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adult education centre (die Volkshochschule, die Volkshochschulen)
adults and young people aged 16+ can do courses at an adult education centre. The courses don't cost much. You can learn languages - including German - photography, jewellery making, dancing, painting and much more. There are also professionally-orientated courses, such as computer-based work. Adults can also do a school-leaving qualification there. Courses are usually on a weekday evening or at the weekend.

advice (die Beratung)
At an advice session you can seek help on many subjects from experts. More info: Getting Help.

after-school childcare centre (der Hort)
Children can stay here after school if the parents are working. Sometimes they can go there before school too. The children are given lunch in an after-school childcare centre, as well as help with their homework. The children can usually stay there until 4 or 5 pm.

all-day school (die Ganztagsschule, die Ganztagsschulen)
Children can stay all day at this school, usually until 4 or 5 pm. They are given lunch and helped with their homework. And students can take special courses, for instance to learn a musical instrument, do sports or drama. State-run all-day schools do not cost anything, but you have to pay school fees at private all-day schools.

antenatal counselling (die Schwangerschaftsberatung, die Schwangerschaftsberatungen)
This is a centre where you can seek advice on all matters relating to pregnancy. There are centres like this in many towns. Your obstetrician can often tell you where to find one, or can advise you.

application (die Bewerbung, die Bewerbungen)
Do you want to apply for a job in a company? Then you have to write a job application: normally this consists of the covering letter, a Curriculum Vitae with a photo, and your certificates. The second part of a job application is the interview: an invitation to meet the employer if the written application was good. Further information is available from the employment agency.

application documents (die Bewerbungsunterlagen)
These comprise: the covering letter, in other words a letter to the company. It says why you want the job and why you are suitable for the job. These documents also include a photo, your CV (a spreadsheet showing your qualifications) and your certificates.

association (der Verein, die Vereine)
People with common interests and goals come together in associations and clubs. For instance you can play football with others in a football club, or make music together in a music society.

the asylum, the asylums (das Asyl, die Asyle)
Asylum is the temporary taking in and protection of persecuted persons.

the asylum applicant, the asylum applicants (der Asylbewerber, die Asylbewerber)
An asylum applicant is somebody who has lodged an asylum application.

the asylum application, the asylum applications (der Asylantrag, die Asylanträge)
Should a person wish to obtain protection in Germany as a foreigner, it is necessary to submit an asylum application. It is only possible to make such an application from within Germany. The asylum application must be made personally to an office of the German Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - BAMF). Some questions will be asked, amongst others concerning the travel route. However, the reasons for refugee status will not be discussed yet at this time. This will take place in a hearing. Following the hearing, the BAMF will check the application and then take a decision if the refugee will be recognised or not. In exceptional cases, the asylum application can also be made in writing.

the asylum notice, the asylum notices (der Asylbescheid, die Asylbescheide)
The decision concerning the asylum application is stated in the asylum notice. Therefore, the residency status is clarified in the asylum notice. The decision is printed in the native language of the applicant, the explanation in German.

the asylum procedure, the asylum procedures (das Asylverfahren, die Asylverfahren)
The asylum application is checked in the asylum procedure. This means that an evaluation is undertaken as to whether the requirements for a residency status are present and whether the applicant can, if applicable, return to the country of origin.

authentication, to authenticate (die Beglaubigung, beglaubigen)
An official body checks documents and stamps them to prove that they are genuine.


basic charges (die Grundgebühr, die Grundgebühren)
These are fees which have to be paid every month.

benefits (die Sozialleistung, die Sozialleistungen)
Persons who need financial support can apply for benefits from the social security office under certain circumstances. With this support, they can live in reasonable accommodation. Their health insurance is covered and they can search for employment.

bilingual school (die zweisprachige Schule, die zweisprachigen Schulen)
Lessons are in 2 languages, usually German and one other language.

birth certificate (die Geburtsurkunde, die Geburtsurkunden)
A document with information about the birth of a child: the child's name, sex (boy or girl), the date and place of birth, the names of the parents. The birth certificate is issued by the register office.

boss (der/die Vorgesetzte, die Vorgesetzten)
Your boss is your direct superior. the boss is responsible for you and your work during working hours. He says what work is to be allocated to you and how you should do it. Usually your boss has his own boss too.

branch (die Filiale, die Filialen)
These are the offices of large high street banks and savings banks in many towns and cities. Most banks have a head office and many branches.

brochure (die Broschüre, die Broschüren)
Printed information that is available for you to take away

business licence (der Gewerbeschein, die Gewerbescheine)
Do you want to set up your own company? Or open a shop, restaurant or cafe? Then you need a business licence. You can get this from the trade licensing office. You need the following documents: your passport, your residence permit and sometimes a police clearance certificate. A business licence costs between 20 and 60 €.

business school (die Berufsschule, die Berufsschulen)
Business school is an aspect of vocational training. Here you learn specialist content relevant to your profession, but also material from other areas. You have 8 to 12 lessons per week. You spend the rest of the time working in the company. Or you have block tuition: you spend a few weeks at the business school, then you spend another few weeks working in the company. For some professions you spend a year at the business school first and then you look for a vocational training placement in a company. Business school does not cost anything. You only have to pay for materials, as you do in a normal school.


careers advice centre (das Berufsinformationszentrum; BIZ)
The staff here advise you about all aspects of careers. See:

cash (das Bargeld)
Notes and coins are cash. You can pay anywhere in cash.

certificate (das Zeugnis, die Zeugnisse)
Certificates are included in your application documents when you are looking for a job. You can have certificates that provide work references. They give details of your last job. And there are school and university certificates: official documents issued by your school or university. If you have certificates from your home country, you need to have them translated and authenticated.

certificate of eligibility for the integration course (die Teilnahmeberechtigung für den Integrationskurs)
This is a document that you need to register on the integration course. You normally get it from the immigrants' office in the town where you live. EU citizens can do the integration course too, but they need to apply to the BAMF.

childcare (die Kinderbetreuung, die Kinderbetreuungen)
You’ve found a job and now you need someone to look after your child. There are various options: generally, the under-6s go to a children's daycare centre or kindergarten. For younger children (under-3s), there are crèches available. Or you can make private arrangements with a childminder. You take your child to the childminder in the morning and pick him/her up in the afternoon or evening.

childminder (die Tagesmutter, die Tagesmütter)
Childminders look after children in their own home. There are also male childminders. Several children are often cared for by a childminder. Childminders have to be specially trained and you have to pay them.

children's daycare centre (die Kindertagesstätte (Kita), die Kindertagesstätten (Kitas))
This is like a kindergarten: children can stay here all day, normally until 4 or 5 pm.

the circle of helpers, the circles of helpers (der Helferkreis, die Helferkreise)
Circles of helpers are specifically for refugees. They work especially for refugees and do their best to help. Circles of helper also often organise free time activities for refugees. The helpers do this voluntarily. Therefore, they are not paid for their work. They can be contacted in case of many queries.

cold rent (die Kaltmiete, die Kaltmieten)
This is the rent excluding utilities. The utility charges include water rates, cleaning of communal stairs and collection of waste. Heating and power can also be included in these charges, but it varies. Ask the landlord what is included in the utility charges, and what you have to pay for yourself. The “cold rent” plus the utility charges together are known as “warm rent”. You pay the full warm rent into your landlord's account every month.

commission (die Provision, die Provisionen)
Are you renting or buying an apartment through an estate agent/realtor? If so, you will have to pay the agent for these services. This fee is known as the commission.

comprehensive school (die Gesamtschule, die Gesamtschulen)
This is a Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium combined into one school. The children take courses of varying difficulty. If a child is not good at mathematics, then he or she attends a lower ability course. If a child is good at English, then he or she takes a difficult course. In a Gesamtschule it is relatively easy to switch from one school to another. But they are not available everywhere.

connection charge (die Anschlussgebühr, die Anschlussgebühren)
This is a one-off charge, payable at the start of the contract. Once you’ve paid this, you can start making calls.

constitution (die Verfassung, die Verfassungen)
A constitution is a document. It contains the key rules and regulations for a state: how is the state organised? What rights and responsibilities do people in the state have? ... The German constitution is called the Grundgesetz.

consumer advice centre (die Verbraucherzentrale, die Verbraucherzentralen)
This is an information point for consumers. A consumer is someone who buys something. The consumer advice centre provides information about various products and assists with legal problems (for example, if you’ve bought an item which turns out to be faulty and the shop refuses to take it back. In this case, the consumer advice centre can help.)

the contact person, the contact persons (der Ansprechpartner/die Ansprechpartnerin, die Ansprechpartner)
In case of queries and problems, a person has access to a contact person. The contact person provides assistance in case of various queries or problems. Usually, a person is allocated a certain point of contact.

contract of sale (der Kaufvertrag, die Kaufverträge)
If you buy an expensive item, such as a car, you and the dealer sign a document known as the contract of sale. It is a record of information relating to your purchase, such as the price, date of purchase, etc.

the country of origin, the countries of origin (das Herkunftsland, die Herkunftsländer)
This is the country from where somebody originally comes. The passport states from which country somebody comes, ie in which country they were born and which citizenship they possess.

course provider (der Kursträger, die Kursträger)
These are language schools that offer integration courses. You can get information from the language school or on the internet. Find one close to you on the BAMF's Integration course venues-website.

the course of study, the courses of study (der Studiengang, die Studiengänge)
If a person wishes to study at a university, it is necessary to make a decision concerning the precise course. There are many differing options. Usually, it is necessary to choose one or two courses of study. For example, a person with a talent for foreign languages can take a languages degree. A person who is good at maths can take a degree in mathematics.

crèche (die Kinderkrippe, die Kinderkrippen)
An establishment for infants aged from a few months to 3 years.

credit card (die Kreditkarte, die Kreditkarten)
You can pay without cash with this card. Not all shops take credit cards. When you shop online you can almost always pay by credit card, and the same applies to train travel and airlines.

current account (das Girokonto, die Girokonten)
This is an important bank account for day-to-day use. For instance your salary, pension and child benefit are paid into this account. And you can pay most bills from this account.

curriculum vitae, CV (der Lebenslauf, die Lebensläufe)
The CV is included in your application documents when you are looking for a job. The CV includes for instance your name, profession, qualification and any work experience or special skills (computer? foreign languages? ...). Download an example for a German CV (pdf-file).


the decision maker, the decision makers (der Entscheider, die Entscheider)
A decision maker is an employee of the BAMF who is trained in asylum law and the law relating to foreigners. He or she checks whether the asylum applicant fulfils the specific requirements for recognition as a person entitled to asylum.
There is the option to request a certain decision maker if the situation concerns gender specific persecution, unaccompanied minors or traumas. Women can then apply to be interviewed by a female person for example.

the departure, the departures (die Ausreise, die Ausreise)
Departure means that a person leaves the country in which he or she is present. Sometimes, the departure is forced. This means that a person does not voluntarily leave the country. An example of forced departure is deportation.

the deportation, the deportations (die Abschiebung, die Abschiebungen)
Should a negative decision be taken concerning an asylum application, a person is obliged to leave Germany by the deadline stated in the rejection notice. Should a person fail to comply with this obligation, he or she can be forcibly deported. This means that he or she will be picked up by the police and returned to the country of origin or over the border into another country. The consequence of a deportation is that he or she will be prevented from entering Germany for up to five years.

deposit (die Kaution)
The tenant pays the deposit to the landlord when he/she moves into new accommodation. The landlord can use the money in an emergency, for instance if the tenant does not pay the rent. The landlord normally pays the money back to the tenant when he/she moves out. The deposit is equivalent to a maximum of 3 months cold rent.

direct debit (der Bankeinzug, die Bankeinzüge)
If you buy something on direct debit, the seller can deduct the money from your account. That means you authorise him to take the money from your account. There are no charges for this if your account is held at a bank in Germany. You can pay by direct debit if you order goods over the internet, but you can also pay for insurance policies and make monthly payments (electricity/gas, telephone/internet). This is when you allow the insurance or utility company to deduct the money from your account every month.

driver's licence (der Führerschein, die Führerscheine)
If you drive a car, HGV or motorcycle, then you need a driver's licence. This document states that you are allowed to drive a car, HGV or motorcycle.

dual system (das duale System)
In Germany they operate the dual system for vocational training. In other words vocational training consists of two parts: practice and theory. You learn the practical part through hands-on experience in a company. You work there as a trainee and are paid a small salary/wages. You go to business school to do the theory.

the Dublin Procedure (das Dublin-Verfahren)
By means of the so-called Dublin Procedure, it is ascertained as to which country is responsible for the checking of the asylum application. Here, the travel route is of particular significance. The question as to whether fingerprints have already been provided in another country or even whether an asylum application has been filed is important. In such a case, in accordance with Dublin III, this country is namely responsible and the asylum application will only be checked there. This means that the asylum applicant must return to the competent country. All EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland belong to the Dublin system.


EC card (die EC-Karte, die EC-Karten)
You are given an EC card if you have an account at a high street bank / savings bank. EC stands for “electronic cash”. So you can pay electronically with the EC card, for example in many supermarkets, department stores and specialist shops. Smaller shops (bakeries, butchers, mobile salesmen) only take cash. You can also use the EC card to get money from the ATM.

electronic income tax card (die elektronische Lohnsteuerkarte, die elektronischen Lohnsteuerkarten)
When you start a job, you have to give the employer your tax number. You can get that from the finance office. It is also known as an electronic income tax card. Your employer uses this to calculate your tax. He deducts the amount from your wages/salary and pays it to the finance office. Income tax cards used to be a real card made of paper, but now everything is done electronically on the computer.

embassy (die Botschaft, die Botschaften)
An embassy is like a consulate. It is a country's representation in another country. You can find out more about the German Embassy from

emergency services (der Notdienst, die Notdienste)
Doctors and pharmacists who work on Saturdays/Sundays and at night. If you need urgent assistance, these doctors and pharmacists are there for you.

employee (der Arbeitnehmer, die Arbeitnehmer)
Do you work for a company and are you an employee of that company? Then you are an employee.

employee representative body (die Arbeitnehmervertretung, die Arbeitnehmervertretungen)
The employee representative body represents the interests of employees of a company. If you are having problems with your employer, then you can seek help from the employee representative body. It mediates between employees and employers. There is the works council or the staff council. For instance any company of a significant size has a works council. There are also trade unions, which exist independently of the company.

employer (der Arbeitgeber, die Arbeitgeber)
This could be a company, for example. It is the employer of the people who work there. The state is also an employer, for instance of teachers or childcare providers. Do you have your own company and work there? Then you do not have an employer.

employment agency (die Arbeitsagentur, die Arbeitsagenturen)
Here they help you to find the right job. You can find job adverts for all kinds of work here. Sometimes you can get financial assistance, for instance for the cost of job application paperwork. Every town has an employment agency. You can find your employment agency here:

employment contract (der Arbeitsvertrag, de Arbeitsverträge)
If you are in permanent employment you will be given an employment contract. It contains all the rules applying to your job. For instance: what responsibilities does your job encompass? How much are you paid? How many hours a week do you have to work? How much holiday do you get? You and your employer sign the contract.

the escape route, the escape routes (der Fluchtweg, die Fluchtwege)
This is the route which the refugee took in order to reach Germany. The escape route plays an important role above all when considering which country is responsible for the asylum application (see Dublin Procedure).

estate agent/realtor (der Immobilienmakler/Makler, die Immobilienmakler/Makler)
Do you need help finding an apartment? An estate agent (also known as a realtor) can help you – for a fee.

ethics education (der Ethikunterricht)
In most federal states students can choose between religious education and ethics education. In Berlin, all school students have to attend ethics lessons. You do not need to belong to a specific religion to do this: you learn about the different religions and about philosophy.

European Economic Area (der Europäische Wirtschaftsraum)
This is all the countries of the European Union (EU) as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

European Union (die EU, die Europäische Union)
The EU is an economic and political union between European countries. At the moment 27 states belong to it. These states have common principles such as freedom, equality, democracy. And they have a common market for their goods and workforce. Nationals of one EU state can live and work in any other country within the EU. 17 of these countries also have a common currency, the Euro (€).

exchange or return (der Umtausch)
Have you bought something and would like to return it? In many shops, you can return the item for a refund. That means you get your money back. Sometimes, you don’t get your money back, but you can choose something else from the shop. That’s known as an exchange. Often, you can’t return items on special offer.


family register (das Familienstammbuch, die Familienstammbücher)
You are given a family register when you get married. It contains information about the family, for instance: who are your parents? Where do you come from? What is your maiden name? Who are your partner's parents? Where does your partner come from? Do you have children? ...

federal state (das Bundesland, die Bundesländer)
16 federal states (Bundesländer) form the Federal Republic of Germany. A federal state is normally a fairly large area, such as Bavaria, Hesse or North Rhine Westphalia. But some cities also constitute a federal state in their own right, for instance Berlin or Hamburg. Each federal state has its own government (Landesregierung) with a parliament (Landtag). A state government can decide certain things independently, such as education and culture-related issues. But the most important decisions are made by the federal government, in other words the government of the whole of Germany.

final examination (die Abschlussprüfung, die Abschlussprüfungen )
An exam or test at the end of a course of study or vocational training. At the end of the integration course you take the “German Language Test for Immigrants” (DTZ). Students on the integration course have to take this final examination. More info: BAMF.

final school certificate from Hauptschule (der Hauptschulabschluss)
When you finish at a Hauptschule, you do the final school certificate from Hauptschule. That is in the 9th grade (15-16 years old). Some federal states also have the qualifying final school certificate (Quali), an exam at the end of 9th grade. It is not compulsory to have the Quali, but it helps you to find a vocational training place in a company.

fine (das Bußgeld, die Bußgelder)
Supposing you walk across a red light? Or ride your bike on the footpath? Or drink alcvohol and drive your car? If the police catch you, you will have to pay a fine. Sometimes it's only 5 or 10 Euro. But sometimes it's a lot more. Sometimes you will even lose your driving licence. That means you aren't allowed to drive a car for a specified time.

flat rate (die Flatrate, die Flatrates)
This is the price – no matter how long you spend on the phone or Internet.

Foreign Office (das Auswärtige Amt)
Also known as Außenministerium. The German Foreign Office is part of the government. Its responsibility is German foreign and European politics. This means it has contact with other states and international organisations. You can also get information about travelling to Germany from the Foreign Office.


general practitioner (der Allgemeinarzt/die Allgemeinärztin, die Allgemeinärzte)
A doctor for all health problems. If you are ill you go to your GP first. If the GP cannot help you, he writes you a referral to a specialist consultant.

die Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ)
Using the radio and television - even through a computer - costs something. You have to register with the GEZ and pay them.

German Federal Government (der Bundestag)
The Bundestag is the German parliament. Which parties are in parliament? That's decided by the people at the elections.

German Language Examination for University Admission / Language Examination for German as a Foreign Language (die Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang/TestDAF)
If you want to study at degree level at a university or technical college, you normally have to speak German to a high standard and pass one of these exams. You can frequently take the exam while you are still in your native country. More information:, und

German language test for immigrants (der Deutschtest für Zuwanderer; DTZ)
This is the final examination in the integration course. You take the exam at the end of the integration course. This proves that you can speak/write German to level A2 or B1.

the government agency, the government agencies (die Behörde, die Behörden)
A government agency is a state institution which fulfils the duties prescribed by law. Therefore, it administers the state.

guarantee (die Gewährleistung, die Gewährleistungen)
This is the right to return faulty goods to the seller (for instance a department store). You are given a new item or you can have your money back. You can also talk to the seller and negotiate a lower price. It's good if you still have the till receipt but you don't necessarily need it.

gross (brutto)
The gross wage/salary is the total amount. You have to pay your tax and insurance from this. The amount remaining is the net amount.

the group accommodation, the group accommodations (die Gruppenunterkunft, die Gruppenunterkünfte)
The group accommodation (also: joint accommodation) is the place where refugees are accommodated. Refugees initially live in initial reception facilities. However after six months at the latest, they are transferred to a commune. Here, they usually live in joint accommodation and share a room with other people.

