All You Need to Know about the FIDE Test

What is FIDE?

The FIDE test, which stands for “French, Italian, Deutsch in Switzerland”, is a crucial evaluation for non-Swiss residents aiming to obtain Swiss nationality or renew their residence permits. Introduced on January 1st, 2019, it serves as a standardised proof of language proficiency recognised by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). This examination assesses language skills in French, German and Italian, i.e. Switzerland’s official languages.

How FIDE test is built?

The FIDE test evaluates language proficiency across levels A1 to B1, covering various everyday situations encountered in Switzerland, such as work environments, medical appointments, or interactions with local authorities. The examination consists of two main components: an oral assessment (speaking and comprehension) and a written assessment (reading and writing).

Candidates can opt to take either one or both parts of the test, depending on their needs and objectives. For the oral component, candidates engage in a conversation with an examiner, discussing a range of topics to demonstrate their ability to comprehend and express themselves in the target language. The speaking segment typically lasts around 20 minutes, focusing on assessing verbal communication skills. The listening comprehension last as well around 20 minutes, candidates listen to spoken passages, and provide the right responses.

The written component evaluates reading comprehension, as well as writing skills in the target language. Candidates read written texts and respond to questions or prompts based on their understanding, and a short writing exercise. This section typically comprises a 15-minute introduction followed by a 60-minute test.

How to register to FIDE test?

Registration for the FIDE test is straightforward. Candidates can directly contact accredited examination institutions to schedule their tests, ensuring registration at least 15 days before the examination date. The cost of the entire test is CHF 250, while the individual parts (oral or written) cost at CHF 170 and CHF 120, respectively.

Upon completion of the test, candidates receive their results and a Language Passport by post approximately four weeks after the examination. The Language Passport serves as official documentation of language proficiency and is essential for nationality applications or residence permit renewals.

Preparation for the FIDE test is crucial for success. Candidates can access model tests and mock exams in both oral and written formats to familiarise themselves with the test structure and content. Lingua Learn courses cover FIDE requirements and help candidates refine their language skills and perform well in the exam.

Language levels required by law

Residence (B permit, outside EU-EFTA): A1 ORAL

Settlement (Ordinary C permit): A2 ORAL / A1 WRITTEN

Establishment (Advance C permit): B1 ORAL / A1 WRITTEN

Naturalisation: B1 ORAL / A2 WRITTEN

 

In conclusion, the FIDE test is a vital requirement for non-Swiss residents seeking Swiss nationality or renewing their residence permits. By assessing language proficiency in French, German and Italian, it ensures individuals can effectively communicate and integrate into Swiss society, contributing to their successful integration into the country’s cultural and social fabric.

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