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Language certification

Certification of Italian Language at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco

The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco administers, on behalf of Università per Stranieri di Perugia, the CELI (Certificati di Lingua Italiana) language certification exams.



  • March 13, 2024
    Enrollment opens September 15, 2023
    Enrollment deadline: February 5, 2024
    A1 CELI impatto
    A2 CELI 1
    B1 CELI 2
    B2 CELI 3

  • June 18, 2024
    Enrollment opens January 15, 2024
    Enrollment deadline: May 13, 2024
    A1 CELI impatto
    A2 CELI 1
    B1 CELI 2
    B2 CELI 3
    C1 CELI 4
    C2 CELI 5


We recommend that you frequently check out this page for updates.

Please note that the exam will take place in accordance with the Covid-19 public health guidelines, and that we might be required to cancel it.

As the number of candidates is limited, acceptance is on a first-come-first-serve basis.


To register for the exam
, please contact

Registration documents must be sent to the Institute by the end of the registration date. Registrations are binding. Candidates who in previous sessions have only partially passed the CELI exam, presenting the documentation issued by the University for Foreigners of Perugia, will have to re-take only the part of the test that they did not pass and pay the exam fee for that part only. The exam fee cannot be refunded under any circumstances. It may be used for subsequent examination deadlines, but only in exceptional cases, motivated in writing (illness, serious family problems, impediments due to work or study). However, the exam fee will be refunded if the exam is canceled due to failure to reach the minimum enrollment number.


The CELI Certification, issued by the University for Foreigners of Perugia, is recognized by the Italian State on the basis of an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The subdivision of the examination in the different levels of difficulty refers to the Common European Framework of Reference for language knowledge of the Council of Europe. The CELI exam is an official tool for verifying and evaluating language and communication skills.


There are six CELI levels: Level A1, Level A2, Level B1, Level B1 cittadinanza (offered only in Italy), Level B2, Level C1 and Level C2. Each of them identifies progressively higher linguistic and communicative competence. Level B1 corresponds to an intermediate level of competence of the Italian language as a foreign language; level C2 corresponds to the level of knowledge of Italian required in the professional field.

All tests are produced and evaluated based on the European parameters set in the Council of Europe documents.

To achieve certification at one of the six levels, it is necessary to pass an exam consisting of four parts (five for Levels B2-C2) with different tests on basic skills: listening, reading, meta-linguistic competence, written production and oral production.


All foreign citizens and Italian citizens residing abroad can register for the CELI exams. It is not necessary to have particular qualifications, nor to have passed a lower level CELI exam. The tests are not based on teaching texts or particular language courses.

The CELI is for those who study Italian, for those who work and study in contact with the Italian reality, for those who want to measure their competence in Italian. Each level of the CELI attests to a communicative capacity that can be used in different situations and contexts.

The certification level not lower than B1 is required by the new Italian city law.

With the CELI certification (starting from level B2) it is possible to enroll at an Italian university without having to take the normally required Italian exam. The minimum level recommended is level B2. Foreign students in possession of the C1 or C2 level certification can obtain additional credits for their curriculum. Many Italian companies operating abroad or wishing to hire foreign staff, or foreign companies that have business relationships with Italy, require their employees to receive a CELI certification based on the work environment in which they will be employed. The C2 level corresponds to the level of knowledge that a foreigner must have reached in order to teach Italian.


All tests are produced and evaluated at the Certification Center of the University for Foreigners of Perugia. The structure and description of each level can be found here. If the candidate reaches the minimum score only in some parts, the result obtained can be capitalized: in a subsequent exam the candidate can take the tests related to the parts needed to complete the test. The capitalized abilities are valid for one year from the first exam taken.


To prepare and self-evaluate for the exam, candidates can find samples of previous exams here.

For further information regarding the CELI exam please contact:

Dott.ssa Franca Cavallaro