Question: I’m an Ethiopian. I meet all the requirements for applying for the EC long-term residence permit (Carta di Soggiorno). I’ve read somewhere that all applicants must pass an Italian language test. Is it true?
Answer: On 9th December 2010, a Government Directive introducing new rules governing applications of the EC long-term residence permit will enter into force. The Directive explains how the Italian language test will be taken.
From 9th December, most foreigners who would like to apply for the EC long-term residence permit will be required to pass the language test.
Therefore, before applying for the EC long-term residence permit, you must first pass the Italian language test.
While the test will be taken on computer, there will be a possibility of requesting to take it on paper. The content of the test will be the same in both cases.
Candidates will be required to prove that they have Lower intermediate level (A2) knowledge of Italian language. This should not be a problem for immigrants who have been living in the country for at least five years.
Not all the applicants for the EC long-term residence permit will be required to take the language test. The following will be exempted from taking the test: minor children under 14 years of age, those having problems with language comprehension (this must be certified by a medical doctor), those who have Italian language certificate (Level A2), those who have obtained lower or higher secondary school Diploma in Italy, University students, PhD and Masters students, managers, University professors, translators and interpreters and accredited foreign correspondents.
The application to sit for the language test must be submitted online to the local Immigrations Office at the Prefecture.
The Immigrations Office at the Prefecture will summon the applicant within 60 days of receiving the application to sit for the language test. The summoning letter will indicate the date, time and place where the test will be taken.
Before being allowed to sit for the exam, the applicant will have to be identified, so it’s important to bring along an ID document and the summoning letter.
The Immigrations Office at the Prefecture will inform the candidate of the outcome of the test, whether he/she has failed or passed. It will enter the results into the database of the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Ministry of Home Affairs. While processing the application for the EC long-term residence permit, the Provincial Police Headquarters can check the database to see if the applicant has passed the Italian language test.
A person who fails the test will have to submit another application to the Immigrations Office at the Prefecture and sit again for the test.
In case the applicant for the EC long-term residence permit is not required to sit for the language test, he/she will have to submit to the Provincial Police Headquarters all the documents or education certificates showing that he/she meets the Italian language requirement.
By Mariangela Lioy
What does Lower intermediate level (A2) knowledge of Italian language mean?
Listening: I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.
Reading: I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
Spoken Interaction: I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can't usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
Spoken Production: I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Writing: I can write short, simple notes and messages. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
By the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR).