German exams
Spouse immigration

 Photo: Goethe-Institut/Astrid Dill

Information about German language ability related to spouse immigration

If the husband or wife are living outside Germany and Want to join their spouse in Germany, they must first demonstrate a basic proficiency of the German language prior to their departure. This is a requirement for the issue of a residency permit, which they will need to enter Germany.

The Goethe-Institut examination is accepted as proof of these basic German language skills. You can find answers to some of the frequently asked questions concerning this examination, the reunion of a spouse, and even a sample exam.

Frequently asked questions

The Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 is accepted by German embassys and consulates and the immigration department: For example, Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 is for very basic language skills. It is the easiest examination offered by the Goethe-Institut. All higher level certificates from Goethe-Institut are also recognized.

I can understand and respond to short, simple questions, instructions and messages when the discussion partner speaks clearly and slowly. I can introduce myself and others, as well as ask others about themselves, for example, where they live.

I understand short, written texts, for example, warning and information signs or classified advertisements. I can refer to and understand figures, quantities, times and prices. I can enter personal data such as my name, address and age on simple forms. I can write brief personal messages.

This indicates a language ability at level A1. This is the first level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR divides the degree of language ability across Europe into six uniform levels. In comparison to the Start Deutsch 1 exam, the test Fit in Deutsch 1 is designed for younger students and is not suitable for adults.

All Goethe-Institut examinations can also be taken by external candidates if they have reached the corresponding language level. It is nevertheless recommended that one take a preparatory course. On-site and correspondence learning courses are offered as well as a combination of both.

You should seek information about possible exceptions or procedures that may apply to your individual case at the German embassy or nearest to you.
German agencies abroad

The exam can be taken at any Goethe-Institut or through any one of our examination partners in Germany or another country. If you want to take the exam in Germany but do not live in Germany, you will need to have a valid travel visa for Germany.

Course and exam schedules as well as fees differ by location. Therefore, we ask you to check directly with the Goethe-Institut or examination partner of your choice concerning schedules, fees, and registration procedures.

Many Goethe-Institut offices have set up a German bank account to which you can transfer any course or exam fees due. Check with the Goethe-Institut of your choice regarding the available payment options.

The Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 requires approx. 160 teaching units (each 45 minutes) on average. Based on the level of your previous knowledge and individual learning style, the preparation time may be shorter or longer.

No. Where and how you learn your German is completely up to you.
You can register for the Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 without having attended a Goethe-Institut course. It makes no difference if you took another language school course, private lessons, or learned through self-study.

The Goethe-Institut courses are designed to teach the language skills important for the exam. It is our goal to make taking an exam as easy as possible for you.

We recommend the Miteinander media package for self study. It is available in English, Turkish, Arabic, Russian and Thai and can be ordered from Hueber Verlag.
Webshop Hueber Verlag

You can attend courses at another language service provider, study with a private teacher or concentrate on home-study in preparation for the Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1. In addition, Goethe- Institut offers distant learning courses.

On the day of the exam date simply travel to a Goethe-Institut or to one of our examination partners. In some countries, we not only administer the Start Deutsch 1 exam at the Institut, but also at additional sites. Check with the Goethe-Institut in your country for information about the testing sites and the various language course providers.

In countries that do not have a Goethe-Institut or examination partner, the German embassy or consulates can give you information about how to obtain the certificate.
German agencies abroad

The examination for the Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 has two parts: A written part that lasts 65 minutes and an oral part that lasts 15 minute.

In the written section, you will listen to short, everyday conversations, phone messages or public loud speaker announcements and complete related practical exercises. You will also read texts such as brief notes, classified ads, information signs or notice boards and answer related exercises. You will fill in simple forms and write a short personal text about an everyday situation.

Generally, the oral part is administered to the whole group. You introduce yourself to the group. A question-and-answer session will follow, where you will discuss everyday topics with someone in the group.

We provide free online exercises. The exercises for listening comprehension can be listened to directly on your computer or downloaded.

In addition, you can order exercise sets for the exam (consisting of candidate and examiner sheets as well as audio cassettes or CDs). The exercise sets include sample examination problems and are not repeated in actual examinations.

No. The examination consists of a written and an oral part. Both parts must be completed and passed. This means you must be able to use the Latin alphabet. It is not sufficient for you to command another form of writing such as Arabic or Cyrillic.

No. You must be able to use the Latin alphabet to complete the written examination. It is not sufficient for you to command another form of writing such as Arabic or Cyrillic.

No. The examinations are prepared at the Goethe-Institut Headquarters in Munich and used worldwide, i.e., the same conditions are enforced at all locations. The examination materials are tested under examination conditions before they are disseminated for use.

We grade the exams and prepare the certificates as quickly as possible. Your Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 has to be submitted along with other documents required for the visa application by you to your German embassy or consulate.

What other documents must be submitted in addition to the certificate, and how long it will take to get your visa are questions you must ask at the embassy or consulate.
German agencies abroad

The Goethe-Zertifikats A1 through C2 do not expire. Some German missions abroad, however, expect the certificate to be dated not more than 6 months ago.