DELF-DALF certificates

The DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) were created in 1985 by the French Ministry of Education to meet the expectations of all those who wish to assess their knowledge of French in a practical way, for personal, academic, or professional reasons. 

These are recognised certificates.  

These certificates in French as a foreign language are the only certifications that are internationally recognised by both public and private French institutions and by the organisations granting scholarships and training programmes abroad in the various European countries. 

Today, more than 60,000 certificates are awarded each year worldwide, involving 164 countries and 1,000 examination centres. 

The validity of the DELF and the DALF, which are French state certificates for all intents and purposes, does not expire.  


These are state certificates

The DELF and DALF certificates are awarded by the French Ministry of Education, which guarantees the pedagogical validity of the tests. 

They officially refer to the six levels of language proficiency defined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Italy is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the number of candidates and the introduction of the certifications in schools and universities: the French certificates were launched by the MIUR on the basis of an agreement signed with foreign certification bodies (Presidential Decree No 275 of 8 March 1999 – School Autonomy Policies, CAMPUS ONE programme), with the aim of “raising awareness among a wide public of the importance of obtaining a transparent certificate that can be used beyond the school context, as an internationally recognised certificate of proficiency”.  


These are useful certificates.

In French-speaking universities, the DALF replaces the French level test required for enrolment. 

In the working environment, the certificates are valued by public and private institutions that have French as a working language. 

Since 2006, the Region of Sardinia has introduced the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as a means of assessing the language skills of candidates for the various selections organised by regional institutions. 

The French certifications and the Framework of Reference for Languages 

Correspondence between the European Framework of Reference, language levels and certificates 

The Council of Europe has identified six levels of language proficiency called common reference levels, which correspond to six independent certificates in French.

 Traditional division  

 Reference levels of the European Framework  

 FRENCH Certifications 
A Basic user

A1 (Beginner)


A2 (Elementary)


B Independent user

B1 (intermediate)


B2 (Upper-intermediate)


C Proficient user

C1 (Advanced)


C2 (Master of Proficient)



Language proficiency levels assessed by the French certificates 

DELF A1: basic knowledge

It assesses language proficiency at a basic level: this involves understanding and using familiar everyday expressions aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. 

DELF A2: elementary proficiency

It assesses the language proficiency of an elementary user, who is able to understand frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance. 

DELF B1: intermediate level 

It assesses a level of language proficiency close to that of the independent user, who possesses two basic skills: the ability to carry on an interaction and the ability to skilfully cope with the problems of everyday life. 

DELF B2: independent user 

It focuses on the effectiveness of argumentation and the spontaneity of social discourse. This level of language proficiency is characterised by the introduction of abstract arguments. 

DALF C1: experience and autonomy 

This is the level of academic and professional language: it involves understanding complex and lengthy texts with implicit meaning, fluent communication, and the ability to produce clear, well-structured, and articulate texts on complex subjects. 

DALF C2: mastery 

It is defined by the European Framework as the degree of accuracy and adequacy found in the proficient user.  


Types of tests

Each exam assesses the 4 language skills defined in the Common Framework of Reference for Languages: COMPREHENSION (oral and written) and PRODUCTION (oral and written). 

Would you like to learn more about the Common Framework of Reference for Languages?

For further information on the proficiency levels click here


The French certifications in Italy  

The French certifications and the French Embassy in Italy

In Italy the Pilot Centre for the certificationsis integrated into the Bureau de Coopération Linguistique et Artistique (BCLA) of the French Embassy in Italy.

The Pilot Centre:

  • Centralises and disseminates information relating to the certifications.  
  • Communicates with the various examination centres in Italy and with the DELF/DALF National Commission, which is based at the C.I.E.P. (Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques, Ministère de l’Education Nationale).

The Pilot Centre is the link between the C.I.E.P. and the 41 examination centres in Italy, which are authorised to organise the sessions (French cultural centres or institutes, Alliances françaises, universities), the DELF-DALF centre in Cagliari, which is responsible for the whole of southern Sardinia, and the Alliance Française in Cagliari.

The DELF-DALF Centre in Cagliari, which has been operating since January 2005, organises the various sessions proposed in the annual national calendar, for adult candidates and schools that request them.

In September 2007, the University Language Centre included the DELF-DALF external certification in French in its educational programme, offering it to students of the University of Cagliari.  



Preparing your registration

You can register directly for the exam that corresponds to your language level, with no need to take a placement test. Please contact the University Language Centre to check if there is any specific preparation course for your chosen exam level (please note: registration for the exam is not dependent on the preparation course).  

For a more detailed overview of the contents of the exam, please contact the University Language Centre. You can also find a sample test on the CIEP website and obtain the appropriate teaching materials for preparing for the exam from the vast literature available (see attached file Bibliographie DELF).

Formalising your registration

Please fill in the registration form and formalise your registration by contacting the Alliance Française in Cagliari no later than the date indicated on the national calendar as the deadline for registration.

Upon registration, you will be given a personal registration number, which must be carefully preserved (it enables you to be entered in the database of the Ministère de l'Education Nationale and to register at another examination centre, in Italy or abroad). 




The DELF Prim corresponds to the first two steps on the DELF exam scale (A1 and A2). It is a means of rewarding children in their language learning.  

It is aimed at all children from 8 to 11 years old.  


Taking the exam

You will be personally notified of the scheduled dates of both the written and oral tests. Please check in with a valid identification document (with your photo). No documents are accepted during the tests. 


Notification of the results and issuance of the certificate

The Examination Centre will notify you of the results by email. If you have passed the exam, you will receive a provisional certificate issued by the Examination Centre confirming your successful completion of the exam. 

You will then be invited to collect your certificate, which is issued by the French Ministry of Education (it takes approximately 4 months for the certificate to be issued).  


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