Five countries host more than half of the world’s international students: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Germany. France hosts more than 260,000 international students, putting it in third place after the United States and the United Kingdom. International students account for 12% of enrollments in French higher education.
Students choose a host country based on several criteria, including the language used in everyday life and in education. The countries in which education is delivered in widely spoken languages -English, of course, but also French and German- are those that enroll the most international students, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
For 4 out of 5 international students not enrolled in structured study-abroad programs, language proficiency is a decisive factor in the programs choice. France, while offering relatively few programs in English, attracts international students from countries influenced by French culture by providing easy access to French language training. Most students return to their home countries having achieved proficiency level B1 or B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the levels most commonly required by institutions for students completing a period of study abroad.
Since 2001, the Council of Europeʼs CEFR has set reference levels for foreign-language proficiency. The CEFR has become Europe’s standard for language learning, with 6 levels of proficiency defined by criteria of language competency in the situations and settings in which individuals are most likely to be called upon to use a foreign language.
Tests of and diplomas in French language required for admission to postsecondary programs

The levels of academic achievement required to obtain an extended-stay visa for study in France were set forth in an interministerial circular (from the ministries of the Interior, Foreign affairs, and Higher education and research) dated January 27, 2006. The criteria included the candidate’s educational level, the quality of the candidate’s prior academic program, and the institutional framework of the proposed program of study in France. Criterion 4 deals with the importance of “language proficiency, with assessment of applicants’ proficiency in French, including applicants who show exceptional academic potential.”
Several tests of French proficiency and diplomas in French language are accepted for purposes of admission into a French institution of higher education

• To enroll in the first or second year of a program in a university (Licence 1 and 2) or school of architecture, international students (from outside the European Union) must follow the so-called preliminary admission procedure, known as DAP. As part of their DAP application, they must demonstrate their level of French proficiency by passing a language test (TCF-DAP or TEF) or by earning a degree (DELF/DALF).
• For enrollments in the third year of university study (Licence 3), in a Master’s program, (Master 1 and 2), in a Doctoral program, or in one of France’s Grandes Écoles, no uniform requirement applies. Each institution is free to set its own criteria for French proficiency. Prospective students should inquire about the language requirements of the institutions of interest to them.
TCF (Test de connaissance du français - Test of knowledge of French)

The TCF, administered by the French Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher education and research, is a standardized test of general French designed by CIEP (Centre international d’études pédagogiques, International center for pedagogical studies), a certifying organization that is a member of ALTE (the Association of Language Testers in Europe). The TCF satisfies the quality requirements of ISO 9001, version 2008, in all of its processes. The TCF test of comprehension may be taken on computer in some countries; the computer-based test of written
expression will be available soon. Test results are valid for 2 years. Candidates wishing to repeat the TCF or TCF-DAP must wait 60 days from the date of their prior sitting.
Study in France: levels required for applications for preliminary admission (the DAP procedure)
A specific version of the TCF (TCF-DAP) is required for applications for preliminary admission (DAP). The TCF-DAP includes a mandatory test of written French. The TCF is the only test recognized by the CPU (Conférence des présidents d'université, Conference of university presidents) for admission to Licence 3, Masters 1, and Masters 2 programs. Note: The required score on the test varies from institution to institution and from program to program.
Description of the TCF and TCF-DAP:
Registration fees and locations: Candidates can take the TCF in 626 centers approved by CIEP. Centers are located in 141 countries, including France. To register, candidates should contact an approved center for information on testing dates and for the costs of the required and elective components of the test. In cooperation with the courses in French language and culture offered at the Sorbonne, CIEP offers monthly TCF sessions. To register, visit: Approved TCF centers:
Le TEF (Test d’évaluation de français - French assessment test)