guarantee (die Garantie, die Garantien)
Have you bought an appliance (such as a TV) and now it’s broken? In most cases, you have a guarantee, which means that you can take it back to the shop. The shop or the manufacturer is obliged to offer you a new appliance or pay for the repair. A guarantee is only valid for a specified time period (generally one year, but sometimes several years).


the health card, the health cards (die Gesundheitskarte, die Gesundheitskarten)
In some German Federal States, a refugee receives a health card. With this card, it is possible to go directly to the doctor and it is not necessary to apply for a health certificate in advance. However, the health card does not yet exist in all German Federal States. Here, refugees receive the health card once they have left the initial reception facility and live in an allocated community.

the health certificate (der Krankenschein, die Krankenscheine)
Before a refugee can go to the doctor, it is necessary to apply for a health certificate from the social security office. Only then can he or she go to the doctor with the health certificate. The costs of the visit are then covered. With a health card, a health certificate is not necessary, rather a person can go straight to the doctor.

health insurance (die Krankenversicherung, die Krankenversicherungen)
This insurance is compulsory in Germany. Health insurance usually pays costs for the doctor, the hospital and some medication. There are certain medications where you have to pay towards them yourself. If you are on a very low wage, you can be insured through your spouse. Children are automatically insured through their parents.

the hearing, the hearings (die Anhörung, die Anhörungen)
The hearing is the most important part of the asylum procedure. It forms the basis of the decision concerning the asylum application. The applicant must appear personally at the hearing. The hearing is not public. A decision maker of the BAMF will also be present, an interpreter and, if requested, a supporting person. This supporting person can be a lawyer, friend or person from an advice office for example, but not somebody who is in the asylum procedure himself or herself. The supporting person must be registered with the BAMF in advance.
During the hearing, the applicant will explain his or her fate of persecution, ie the reasons why he or she had to flee his or her home country. Thereby it is above all important that the personal situation be explained and not the general situation in the country of origin. Should a person have proof (newspaper articles, photos, other documents), these should certainly be shown.

holiday (der Urlaub)
You have a specified number of days holiday every year. Your wages/salary are still paid during your holiday. You have to speak to your boss to agree when you can take holiday. In germany people usually work 5 days a week. So if you want to take a week's holiday (from Monday to Sunday) you need 5 days holiday.

the home country, the home countries (das Heimatland, die Heimatländer)
This is the country from where somebody originally comes. The passport states from which country somebody comes, ie in which country they were born and which citizenship they possess.

house rules (die Hausordnung, die Hausordnungen)
The house rules regulate the way in which the occupants of a building live together. For instance the rule: one of the occupants must clean the stairs once a week. Another rule might be: children may play on the grass in front of the building, but not in the garage. Not all house rules are the same. The house rules are normally supplied with the tenancy agreement.

housing benefit (das Wohngeld)
Is the rent on an ordinary apartment more than you can afford? If so, you can apply to the housing office for housing benefit. That means that you don’t have to pay all the rent – part of it will be covered by the state.

housing office (das Wohnungsamt, die Wohnungsämter)
Is the rent on an ordinary apartment more than you can afford? If so, the housing office can help, for example by giving you housing benefit or providing you with social housing. The housing office will also answer any other questions you may have about accommodation.


identity document (der Ausweis, die Ausweise)
This document confirms your identity. Examples of identity documents are your personal ID card or passport. But your driving licence is an identity document too.

incapacity to work (die Arbeitsunfähigkeit)
This is when you can't work. For instance if you are sick or after an accident.

the initial reception facility, the initial reception facilities (die Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung, die Erstaufnahmeeinrichtungen)
Each of the 16 Federal States in Germany has one or more initial reception facilities. Here, people who have newly arrived in Germany and wish to lodge an asylum application (except minors and unaccompanied refugees) are provided with accommodation. This accommodation is not voluntary. The initial reception facility is also where initial registration takes place, this means that the personal details are recorded. However this is not yet the asylum application.

instant-access account (das Tagesgeldkonto, die Tagesgeldkonten)
This account is not for everyday use like a current account. If you have any spare money you can save it in an instant-access account. Banks pay a higher interest rate on an instant-access account than on a current account or savings account. You can withdraw money at short notice too.

the institution, the institutions (die Einrichtung, die Einrichtungen)
At the latest after six months, asylum applicants will be assigned to a commune of the German Federal State in which they lived in the initial reception facility. Here, the asylum applicants will live in a house with other asylum applicants. However, sometimes the asylum applicants are issued with an apartment. They remain here until conclusion of the asylum procedure. Namely, the asylum applicants may not yet decide themselves as to where in Germany they wish to live.

insurance (die Versicherung, die Versicherungen)
You pay money for an insurance policy every month or every year for a particular situation. This means that you are insured for this situation. For instance sickness: you pay a monthly premium for your health insurance. Then you are ill and need to see a doctor. In this situation the health insurance company pays for the doctor, not you.

interest (die Zinsen)
Do you have money in your account? Then you will be paid some money by the bank each month. That's called interest. Have you taken out a loan at the bank? Then you have to pay the bank some money every month for that. That's interest as well.

invoice (die Rechnung, die Rechnungen)
Have you bought something and not paid for it straight away? Then you might be invoiced for it, for instance if you shop on the internet. Then you transfer the money directly from your account to the company's account. Usually there are no additional charges for this.

immigration authority (die Ausländerbehörde, die Ausländerbehörden)
Also known as Ausländeramt (immigration office). This is where you go when you first arrive in Germany, but also if your visa is about to expire and you want to apply for an extension. Someone in the town hall will tell you where the immigration office is.

immigration office (das Ausländeramt, die Ausländerämter)
Also known as Ausländerbehörde (immigration authority). This is where you go when you first arrive in Germany, but also if your visa is about to expire and you need to apply for an extension. Someone in the town hall will tell you where the immigration office is.

inventory (das Übergabeprotokoll, die Übergabeprotokolle)
You’ve rented an apartment and are about to move in. But something in the apartment is broken. You and the landlord must note this down in the inventory, which you must both sign.


job-center (das Job-Center)
Here they help you to find the right job. You can find job adverts for all kinds of work here. Sometimes you can get financial assistance, for instance for the cost of job application paperwork. Every town has a job centre; find yours on

job interview (das Vorstellungsgespräch, die Vorstellungsgespräche)
Have you applied for a job? Is the employer interested in your application? Then he would like to get to know you and find out more about you. He invites you to an interview. You can find out general information about job interviews from the employment agency or job centre.


kindergarten (der Kindergarten, die Kindergärten)
Children are together with others in a group. Children aged between 3 and 6 go to kindergarten. The children learn from the older children and from the carers. Most kindergartens also have an outdoor play area. An all-day kindergarten is also known as a “Kita” (children's daycare centre).


