Colourful books stand in a row on a shelf. © Jamie Grill/Jamie Grill via Getty Images


die Ablöse (settlements)
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.

der Abschluss, die Abschlüsse (the qualification, the qualifications)
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.

die Abschlussprüfung, die Abschlussprüfungen (final examination)
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:

der Allgemeinarzt/die Allgemeinärztin, die Allgemeinärzte (general practitioner)
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.

der Alphabetisierungskurs, die Alphabetisierungskurse (literacy course)
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.

die Anerkennung ausländischer Abschlüsse (recognition of foreign qualifications)
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:

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

der Ansprechpartner/die Ansprechpartnerin, die Ansprechpartner (the contact person, the contact persons)
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.

die Arbeitsagentur, die Arbeitsagenturen (employment agency)
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:

der Arbeitgeber, die Arbeitgeber (employer)
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.

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

die Arbeitnehmervertretung, die Arbeitnehmervertretungen (employee representative body)
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.

die Arbeitserlaubnis (work permit)
Do you want to work in Germany but you don't come from a European Union (EU) country? Then you need a work permit. More info:

die Arbeitsgenehmigung, die Arbeitsgenehmigungen (work permit)
Do you want to work in Germany but you don't come from a European Union (EU) country? Then you need a work permit. More info:

die Arbeitslosenversicherung, die Arbeitslosenversicherungen (unemployment insurance)
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.

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

das Arbeitsverbot, die Arbeitsverbote (the prohibition of work, the work prohibitions)
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).

der Arbeitsvertrag, de Arbeitsverträge (employment contract)
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.

das Attest, die Atteste (medical certificate)
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.

der Aufenthaltstitel, die Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit)
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.

der Aufenthaltsstatus (residence status)
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.

die Ausbildung, die Ausbildungen (vocational training)
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.

das Ausländeramt, die Ausländerämter (immigration office)
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.

die Ausländerbehörde, die Ausländerbehörden (immigration authority)
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.

die Ausreise, die Ausreise (the departure, the departures)
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.

das Auswärtige Amt (Foreign Office)
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.

der Ausweis, die Ausweise (identity document)
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.

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der Bankeinzug (direct debit)
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.

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

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

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

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

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

der Bereitschaftsdienst, die Bereitschaftsdienste, der ärztliche Bereitschaftsdienst (on-call medical services)
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.

die Berufsausbildung (vocational training)
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.

das Berufsinformationszentrum; BIZ (careers advice centre)
The staff here advise you about all aspects of careers. You can find a BIZ near you on the website of the employment agency, at the top right under "Address list":

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

die Berufsschule, die Berufsschulen (business school)
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.

die Bewerbung, die Bewerbungen (application)
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:

die Bewerbungsunterlagen (application documents)
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.

die Botschaft, die Botschaften (embassy)
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

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

brutto (gross)
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.

das Bundesland, die Bundesländer (federal state)
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.

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

das Bußgeld, die Bußgelder (fine)
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.

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der Dauerauftrag, die Daueraufträge (standing order)
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.

die Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang/TestDaF (German Language Examination for University Admission / Language Examination for German as a Foreign Language)
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:


Deutschtest für Zuwanderer; DTZ (German language test for immigrants)
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.

das duale System (dual 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.

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die EC-Karte, die EC-Karten (EC card)
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.

die Eheberatung, die Eheberatungen (marriage counselling)
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.

die Eheurkunde, die Eheurkunden (marriage certificate)
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”.

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

der Einstufungstest, die Einstufungstests (language level assessment)
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.

das Einwohnermeldeamt, die Einwohnermeldeämter (residents‘ registration office)
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.

die elektronische Lohnsteuerkarte, die elektronischen Lohnsteuerkarten (electronic income tax card)
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.

der Elternabend, die Elternabende (parents' evening)
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.

