learning French For Members

QUIZ: Could you pass the new French language test for residency cards?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 15 Jan, 2023 Updated Sun 15 Jan 2023 08:54 CEST
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Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP

France's interior minister has unveiled a new immigration bill, which includes a French language test in order to get cartes de séjour residency cards - here's a look at the level required.


France's new immigration bill, unveiled by interior minister Gérald Darmanin this week, will be debated in parliament in early 2023.

You can read the main points of it HERE.

It's not at all certain that the government will be able to get this through parliament, and there could be alterations and amendments to the bill before it becomes law, but as things stand it requires that anyone wanting a carte de séjour pluriannuelle (the multi-year residency permit) must demonstrate "mastery of the French language" with a test.


This will be the first time that formal language tests are required for residency cards - at present you only need to take an exam for citizenship - but affects only people applying for the carte de séjour pluriannelle, not new arrivals or Britons in France covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. 

At present the Office français de l’immigration et de l’integration (OFII) can order people who have no or very little French to attend language classes, but there is no requirement to pass any kind of test.

The new law does not specify details of a test – whether applicants will have to take an exam specially or whether other certificates can be used – nor does it specify the level of language required.

The Interior Ministry told The Local that the level is not expected to change from the current requirement, adding: “To obtain a carte de séjour pluriannuelle, an A1 level is required.”

So with all those caveats in mind - what is A1 level and could you pass it?

The language level A1 in the international DELF scale is defined as: “The most basic level at which a language is used, called the “discovery” stage. At this stage, the learner can interact in a simple way: he/she can speak about him/herself and his/her immediate environment.”

The A1 test comprises four sections; reading, writing, speaking and listening and you have 1 hour 20 minutes to answer all sections, plus a 5-7 minute chat with an examiner.

Listening - respond to comprehension questions after listening to three or four short recordings concerning everyday situations. 20 minutes

Reading - respond to comprehension questions referring to four or five short written documents concerning everyday situations (eg an advert, a letter or a form). 30 minutes

Writing - complete a form or document and write short sentences concerning everyday information in a specified format (eg postcard, email). 30 minutes

Speaking - introduce yourself, exchange information and take part in a short conversation with the examiner. 5-7 minutes of conversation, plus 10 minutes preparation time. 

As with all DELF exams, the instructions for each section are in French.

The test

You can find a selection of full past papers HERE, but below are some typical questions that we have selected from previous years' exams.



You receive the following message in a card: Salut Emilie, j'ai 20 ans le 5 fevrier ! Pour fêter ça je fais une petite fête à la maison samedi prochain vers 20h00. Tu peux venir ? (apporte une bouteille de vin). A samedi, je t'embrasse, Jeanne.

You then need to answer the following questions;

1 Qui a écrit cette carte ?

2 C'est;

a) un message administratif

b) un message amical

c) on ne sait pas 

3 Pourquoi est-ce qu'elle a écrit cette carte?

a) Pour accepter une invitation

b) Pour inviter une amie 

c) Pour remercier son amie


1 You need to complete the registration form for a hotel with the following details;




Addresse personnelle:


Date d'arrivée à l'hotel:

Date de départ:

Langue parlée:

Avez-vous un animal?

2 From your holiday, you need to send a short postcard (40 to 50 words) to a friend in French, including the following information; Vous lui parlez du temps, de vos activités et vous lui donnez votre date de retour.


In the exam you will be played a recording, the recording is played twice with a 30-second gap in between. You then have 30 seconds to answer the questions on it.

Click HERE to listen to the recording.

1 Le train part du quai;

a) numéro 6

b) numéro 16

c) numéro 5

Click HERE to listen to the next recording

2 A quelle heure part le train ?

1 Jean propose

a) d'aller au cinéma

b) d'aller chez Mireille

c) d'aller au restaurant

2 Complétez son numéro de téléphone 

06 30 22 __ 59

3 A qui parle Jean?

a) A une fille 

b) A un garçon

c) On se sait pas

You can find the answers to the above questions HERE (scroll down to page 11 of the document).



The speaking test always begins with a short general discussion in which the examiner will ask you questions about yourself, eg Comment vous vous appelez ? Quelle est votre nationalité ?

You will then be given cards picturing pictures and a scenario, for example you are a customer and the examiner is a shop assistant, and you need to request the items pictured on the card, and then ask the price.

If you want to apply for French citizenship, you will need B1 level French - you can find our B1 quiz HERE.



The Local 2023/01/15 08:54

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