language level assessment (der Einstufungstest, die Einstufungstests)
This is a test preceding a course. The school can see how good you are. You do the test before the integration course. The language school tests your German skills. This means that you can start the course at your own level. Sometimes you have to do the test when you register for the integration course.

language support (die Sprachförderung)
Children learn to speak better German through special games, stories and songs. There is often special language support in kindergartens and daycare centres (Kitas) for foreign children.

language test (der Sprachtest, die Sprachtests)
Children often take a test in the kindergarten/daycare centre (Kita). They can assess how well a child has already mastered the language.

legal protection for working mothers (der Mutterschutz)
These are rules to protect pregnant women and mothers with a permanent job. The most important rules are: a woman is not allowed to work for a certain period before and after the birth of her child. In Germany it is 6 weeks before the birth and at least 8 weeks after the birth. During this time the woman continues to receive her wages/salary. From the start of pregnancy until 4 months after the birth, the employer is not allowed to terminate her employment. There are some professions in which women are not allowed to work for the entire duration of the pregnancy. This applies in particular to jobs where you work with chemical substances.

lesson (die Unterrichtsstunde, die Unterrichtsstunden)
A lesson on the integration course lasts 45 minutes.

literacy course (der Alphabetisierungskurs, die Alphabetisierungskurse)
A course for people unable to read or write. There are also special integration courses that include literacy tuition. This integration course is also known as a Literacy course and usually lasts 960 hours.

loan (der Kredit, die Kredite)
Do you want to buy something but you don't have enough money? Then you could take out a loan from a bank, for example. The bank gives you a sum of money for a specified period of time. Then you have to repay the money with interest.


marriage certificate (die Heiratsurkunde, die Heiratsurkunden OR die Eheurkunde, die Eheurkunden)
If you got married, then you will be given a document by the register office That's your marriage certificate. There are two words for it in German: “Heiratsurkunde” and “Eheurkunde”.

marriage counselling (die Eheberatung, die Eheberatungen)
If you have problems in your marriage, you can go to a centre that provides marriage counselling and family advice. They will help you. a counsellor, usually a psychologist, talks to both partners. Everyone works together to find and resolve the problem.

means of payment (das Zahlungsmittel, die Zahlungsmittel)
There are various different means of payment: for instance cash, bank transfer, EC card, credit card and invoice.

medical certificate (das Attest, die Atteste)
Are you sick and unable to work? Then you usually need a medical certificate for your employer. It is a piece of paper given to you by your doctor. It states that you are sick and unable to work. Children sometimes need a medical certificate for school.

the membership contribution, the membership contributions (der Mitgliedsbeitrag, die Mitgliedsbeiträge)
In many associations, it is necessary to pay a membership contribution. This is a monthly or yearly cash amount which must be paid in order to be able to participate in activities of the association.

midwife (die Hebamme, die Hebammen)
A midwife is not a doctor. She is trained in preparing women for giving birth and supporting them during the time afterwards. She helps you with all issues relating to your child and answers your questions.

the migration advice service, the migration advice services (die Migrationsberatung, die Migrationsberatungen)
Persons who are settling into life in a new country can obtain help and information from the migration advice service. In case of problems and queries, a person can contact the migration advice service. They are able to provide assistance in case of new and unknown situations in particular. You can find a migration advice service close to you in “my way to Germany) here:

minijob (der Minijob/450-Euro-Jobs, die Minijobs/450-Euro-Jobs)
A minijob is when you pay no taxes and earn a maximum of 450 Euro. You automatically get health insurance and pension indsurance, but not unemployment cover. Minijobs are available in various fields, such as domestic help, office worker or driver. You can find a minijob through the job centre, in the newspaper and on the internet.

multi-storey car-park (das Parkhaus, die Parkhäuser)
many towns/cities have multi-storey car-parks because there is not enough space to park on-street. There are several floors on which to park your car. There is a charge for parking here. Normally you drive your car into the car-park and pay on leaving. If the car is only parked in the multi-storey for a short time, it doesn't cost much. If you leave it there for a long time, you pay more.


naturalisation (die Einbürgerung, einbürgern)
This means that you acquire the German nationality.

net (netto)
Net is the salary/wages minus tax and insurance.

notice (die Kündigung, die Kündigungen)
If you want to terminate a contract, you will need to give notice. This notice must be in writing.

notice period - accommodation (die Kündigungsfrist, die Kündigungsfristen (Wohnung))
The tenant has to inform the landlord in writing if he intends to move out. This is normally 3 months before he/she wishes to leave. It frequently has to be done at the start of the month. The landlord is also obliged to give a notice period of 3 months or more.

notice period - work (die Kündigungsfrist, die Kündigungsfristen (Arbeit))
If you don't want to work for a company any longer, you will need to hand in your notice. Normally you need to give 3 months notice. If the employer wants to terminate your employment, he also needs to give you 3 months notice. There is also instant dismissal, with no notice period. In that case the employee has to leave immediately, for instance if he/she doesn't want to do the work.


on-call medical services (der Bereitschaftsdienst, die Bereitschaftsdienste)
Do you need a doctor out of hours – in the evening, during the night or at the weekend? If so, you can contact the on-call medical services. The telephone number is the same all over Germany: 116117. In emergencies, don’t use this number but call the ambulance service on 112. It’s the same number all over Germany.


parent consultation (das Elterngespräch, die Elterngespräche)
An appointment with a teacher at school. He will tell you about how your child is performing and behaving in school.

parent representative (die Elternvertretung, die Elternvertretungen)
These are parents who work together with the kindergarten or school. The parent representative is elected by all parents. Parent representatives help students with projects, for instance. Sometimes they also help to renovate classrooms or make a garden at school.

parental leave (die Elternzeit)
Parents in permanent employment can take parental leave: until the child is 3 either the mother or father can stay at home and care for the child. It is also possible for both parents to take parental leave. After the 3 years they can return to that company. They are paid a parental allowance in the first 12 months. It is 67% of the net salary earned previously (the money you receive in your account). But after that no more wages/salary is paid during parental leave.

parents' evening (der Elternabend, die Elternabende)
There are parents' evenings several times a year. You can find out vital information about the school, talk about planned days out and school trips. And you can get to know the other parents.

part-time work (die Teilzeitarbeit)
You have a permanent job, but you don't work 8 hours a day, you work less - maybe 4 hours a day. Women with young children often do that. You can work part-time in many companies.

party (die Partei, die Parteien)
A political party is a group of people with shared aspirations and goals. A party hopes to make or influence decisions on behalf of the state. It is important for a democratic state that there are different political parties.

passport (der Pass, die Pässe)
This document confirms a person's identity. The passport contains personal details (name, age, …) and nationality. You need a passport in your own country, for instance if you go to an authority. And you need a passport to travel to another country. The passport often contains other information, such as details of your visa or residential status.

