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ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements

In 2008, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), introduced language provisions to ensure that all air traffic personnel and pilots are proficient in the English language in both ICAO phraseology and plain English in order to reduce the frequency of communication errors.  Their language proficiency must be formally assessed on a regular basis.


The levels of language proficiency identified by ICAO are as follows:


•   ICAO Level 6: Expert

•   ICAO Level 5: Extended

•   ICAO Level 4: Operational

•   ICAO Level 3: Pre-operational

•   ICAO Level 2: Elementary

•   ICAO Level 1: Pre-elementary


The minimum language level for licensing purposes is ICAO Level 4.  The skills which are tested comprise:


•   pronunciation

•   structure

•   vocabulary

•   fluency

•   comprehension

•   interactions


For further information on ICAO language proficiency requirements, please refer to the following website:




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