or they are undergoing visa, naturalization, and/or citizenship procedures that require authentication of their general language proficiency in German as a foreign language.

The ECL certificate in German is accepted by the Federal Foreign Office, the embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) as proof of general German language proficiency.

For immigration to Germany, the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) has recognised ECL certificates for visa purposes since April 2021 (

The embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany accept the ECL certificate as proof of general German language proficiency.

In Switzerland, ECL certificates for levels A2 to C1 have been generally accepted by the State Secretariat for Migration (Staatssekretariat für Migration SEM) for residence and settlement permits and naturalisations since April 2021 (