password (das Passwort, die Passwörter)
This is a secret codeword for registering on a website or on a computer. You usually have to use it when you enter the user name. It protects you personal information.

pension insurance (die Rentenversicherung, die Rentenversicherungen)
In Germany, people normally work up to the age of 67. After that they retire. Until their retirement, people pay a proportion of their salary into a pension insurance scheme every month. Once you retire, you receive a proportion of your former salary every month from your pension fund. Employees automatically have a pension insurance scheme. The employer pays a share of these costs. If you are not an employee, you can take out a private pension policy. Many people have a statutory pension scheme (state-run) as well as a private policy.

the permanent residency permit, the permanent residency permits (die Niederlassungserlaubnis, die Niederlassungserlaubnisse)
If a person has a permanent residency permit, he is she is allowed to live and work in Germany permanently. Normally a permanent residency permit is obtained if a person has held a residency permit for three or five years and does not receive any benefits. It is also necessary that a person speaks German well and does not have any previous convictions.

the person entitled to asylum, the persons entitled to asylum (der Asylberechtigte, die Asylberechtigten)
A person entitled to asylum was recognised by the BAMF in the asylum procedure. As a person entitled to asylum, a residency permit for three years will be issued initially.

personal details (die Personalien)
Personal details are information about a person. This includes first name, surname, name at birth, date of birth, place of birth, family status, occupation, place of residency and country of citizenship.

playgroup (die Spielgruppe, die Spielgruppen)
This is where children get together to play. Their mothers or fathers usually stay with them. Sometimes another adult leads the group and plays with the children.

police clearance certificate (das polizeiliche Führungszeugnis)
this is a document issued by an authority. It states whether you have a police record. Many employers want to see your police clearance certificate.

prescription (das Rezept, die Rezepte)
There are many types of medication that you can buy at the pharmacy without a prescription. For some medication you need a document issued by your doctor. This document is the prescription.

preventative health check (die Vorsorgeuntersuchung, die Vorsorgeuntersuchungen)
These consist of 10 routine checks carried out on infants by a paediatrician. They are free of charge. The first check is shortly after birth, the final one is shortly before the child starts school.

the priority review, the priority reviews (die Vorrangprüfung, die Vorrangprüfungen)
If a person wishes to work with a temporary residency permit or tolerance, certain restrictions and regulations must be borne in mind. For example, a priority review will be carried out by the Foreigners’ Authority. It must be checked as to whether there is an EU citizen who would also be suitable for the post. Only if this is not the case can the post be offered to an asylum applicant. The priority review ceases to apply once a person has been in Germany for 15 months. In case of recognised refugees or persons entitled to subsidiary protection, there is no priority review.

the prohibition of deportation, the prohibitions of deportation (das Abschiebehindernis, die Abschiebehindernisse)
The prohibition of deportation is an important reason why an asylum applicant cannot be sent back to his or her home country. An example of a prohibition of deportation is a serious illness or war in the home country.

the prohibition of work, the work prohibitions (das Arbeitsverbot, die Arbeitsverbote)
A prohibition of work means that a person is not permitted to work for a certain period of time. This is stated in the residency papers (for example the temporary residency permit or tolerance).


the qualification, the qualifications (der Abschluss, die Abschlüsse)
At the end of a course, apprenticeship or school, it is necessary to take an exam. If a person passes the exam, they obtain a qualification. There are various types of qualifications in Germany. A qualification is necessary if a person wishes to work or study. However, not every qualification qualifies a person for every kind of job or every course of study.

the qualification analysis, the qualification analyses (die Qualifikationsanalyse, die Qualifikationsanalysen)
During the qualification analysis, a check is made as to whether a person is suitable for a certain occupation. Normally, this is stated in a transcript or other documents. A person obtains this after obtaining a qualification. If a person does not have a transcript, it is still possible to undertake the qualification analysis. Here, a discussion takes place or a person is observed whilst working.


realtor/estate agent (der Immobilienmakler/Makler, die Immobilienmakler/Makler)
Do you need help finding an apartment? An estate agent (also known as a realtor) can help you – for a fee.

the reception facility, the reception facilities (die Aufnahmeeinrichtung, die Aufnahmeeinrichtungen)
See initial reception facility

The reception facility (also: refugee accommodation) is the place where the refugee is accommodated initially. Reception facilities can vary.

Normally, such accommodation is for more than one person. Here, it is necessary to share a room. Sometimes, an apartment will be provided.

the recognition, the recognitions (die Anerkennung, die Anerkennungen)
In case of a positive decision concerning the asylum application, there are various options in respect of which the BAMF can reach a verdict.
Should the applicant be granted refugee status or should an entitlement to asylum be recognised, he or she will receive a residency permit. This is initially limited to three years. After this, the Federal Office can check the permit again. During the new check, the residency permit will either be withdrawn or a permanent residency permit will be issued. Who is recognised as being entitled to protection as a subsidiary will receive a residency permit which is initially valid for one year. It can then be extended for two years at a time. After seven years, provided that certain requirements are met, a permanent residency permit can be issued.
Should a prohibition of deportation exist, the applicant will be issued with a residency permit. This is valid for at least one year and can be subsequently extended. The issuing of a permanent residency permit is possible under the same requirements which apply to subsidiary protection.

recognition of foreign qualifications (die Anerkennung ausländischer Abschlüsse)
In Germany there are many professions (for instance doctor, teacher) in which you may only work if you have the appropriate qualifications. To achieve this recognition, the vocational training and academic qualifications of immigrants are checked. If the qualification is considered on a par with its German equivalent, then you will be allowed to use this qualification to work in this profession in Germany as well. More information: BAMF or

referral (to a doctor) (die Überweisung, die Überweisungen)
Are you ill and need expert medical advice? Your general practitioner will provide you with a document known as a referral so that you can consult a specialist.

the refugee, the refugees (der Flüchtling, die Flüchtlinge)
A refugee as defined by law is a person who is located outside of his or her country of origin due to justified fears of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political view or membership of a certain social group, whose protection he or she does not wish to make use of. However, colloquially all asylum applicants are called refugees in Germany.

register office (das Standesamt, die Standesämter)
Do you want to get married? Are you having a child? Do you want to get divorced? Then you have to go to the register office in your town.

registering, registration (registrieren, die Registrierung)
A person is initially registered in the initial reception facility. This means that the personal details are recorded. Then the so-called BüMA (certification concerning registration as an asylum applicant) is issued. This is not a residency title, however this should always be kept on one’s person and shown to the police in case of a check, as this proves that a person is not in Germany illegally. No asylum application has yet been lodged by means of this. This does not take place until attendance at the office of the BAMF.

registration card (die Meldebescheinigung, die Meldebescheinigungen)
A document showing your address. You get the registration card from the residents' registration office or the town hall in the town where you live. All you need to get this is your passport. A registration card normally costs 5 €.