The TEF, administered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP), accurately measures testtakers’ skills in general French, placing them on a scale of proficiency levels indexed to the CEFR and to Canadian language-proficiency levels. The TEF consists of a series of modules in multiple-choice format (written comprehension, oral comprehension, vocabulary, and structure) and two open-ended modules (written and oral expression). Since 2005, an electronic version of the multiple-choice modules known as e-tef has allowed test-takers to learn their results immediately..
Candidates may take the TEF as often as they wish. The validity of TEF results is open-ended; institutions and organizations make their own decisions about how recent a candidate’s results must be. CCIP recommends that results should be accepted for one year from the date of the test.
 Study in France: levels required for applications for preliminary admission (the DAP procedure)
To meet DAP requirements required for admission to years 1 and 2 at a university or school of architecture, the TEF is accepted in lieu of the TCF-DAP (ministerial decree of May 3, 2007), provided the candidate passes all of the mandatory components of the test and earns a score of at least 325 out of 450 on the test of written expression, a score that corresponds to level B2 of the CEFR and a grade of 14/20 in the French marking system.
Note: Passing scores may vary from institution to institution and from program to program.
 Description of the TEF:
 Registration fees and locations
The TEF is administered in about 100 countries by some 400 approved test centers. To register, contact an approved center of your choice. Each center sets its own test dates and fees. Approved TEF centers:
The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française - Diploma of French-language studies) and DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française - Advanced diploma in French language)
The DELF and DALF diplomas, conferred by the French Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Higher education and research attest to the holder’s level of proficiency in the French language. Six different diplomas are offered, corresponding to the six levels of the CEFR: DELF A1, A2, B1, and B2, and DALF C1 and C2. To earn any of the diplomas, candidates must pass tests in four competency areas: oral comprehension, oral expression, written comprehension, and written expression. Unlike the results of language tests, which expire after a certain period, the DELF and DALF diplomas are valid for life
 Study in France: levels required for applications for preliminary admission (the DAP procedure)
To meet DAP requirements required for admission to years 1 and 2 at a university or school of architecture, applicants must obtain a DELF B2 diploma (decree of January 18, 2008, published in the Journal officiel de la République française n°30 on February 5, 2008, p. 2206) or a DALF diploma (C1 or C2). Holders of these diplomas are exempted from any language test that might otherwise be required for admission to a French university.
Note: The level of the diploma required may vary from institution to institution and from program to program.
 Description of DELF tests:
 Description of DALF tests:
• Candidates must score at least 5/25 on each of the four tests.
• The total score required to obtain a DELF or DALF diploma is 50/100.
Registration fees and locations

1,000 test centers are found in secondary schools, language schools, universities, and cultural institutes (such as the Alliance Française) in 164 countries. Candidates should register directly with the test center of their choice. Fees associated with the diploma are set by each approved test center. Fees vary from country to country. For more information on registration and fees, contact a test center in your country or in France. CNED, the Centre national d'enseignement à distance (National center for distance learning) offers preparatory courses for DELF levels A1, A2, B1, B2 (30 hours for each level) and DALF levels C1 and C2 (30 hours each):
Approved DELF/DALF centers:

• Outside France, directory of Centers:
• In France, list of Centers:
Exemptions from requirements to demonstrate proficiency in french

Applicants who meet one of the following criteria may be exempted from the requirement that they demonstrate their proficiency in French:
• Holders of the French baccalauréat, the international or European baccalauréat, and the Franco-German baccalauréat;
• Nationals of states where French is the official language: Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte dʼIvoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Repubic of CongoSenegal, and Togo;
• Nationals of multilingual states where French is one of the official languages: Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritania (except for students in the Arabic-language curriculum), Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, and Vanuatu. In order to be excused from taking the TCF-DAP, applicants must have completed all of their secondary education in a French-language institution;
• Students graduating from bilingual programs in which French was one of the languages;
• Nationals of states in which final examinations for graduation from secondary school are conducted primarily in French;
• Applicants participating in a program governed by an intergovernmental accord or interuniversity agreement;
• International recipients of scholarships from the French government, international organizations, or foreign governments whose grants are administered by an approved French entity;
• Children of diplomats serving in France;
• In some cases, students enrolling in programs taught entirely in English:
Applicants who are citizens of a state in the European Economic Area or Switzerland are exempted from the preliminary admission procedure (DAP) and may apply directly to universities of their choice. However, applicants to preparatory programs for theGrandes Écoles, University institutes of technology (IUT), university-based professional institutes (IUPs), and postsecondary technical programs (STS, sections de techniciens supérieurs) are subject to a specific requirement. They must apply online for preliminary admission at the postbac admission Website. The same online preliminary admission Process is required of international applicants who hold or will soon receive a French baccalauréat earned abroad; a European or Franco-German Baccalaureate; or effective July 2011, a Franco-Spanish Bachibac or franco-italian Esabac