What is the difference between the SIELE and the DELE?

The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) and the International Spanish Language Evaluation Service (SIELE) are two certification systems of Spanish proficiency designed to meet the different needs of different users. Both are internationally recognized and are supported by prestigious institutions that guarantee both high quality standards and best practices.

The DELE certificates are issued by the Instituto Cervantes, in behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports with no expiration date, and consolidated since its beginnings in 1989. Exams are offered for levels A1 through C2 according to the CEFR, and the candidate must choose which level they would like to be tested. Each exam consists of four sections (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking), is done on paper, and within set exam periods. DELE offers exams for school-levels, young people, and adults that speak Spanish as a second or a foreign language. Results are given within a maximum of three months, and successful candidates are given an official electronic certificate as well as a diploma issued via regular post.

The SIELE certifies the Spanish language proficiency for young people and adults who speak Spanish as a second or foreign language, as well as native speakers. Starting in 2016, it is promoted and supported by the Cervantes Institute, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Universidad de Buenos Aires and the University of Salamanca, and ensures a strong presence of multiple Spanish varieties. It offers the possibility of completing a full exam consisting of four segments (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking), or even a partial exam that certifies particular sets of language competencies. All exams and administrative processes are completed electronically in one of the testing centers available by appointment. Results will be given in a maximum of three weeks, and candidates may print certificates or reports using the software provided.






Diploma of Spanish language profieciency according to the CEFR (A1-C2)    

Certificate of proficiency in Spanish on a point-scale equivalent to the A1-C1 CEFR levels


The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.  The Cervantes Institute has managed the  academic, financial and administrative aspects since 2002

Cervantes Institute, National Autonomous University of Mexico, University of Salamanca and Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Starting year





Spain, México and Argentina.

Valid for Indefinitely Five years

International recognition

Internationally recognized in nationally regulated education systems (for example in Brazil, France and Italy), in schools, businesses, universities, etc. In Spain: Spanish citizenship, MIR, FIR, etc   

Internationally recognized in the SICELE higher education institutions

Administrative and marketing management Instituto Cervantes Telefónica Educación Digital: a technology and marketing company selected through a competitive bidding process

Speakers of Spanish as a FL, L2 (school-level, youth, and adult)

Speakers of Spanish as a FL, L2 and Native (youth and adult)
Testing administration On paper, in testing centers, and in other international open testing calls. Electronically in testing centers by appointment. Eventually some tests will be user adaptable (reading and listening)
Network of testing centers Over 900 testing centers in over 100 countries and five continents More than 500 exam centers in all the world.  
Integration of Spanish varieties Yes, especially after the B1 level Yes, this is required in all levels of exam
Compliance with international standards in certification Yes  Yes
Number of exams and levels

Six exams for adults: A1-C2 

Two school-level exams: A1-A2/B1. 

One adult exam which include tasks ranging from A1-C1.

Test sections Reading Comprehension
Listening Comprehension
Written Expression and Oral Expression 
Reading Comprehension
Listening Comprehension
Written Expression and Oral Expression
Information about results

Pass or fail outcomes based on the level at which the candidate is tested

Results of knowledge-levels of the Spanish language based on a scale of 1000 points, equivalent to the CEFR levels

Type of certificate issued

Electronic certification of official qualifications. Official diploma for successful candidates

Results Certificate (full exam) or Report (partial exam), depending on the type of exam taken
 Result notifications Maximum of two months Maximum of three weeks