the rejection, the rejections (die Ablehnung, die Ablehnungen)
During the asylum procedure, the authorities check whether the asylum applicant may remain or not. Should a negative decision be taken concerning in the course of the asylum procedure, the asylum applicant will receive a rejection. If applicable, he or she must then leave the country. In case of a rejection, it is possible to consult a lawyer or advice office and raise an appeal against the decision.

religious education (der Religionsunterricht)
This is a subject in school. It is usually instruction in the Protestant or Catholic faith. In some federal states there is also religious education in Orthodox Christianity, Judaism or even Buddhism. For Muslims many schools have Islamic instruction in turkish or Arabic. religious education is not compulsory for children. That doesn't mean they have a free lesson though - in many states they have to attend ethics lessons instead, which means they are taught about philosophy.

rent index (der Mietspiegel)
The rent index contains average rents for the housing in a particular town/city.

residence permit (der Aufenthaltstitel, die Aufenthaltstitel)
The residence permit contains information about how long you are allowed to stay in Germany for example, or whether you are allowed to work in Germany. If you have a residence permit you are in Germany legally. This can also take the form of a visa.

residence status (der Aufenthaltsstatus)
The residence status regulates for instance how long you are allowed to stay in Germany or whether you are allowed to work in Germany. If you have residence status you are in Germany legally.

the residency permit, the residency permits (die Aufenthaltserlaubnis, die Aufenthaltserlaubnisse)
With a residency permit, asylum applicants may remain in Germany for a certain period of time. Depending on whether the asylum applicant has been granted protected status, the time related validity of the residency permit will vary. For example, a person will receive a residency permit if they receive recognition as a person entitled to asylum or refugee status. This is then valid for three years. A person entitled to subsidiary protection will receive a residency permit for an initial period of one year. This also applies if a prohibition of deportation has been ascertained. With a residency permit, a person has various rights and obligations.

residents‘ registration office (das Einwohnermeldeamt, die Einwohnermeldeämter)
Moving to a new town? Then you have to register there. To do this you go to the residents‘ registration office. You need a valid passport or an alternative document that confirms your identity.


the safe country of origin, the safe countries of origin (das sichere Herkunftsland, die sicheren Herkunftsländer)
Persons who come from a so-called safe country of origin, are unlikely to be recognised as asylum applicants in Germany. The safe countries of origin currently include the EU States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

salary (das Gehalt, die Gehälter OR der Lohn, die Löhne)
This is the money that is paid to you every month as an employee with a permanent job. You get paid your salary if you are sick or take holiday. The total salary is known as the gross salary. You have to pay taxes and insurance out of that. The rest is your net salary.

savings account (das Sparkonto, die Sparkonten)
This is a longer-term bank account. You cannot use it to transfer money (such as your rent; for that, you use your current account). You are paid more interest on the money in your savings account than on your current account. The funds generally stay in the account for longer than is the case with a current account.

savings bank (die Sparkasse, die Sparkassen)
The Sparkasse is like a bank. But it isn't private, it's part of a community or town.

school fees (das Schulgeld)
You only pay these at private schools. at private schools you often pay a lot of money for lessons.

the schooling obligation (die Schulpflicht)
In Germany, it is obligatory to attend school. This means that children and young people must attend school for at least nine years until a certain age. This is provided for by law.

self-employment die selbständige Arbeit()
You don't have an employer. You are your own boss.

settlements (die Ablöse)
What if you move into accommodation and the previous tenant has left furniture there? You often have to pay for it. This is known as a settlement. Normally it applies to large and heavy items of furniture, such as a cupboard. Or for kitchen furniture, such as a cooker or fridge.

social housing (die Sozialwohnung, die Sozialwohnungen)
This type of housing is cheaper to rent than normal accommodation. You can rent social housing if you have a low income. You need a certificate of eligibility for social housing for this. It is usually available from the municipal authority or housing office.

social insurance (die Sozialversicherung, die Sozialversicherungen)
This incorporates health insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance and care insurance.

the social security office, the social security offices (das Sozialamt, die Sozialämter)
The social security office is an authority. If a person requires financial assistance, the social security office will check whether the person fulfils the requirements in order to receive benefits.

special offer (das Sonderangebot, die Sonderangebote)
Some shops sell their products at special rates for a short time. These products are known as special offers. You usually find the special offers very quickly in shops. They are often right at the entrance.

special school (die Förderschule, die Förderschulen)
Children who are not able to learn well or are slow learners go to a special school.

specialist academies (die Fachoberschule, die Fachoberschulen)
After Realschule you can attend a specialist academy. This school is vocationally orientated. For instance there are academies specialising in engineering or social careers. Students attend the specialist academy for 2 years, in 11th and 12th grade. There are practical and theoretical subjects and a long period of work experience, for instance in a company. At the end of this course you can do a degree at a technical college.

specialist academy (die Berufsoberschule, die Berufsoberschulen)
You can do a higher-level school-leaving qualification here. You can go to a specialist academy after you have done your vocational training.

standing order (der Dauerauftrag, die Daueraufträge)
A standing order is a particular form of bank transfer. You often pay the rent by standing order: you specify the date (for instance the first day of the month) and provide them with the landlord's account number. Then the bank transfers the rent automatically to the landlord's account on the same day every month.

state parliament (der Landtag, die Landtage)
The Federal Republic of Germany is divided up inyo 16 federal states. Each state has its own parliament. The state parliament is called the Landtag.

state parliament election (die Landtagswahl, die Landtagswahlen)
Members of parliament are elected every 4 or 5 years. These are the politicians in the Landtag in a federal state.

state school (die staatliche Schule, die staatlichen Schulen)
In Germany most schools are state-operated. You don't pay for tuition, it is free.

the subsidiary protection (der subsidiäre Schutz)
A persons receives subsidiary protection if a person is not assigned asylum entitlement or refugee status. The prerequisite for subsidiary protection is that there are strong grounds to assume serious danger in the home country. For example, this is the case if the imposition or enforcement of the death penalty, torture or other threats due to the arbitrary exercising of violence, for example due to an internal or civil armed conflict are threatened. Persons entitled to subsidiary protection will receive a residency permit for an initial period of one year.


technical college (die Fachhochschule, die Fachhochschulen)
This is like a university, but is more practically orientated. There are technical colleges that specialise in engineering, social education and artistic professions. To study at a technical college you normally need Abitur or Fachabitur.

technical school-leaving diploma (das Fachabitur)
This is a school-leaving qualification. You do the technical school-leaving diploma at business school or a specialist vocational academy/college (Berufsfachschule, Fachakademie or Berufsoberschule). Or through distance learning at a vocational college. There are two types of Fachabitur: the Fachhochschulreife and the Fachgebundene Hochschulreife. This diploma will qualify you to study at certain universities.

