The Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (English: Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language), or DELE, are official diplomas issued by the Spanish Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science to participants who have passed a standardised test indicating their European Spanish language proficiency. The diplomas are valid permanently. [1] Every year, more than 60,000 examinations are taken by candidates in more than 800 examination centres from more than 100 countries. [1] In many countries, the DELE Diplomas have been adopted by schools and universities as a complement to their own evaluation systems, such that it is used as an entry requirement for non-native Spanish speakers. [2]

As of 1 July 2015, the Instituto Cervantes, together with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), officially announced that it will be offering what is to be called Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española or SIELE. [3] The new test will treat Spanish as a universal language and will feature characteristics from hispanophone countries aside from Spain.


DELE were created by the Spanish Ministry of Education in 1989. The University of Salamanca, having issued its own certifications in Spanish until 1991, agreed with the Ministry of Education of Spain to undertake the development, production and grading of the examinations leading eventually to the DELE Diplomas.

Since 2002, the Instituto Cervantes has been responsible for the entire examination; it also acts as a Central Examinations Board and issues the Diplomas. [4] The Instituto Cervantes has been delegating the tasks of setting up the examinations, designing test papers and grading to the University of Salamanca since then. [5]