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

die Elternvertretung, die Elternvertretungen (parent representative)
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.

die Elternzeit (parental leave)
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.

der Ethikunterricht (ethics education)
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.

die EU, die Europäische Union (European 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. 19 of these countries also have a common currency, the Euro (€).

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

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das Fachabitur (technical school-leaving diploma)
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.

die Fachhochschule, die Fachhochschulen (technical college)
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.

die Fachoberschule, die Fachoberschulen (specialist academies)
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.

die Fahrscheinkontrolle, die Fahrscheinkontrollen (ticket check)
Ein Mann oder eine Frau fragt Sie nach Ihrem Fahrschein/Ihrem Ticket im Bus, in der Straßenbahn, in der U- oder S-Bahn oder im Zug. Wenn Sie keinen Fahrschein haben, müssen Sie ein Bußgeld bezahlen.

der Fahrzeugschein, die Fahrzeugscheine (vehicle registration document)
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.

das Familienstammbuch, die Familienstammbücher (family register)
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? ...

die Filiale, die Filialen (branch)
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.

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

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

der Führerschein, die Führerscheine (driver's licence)
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.

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die Ganztagsschule, die Ganztagsschulen (all-day school)
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.

die Garantie, die Garantien (guarantee)
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).

die Geburtsurkunde, die Geburtsurkunden (birth certificate)
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.

das Gehalt, die Gehälter (salary)
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.

die Gesamtschule, die Gesamtschulen (comprehensive school)
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.

die Gewährleistung, die Gewährleistungen (guarantee)
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.

das Gewerbeamt, die Gewerbeämter (trade licensing office)
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.

der Gewerbeschein, die Gewerbescheine (business licence)
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 €.

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

das Girokonto, die Girokonten (current account)
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.

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

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der Hauptschulabschluss, die Hauptabschlüsse (final school certificate from Hauptschule)
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.

die Hausordnung, die Hausordnungen (house rules)
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.

die Hebamme, die Hebammen (midwife)
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.
das Heimatland, die Heimatländer (the home country, the home countries)
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.

die Heiratsurkunde, die Heiratsurkunden (marriage certificate)
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”.

das Herkunftsland, die Herkunftsländer (the country of origin, the countries of origin)
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.

die Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, die Hochschulzugangsberechtigungen (university access entitlement, university access entitlements)
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.

der Hort (after-school childcare centre)
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.

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

die Impfung, die Impfungen (vaccination)
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.


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das Job-Center (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

das Jugendamt, die Jugendämter (youth office)
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.

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die Kaltmiete, die Kaltmieten (cold rent)
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.

der Kaufvertrag, die Kaufverträge (contract of sale)
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.

die Kaution (deposit)
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.

die Kinderbetreuung, die Kinderbetreuungen (childcare)
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.

der Kindergarten, die Kindergärten (kindergarten)
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).

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

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

die Krankenversicherung, die Krankenversicherungen (health insurance)
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.

der Kredit, die Kredite (loan)
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.

die Kreditkarte, die Kreditkarten (credit card)
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.

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

die Kündigungsfrist, die Kündigungsfristen (Arbeit) (notice period - work)
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.

die Kündigungsfrist, die Kündigungsfristen (Wohnung) (notice period - accommodation)
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.

der Kursträger, die Kursträger (course provider)
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:

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der Landtag, die Landtage (state parliament)
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.

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

der Lebenslauf, die Lebensläufe (curriculum vitae, CV)
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? ...). You can find an example of a CV at the employment agency:

der Lohn, die Löhne (wages)
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.

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

die Meldebescheinigung, die Meldebescheinigungen (registration card)
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 5-10 €.

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

der Mietvertrag, die Mietverträge (tenancy agreement)
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.

die Migrationsberatung, die Migrationsberatungen (the migration advice service, the migration advice services)
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 on the map here: Important adresses

der Minijob/450-Euro-Jobs, die Minijobs/450-Euro-Jobs (minijob)
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.

der Mitgliedsbeitrag, die Mitgliedsbeiträge (the membership contribution, the membership contributions)
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.

der Mutterschutz (legal protection for working mothers)
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.