temporary residency permit, temporary residency permits (die Aufenthaltsgestattung, die Aufenthaltsgestattungen)
The temporary residency permit certifies that the applicant is in Germany legally for the duration of the asylum procedure. The temporary residency permit is not a residency title or residency permit. In respect to these, there are restrictions.

tenancy agreement (der Mietvertrag, die Mietverträge)
Are you renting an apartment? If so, you will be given a document known as a tenancy agreement. You and the landlord have to sign the agreement. That makes you the tenant.

ticket check (die Fahrscheinkontrolle, die Fahrscheinkontrollen)
A man or a woman asks for your ticket in the bus, in the tram, in the metro or city railway, or in the train. If you do not have a ticket, you will have to pay a fine.

the tolerance, the tolerances (die Duldung, die Duldungen)
The tolerance is a certificate that states that a refugee has not received a right of residence but cannot currently be deported. A person receives a tolerance if they are required to leave Germany but certain reasons currently prevent this. As an example, this happens if the passport is missing, if a person is ill or if a person is required to return to a war zone. The deportation can then be enforced at a later time, when the reasons for the tolerance no longer exist.

trade licensing office (das Gewerbeamt, die Gewerbeämter)
Do you want to set up your own company? Or open a shop, restaurant or cafe? Then you need a business licence. You can get this from the trade licensing office.

trade union (die Gewerkschaft, die Gewerkschaften)
These are organisations that represent the interests of employees.

transfer (die Überweisung, die Überweisungen)
The bank sends money from one account to another. For instance to pay rent for your accommodation. The money needs to go directly from your account into the landlord's account. You notify the bank, and they will transfer the money to the landlord's account.

the transitional class, the transitional classes (die Übergangsklasse, die Übergangsklassen)
Children of refugees are required to attend school in Germany. If they do not yet speak German, they will start in a transitional class. These are also sometimes referred to as welcome classes. Here they learn German and important matters concerning Germany and German culture. After a certain period of time, they may then join the other pupils in regular classes. By this time, they can speak German better and can follow the classes well.

trial period (die Probezeit)
You normally have a trial period when you start a new job. During the trial period, both you and the employer can terminate the contract with less notice. During this time the employer watches you more closely. He decides whether to keep you on in the company after the trial period. And you decide whether you want to carry on working there. The trial period can be up to 6 months.

tuition fees (die Studiengebühren)
This is the money you pay to attend a university or technical college (FH). There are tuition fees in some federal states, but the amount varies.


unemployment insurance (die Arbeitslosenversicherung, die Arbeitslosenversicherungen)
If an employee loses his job, this insurance pays a proportion of his wages/salary for a year. All employees have unemployment insurance automatically. The costs of the policy are partly carried by the employer.

university access entitlement, university access entitlements (die Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, die Hochschulzugangsberechtigungen)
In order to study at a university in Germany, a university access entitlement is required. A person obtains the university access entitlement on obtaining a certain qualification from a school. With the university access entitlement, it is possible to study at any university in Germany. However, it is not always possible to study every subject. For some subjects, a certain grade is required.

university degree (das Studium)
You need to have a degree for some professions, such as engineer or teacher. You can study at a university or technical college.

user name (der Benutzername, die Benutzernamen)
This is the name you register with when you use a website or a computer.

utility charges (die Nebenkosten)
These charges are added onto the rent price for the accommodation (cold rent). For instance water rates, lighting in communal areas such as stairs and cellar, waste collection, aerial/cable for television. Sometimes heating and power are included, but usually they are paid separately.


vaccination (die Impfung, die Impfungen)
Many diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses. A vaccination is when the doctor gives you the same bacteria/viruses but in a very weak form. The vaccination causes antibodies to develop. The antibodies protect people against the bacteria and viruses. They will no longer be able to catch this disease. Some of the main vaccinations are against tetanus, measles, rubella, mumps, polio and whooping cough.

vehicle registration document (der Fahrzeugschein, die Fahrzeugscheine)
Also known as Zulassungsbescheinigung. This is a document containing all the information about a car. For instance the make (Fiat, VW, …), the registration number, the person who drives the car (vehicle owner). The document also includes all the technical information about the car. You can get the vehicle registration document from the vehicle registration authority. This is where you register your car. You have to carry the vehicle registration document with you at all times. But you shouldn't leave it in the car. If the car is stolen, you need the vehicle registration document for the police.

visa (das Visum, die Visa)
You are allowed to travel to a different country with a visa. You can apply for a visa at that country's embassy.

vocational training (die Ausbildung, die Ausbildungen)
In vocational training, a person acquires knowledge and capabilities in a certain area. It is possible to undertake vocational training at a state school, university or at a company. At the end of the vocational training, it is necessary to sit an exam. Then a person obtains a qualification. An apprenticeship is a special type of training in which a person learns a practical occupation.

vocational training (die Berufsausbildung)
This is when you learn a profession. Vocational training usually consists of two parts: business school and working in a company. Vocational training usually takes between 2 and 3.5 years. That depends on the profession, but also on your school-leaving qualification. If you have Abitur, the training course can often be shorter.


wages (das Gehalt, die Gehälter OR der Lohn, die Löhne)
This is the money that is paid to you every month as an employee with a permanent job. You get paid wages if you are sick or take holiday. The total wage is known as the gross wage. You have to pay taxes and insurance out of that. The rest is your net wage.

work permit (die Arbeitserlaubnis, die Arbeitsgenehmigung, die Arbeitsgenehmigungen)
Do you want to work in Germany but you don't come from a European Union (EU) country? Then you need a work permit. Nationals of the EU states Romania and Bulgaria also need a work permit until the end of 2013, but not after that. More info:

weekly market (der Wochenmarkt, die Wochenmärkte)
Many towns have a market once or twice a week. It is on a central market place or in a large building. Sellers are mostly local. at the market you mainly find fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as milk and cheese, fish and meat. Sometimes you can buy clothes there too.

the welfare organisation, the welfare organisations (der Wohlfahrtsverband, die Wohlfahrtsverbände)
A welfare organisation concerns itself with social justice in Germany. There are welfare organisations in small communities but also in large cities. Many people work here voluntarily. As an example, they offer assistance to refugees. Should a refugee have any queries, he or she can contact a welfare organisation close by. Here, he or she can obtain important information and support in case of problems.

work placement (das Praktikum, die Praktika)
If you are interested in a particular career, you can do a work placement for instance in a company or a clinic. You contribute towards the work, and you can familiarise yourself with the profession in this way. You don't normally earn any money during a work placement. The duration of a work placement varies depending on profession and company.


youth office (das Jugendamt, die Jugendämter)
The youth office helps children and their parents. For instance they can offer psychological advice if there are problems in the family. Sometimes the problems are so big that a child can no longer remain in the family. Then the youth office finds another family to take in the child for a while. Youth offices often have kindergartens/children’s daycare centres. Every town/city has a youth office.