By The Athens News

Milate Ellinika? Nai? Prove it. Immigrants, repatriated Greeks and all learners of Modern Greek abroad can obtain official documentation of their competency level by sitting an examination offered by the Greek Language Centre.

Candidates are examined in four different levels of linguistic proficiency: reading comprehension, writing, verbal comprehension and speaking. The examinations are open to everyone over the age of 12. Those who make the grade are awarded an official certificate of attainment in Greek, which is issued by the education ministry.

In Greece, examinations are held at the Greek Language Centre in Thessaloniki and at the Hellenic American Union (HAU) in downtown Athens.

What are the four levels?

  • Holders of a Level A certificate are capable of communicating orally in daily situations, can understand basic announcements on the radio and television, and have basic reading and writing skills.
  • Holders of a Level B certificate can easily comprehend oral and written instructions, express their ideas both verbally and on paper.
  • Holders of Level C have enough knowledge of the Greek language to articulately express their ideas and views in a formal and informal setting.
  • Holders of Level D possess the language skills required in the professional world.

Where do these certificates come in handy?

These certificates offer learners an expert and objective opinion of the level of their knowledge and comprehension of the Greek language. Until recently, there was no official certification available for immigrants and repatriated Greeks, as well as Greeks abroad and those who spoke the language to some degree. Only those who studied Modern Greek in university possessed widely recognised certification.

This all changed in 1999, when the Centre for Greek Language began to administer these examinations in Europe, and in 2000 in Greece and worldwide.

Today, these certificates are a basic professional and academic requirement. For instance, based on a 1999 presidential decree (138/9-7-99) immigrants who do not graduate from a Greek high school are required to hold a Level C certificate in order to attend a Greek university and other public institutions of higher learning.

The Level D certificate allows non-Greek EU citizens to apply for employment in the Greek public sector. Employers in the private sector also require a level of proficiency in the language, and the certificates serve as official proof of linguistic proficiency.

Level A and B certificates are also recommended as preparation for the tests at higher levels.

Are candidates required to pass all levels?

No. A candidate who is fluent in Greek may take the examination for Level C or D without holding the junior levels (A and B). They also do not have to prove that they have taken Greek language lessons.

When is registration?

The examinations in Greece and abroad are held mid-May each year. Registration begins in February. For more information in Greece contact the Greek Language Centre in Thessaloniki or Greek embassies abroad.

How much does it cost?

Prices are subject to change annually. For 2005, level A and B exams cost 65 euros and Levels C and D are at 75 euros.

For more information contact the Greek Language Centre in Thessaloniki located at 17 Karamouna St. Skra Square. tel 2310 459101. Send an email to or visit the website

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