With 329 million native speakers of Spanish, the language ranks as the second most spoken language in the world after English, in terms of a first language.

It is also widely spoken as a second language, with more than 3 million speakers in 44 countries worldwide.

For non-native Spanish speakers, a DELE certificate is the best way to formally identify the ability to speak fluent Spanish.

What is the DELE certificate?

The DELE (Diploma Español como Lengua Extranjera) certificate is the officially recognised qualification for proficiency and fluency in Spanish. It is issued and recognised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain.

The purpose of the diploma is to formally demonstrate the ability to communicate in Spanish. The DELE is internationally recognised, and is accepted worldwide as evidence of fluency and command of Spanish.

Anybody who is the citizen of a country where Spanish is not the official language can take the DELE.

In addition, citizens of countries where Spanish is the official language may also be eligible to take the diploma, so long as they meet two of the following criteria:

  • Spanish is not the mother tongue of either his/her parents
  • Spanish is not the first language that he/she learned
  • Spanish is not the habitual language used for communicating
  • He/she has not studied Spanish in the total or part of his/her primary or secondary education


The diplomas are divided into three levels to suit different levels of Spanish attainment. You can take any level you wish, and there are no requirements to hold a lower level before taking a higher one. The levels available are: Diploma de Español (Nivel Inicial) Mid-Intermediate level; Diploma de Español (Nivel Intermedio) High-intermediate level; and Diploma de Español (Nivel Superior) Superior level.

Diplomas are divided into five parts, and candidates need to pass all five parts during the same test session. These are: Reading comprehension; written paper; listening comprehension; grammar and vocabulary; and an oral exam.


Why you need one

The DELE is a prestigious qualification, proving the ability of the holder to have excellent Spanish communications skills. They are internationally recognised, so they are invaluable for professional documentation across the Spanish speaking world. The diploma is particularly highly regarded in the business and commercial sphere. As such, the DELE is an advantageous addition to any CV, enabling you to develop career prospects in Spanish speaking countries.

The DELE is recognised among private and public bodies, and can also be used to evidence skills in Spanish needed to access educational institutions, including schools and universities. In some cases, the DELE is used to compliment existing testing and evaluation systems.


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The benefits of having one for working or living abroad

DELE diplomas are valid permanently. Once you have attained one, the certificate never expires, regardless of which country you are in – it’s a constant asset, in terms of job hunting and much more, for life.

It is particularly beneficial to those aiming to take up work in Spanish speaking countries, or for those seeking promotion or improved career prospects in those countries.


Students and expats

Should students and expats consider taking a diploma? Absolutely. The DELE is especially valuable for expats looking to boost their income, or take their Spanish to the next step, either for personal advancement or professional gain.

In addition, students can benefit hugely from having a formal Spanish qualification. Language skills are highly sought after in many career fields, and a DELE can open doors to jobs and experiences that others would miss out on.

To find out more about what a DELE diploma entails and what classes to help you pass involve, click here.

Blanca Roters

Marketing, Clic IH

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