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die Nebenkosten (utility charges)
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.

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

die Niederlassungserlaubnis, die Niederlassungserlaubnisse (the permanent residency permit, the permanent residency permits)
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.

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

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das Parkhaus, die Parkhäuser (multi-storey car-park)
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.

die Partei, die Parteien (party)
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.

der Pass, die Pässe (passport)
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.

das Passwort, die Passwörter (password)
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.

die Personalien (personal details)
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.

das polizeiliche Führungszeugnis (police clearance certificate)
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.

das Praktikum, die Praktika (work placement)
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.

die Probezeit (trial period)
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.

die Provision, die Provisionen (commission)
Are you renting or buying an apartment through an estate agent/realtor? When you hire the agent, you have to pay the agent money for his or her work. This is the commission.

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die Qualifikationsanalyse, die Qualifikationsanalysen (the qualification analysis, the qualification analyses)
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.


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die Rechnung, die Rechnungen (invoice)
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.

der Religionsunterricht (religious education)
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.

die Rentenversicherung, die Rentenversicherungen (pension insurance)
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.

das Rezept, die Rezepte (prescription)
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.

der Rundfunkbeitrag (Licence fee)
Using the radio and television - even through a computer - costs something. You have to register with the "Beitragsservice" (contribution service) and pay them.

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

die Schulpflicht (the schooling obligation)
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.

die Schwangerschaftsberatung, die Schwangerschaftsberatungen (antenatal counselling)
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.

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

das Sonderangebot, die Sonderangebote (special offer)
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.

das Sozialamt, die Sozialämter (the social security office, the social security offices)
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.

die Sozialleistung, die Sozialleistungen (benefits)
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.

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

die Sozialwohnung, die Sozialwohnungen (social housing)
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.

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

das Sparkonto, die Sparkonten (savings account)
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.

die Spielgruppe, die Spielgruppen (playgroup)
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.

die Sprachförderung (language support)
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.

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

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

das Standesamt, die Standesämter (register office)
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.

der Studiengang, die Studiengänge (the course of study, the courses of study)
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.

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

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das Tagesgeldkonto, die Tagesgeldkonten (instant-access account)
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.

die Tagesmutter, die Tagesmütter (childminder)
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.

die Teilnahmeberechtigung für den Integrationskurs (certificate of eligibility for the integration course)
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.

die Teilzeitarbeit (part-time work)
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.

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das Übergabeprotokoll, die Übergabeprotokolle (inventory)
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.

die Überweisung, die Überweisungen (Bank) (transfer)
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.

die Überweisung, die Überweisungen (Arzt) (referral (to a doctor))
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.

der Umtausch (exchange or return)
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.

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

der Urlaub (holiday)
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.

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die Verbraucherzentrale, die Verbraucherzentralen (consumer advice centre)
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.)

der Verein, die Vereine (association)
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.

die Verfassung, die Verfassungen (constitution)
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.

die Versicherung, die Versicherungen (insurance)
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.

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

die Volkshochschule, die Volkshochschulen (adult education centre)
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.

der/ die Vorgesetzte, die Vorgesetzten (boss)
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.

die Vorsorgeuntersuchung, die Vorsorgeuntersuchungen (preventative health check)
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.

das Vorstellungsgespräch, die Vorstellungsgespräche (job interview)
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.

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die Warmmiete, die Warmmieten (the warm rent)
This is the rent with service charges.

der Wochenmarkt, die Wochenmärkte (weekly market)
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.

der Wohlfahrtsverband, die Wohlfahrtsverbände (the welfare organisation, the welfare organisations)
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.

das Wohngeld (housing benefit)
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.

das Wohnungsamt, die Wohnungsämter (housing office)
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.

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

das Zeugnis, die Zeugnisse (certificate)
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.

die Zinsen (interest)
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.

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

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