TOEFL for Canadian immigration | TOEFL vs IELTS and CLB

Once upon a time, TOEFL was the most popular English test in the world. Almost all English-speaking universities accepted TOEFL as a measure of suitability. However, IRCC showed resistance toward TOEFL for Canadian immigration. This article explores this test and compares it with IELTS and Canada Language Benchmark (CLB). Of course, I’ll also explain where you could potentially use TOEFL.

TOEFL types

Before exploring TOEFL for Canadian immigration, let’s define it. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. According to ETS, more than 11,000 institutions in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere accept this test. Consequently, TOEFL is an English test to get acceptance to many English-speaking universities and colleges. ETS, the organizer of TOEFL, offers it in three types:

  • PBT – Paper-based Test,
  • CBT – Computer-based Test, and
  • iBT – Internet-based Test.

TOEFL vs IELTS and CLB for Canadian immigration

CLB stands for Canada Language Benchmark. Therefore, IRCC and other organizations use equivalency tables to see how other tests compare to CLB. The following table shows various TOEFL tests and compares them with CLB. Moreover, I have included IELTS, which is the most popular English language test for Canadian immigration.

0 – 310 zero – 30 0 – 30 0.0 – 1.0 0 – 1
310 – 343 33 – 60 33 – 60 1.0 – 1.5 1 – 2
347 – 393 63 – 90 19 – 29 2.0 – 2.5 3
397 – 433 93 – 120 30 – 40 3.0 – 3.5 4
437 – 473 123 – 150 41 – 52 4.0 5
477 – 510 153 – 180 53 – 64 4.5 – 5.0 6
513 – 547 183 – 210 65 – 78 5.5 – 6.0 7
550 – 587 213 – 240 79 – 95 6.5 – 7.0 8 – 9
590 – 677 243 – 300 96 – 120 7.5 – 9.0 10 – 12

* I have used IELTS Reading scores for CLB equivalency. However, the scores for other language abilities could be different.

Using TOEFL for Canadian immigration

Unfortunately, IRCC does not accept TOEFL for Canadian immigration. IELTS General Training and CELPIP General for Express Entry and other options are the only acceptable English language tests. However, you may still use TOEFL for the following reasons:

The following options do not require a test by default. However, an officer could ask you to present an official test result.

If you include even non-official test results such as TOEFL or Duolingo, you could convince the officer not to ask you for an official one. Of course, your results must be good (e.g., TOEFL iBT 65 or higher). Nonetheless, the final say is by the officer.

Let us help!

If you intend to study in Canada with a TOEFL test or alternatives, fill out the following form. You could fill out our assessment form for other immigration options. Of course, you may book a consultation session with me.

    How old is the student (required)

    Has the student taken an English or French test?

    How knowledgeable the student is in English or French languages (one language is enough)

    Has the student evaluated their educational credentials in Canada?

    How much money the student has to support their living expenses and tuition in Canada for the first year of studies in Canada?

    At which level do you wish to study?

    Does the student have accompanying family members?

    Do you have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institute?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

    Are you currently inside Canada?

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.