The official language of Estonia is Estonian that is the mother tongue of the majority of the population of Estonia but a foreign language for others. The requirements for Estonian language proficiency are established by the Language Act
Language proficiency levels
Mandatory levels of proficiency in Estonian are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Passing a language proficiency test is a proof of attainment of language proficiency required for a particular occupation. Language proficiency tests are available on four levels that correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference (A2, B1, B2,C1).
People who apply for Estonian citizenship must provide proof of passing the Estonian language proficiency test at level B1.
Estonian language proficiency levels (CEFR common reference levels)
Language proficiency tests
Estonian language proficiency is assessed at standardised tests. Proficiency tests can be taken once in a quarter at four levels (A2, B1, B2, C1); registration for the language proficiency test is open all year round. Deadline for registration is the first day of the month preceding the month the test is taken. The test is passed if at least 60 per cent of maximum points is achieved and for none of the assessed skills zero points are scored. A certificate of proficiency in Estonian language is issued to a person who has passed the Estonian language proficiency test. Prior to taking the test, one can participate in a tutorial that provides the person with necessary information and guidelines.
Missing a test appointment or failing a test
Individuals who miss their test appointment without a good reason or fail to meet the minimum threshold of 35 per cent of maximum points cannot retake the test until 6 months after their last test.
This does not apply to an individual who cancels his or her registration to the test at least seven days before the time of the test. Estonian language proficiency test is not obligatory for individuals who have acquired basic, upper secondary or higher education in Estonian (education is considered to have been acquired in Estonian when at least 60% of the studies were in Estonian) or have passed vocational certification in Estonian and are working in the profession indicated on the certificate of professional competence.
Disputing test results
Any person who has sat a language proficiency test and is not satisfied with the results has the right to dispute the results within 30 days of the date of notification of results by submitting a relevant application to the dispute settlement commission of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research at:
Munga 18, 50088 Tartu or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The dispute settlement commission will review the dispute application within 30 days of its receipt and either reject the dispute or satisfy the dispute and make a proposal for issuing the Estonian language proficiency certificate.
Reimbursement of language learning costs
Individuals who have passed the Estonian language proficiency test and have been issued the certificate are reimbursed for the costs of language learning to the extent established by the Government of the Republic.