New to Germany and want to learn the language? Attending the integration course will help you with that. If you speak no German or only a little, attendance is mandatory, in other words you have to take the integration course.
The Ausländeramt (immigration office) gives you a certificate of eligibility and a list of course providers, in other words language schools. Then you can find a language school in your area and register there.
You can also find the addresses of all integration course providers under the heading Important addresses. There you can search for course providers near your place in Germany. Then you will see the results with information such as address or telephone number on a map.
Language level assessment, lessons and final examination
Once you have registered with the course provider you take a language level assessment. This enables them to find out which course is best for you. The cost to you is 2.29 € per lesson. If you don’t have much money, you will not have to pay and/or your travel expenses will be reimbursed. The integration course consists of a language course and an orientation course.
The language course consists of 600 lessons. Here you learn the language with aspects of everyday life, such as shopping, housing, children, media, leisure, school and work, or appointments with the doctor.
At the end you take your final examination (“German language test for immigrants”; DTZ). After the examination you are awarded an “Integration course certificate”. You can then speak, read and write German to level A2 or B1 standard. Many employers want to see this certificate. Sometimes you also need it for an authority, such as the immigration office. If you want to apply for naturalisationn in other words if you want to become a German citizen, the “Integration course certificate” is also helpful to have.
What if you don’t pass the final examination? Then you can repeat the 300 lessons. And you can retake the examination as well.
Special coursesThere is a special integration course for young people up to the age of 27, the youth integration course. It helps you if you want to do vocational training. Information is available from the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge.
In some towns, specialised courses are also offered, such as courses aimed at women only, literacy courses or courses with childcare. Ask at your language school.
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Frequently asked questions
Who is entitled to an integration course?
The Residence Act regulates who may take part in the integration course and who may even be obliged to do so (sections 44 and 44a of the Residence Act, section 11(1) EU Freedom of Movement Act and section 9(1) BVFG). The legislator distinguishes between foreigners, citizens of the European Union, ethnic German immigrants and German nationals.
Important information can be found at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees:
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees: Integration courses: Attendance and costs
How long is the integration course?
The integration course normally consists of 700 lessons:
The language course is 600 lessons. Usually you have 4 or 5 lessons per day. The weekend is free. Then the course lasts 6 to 7 months. But there are also more intensive courses, as well as morning, afternoon or evening courses. Ask the course provider.
The orientation course follows the language course and consists of 100 lessons. You usually have 5 lessons per day for this as well. Then the course lasts 3 to 4 weeks. But there are also more intensive versions of this course, as well as morning, afternoon or evening courses. Ask the course provider.
How long is the youth integration course?
It consists of 945 lessons.
The language course consists of 900 lessons, the orientation course consists of 45 lessons.
Where can I do an integration course?
Many language schools offer these courses. Find language schools near you, phone them up or search for them on the internet using this website:
Website des Bundesamts für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF).
I do not want to do the integration course. Do I have to do it?
Yes, if you speak no German or very little, then you have to do the integration course. The immigration office can make it obligatory for you to attend a course.
Do I have to do the orientation course?
Yes. It is part of the integration course. Apart from that you need the information from the course for the exam at the end. The exam is different to the DTZ German test for immigrants.
Do I have to take the final exam?
If you have to do the integration course, then you also have to sit the examination at the end. But the exam is also important for everyone else, because you will be awarded a certificate. Many employers want to see that. It helps you to find work and at job interviews.
I cannot attend the course, for example because I am unwell or my child is sick. What do I do?
Phone the language school and give your apologies. Go to a doctor and ask him to give you a sick note for yourself or your child. Without a doctor’s note you are only allowed to stay at home for 3 days. Do you have an appointment with an authority? You have to give your apologies in this situation too. Ask the authority to give you written confirmation.
Can I change course provider?
Yes, but not all the time. An integration course is made up of 6 sections each consisting of 100 lesson hours. You can switch provider after completing a section, for instance after 100 or 200 lessons. Ask when the sections start in the new language school. This will ensure that you don’t have to take a long break.
What do I need for the course?
You will have to buy pens, paper, a file and a textbook. Maybe you would like to buy a dictionary as well. The course provider will explain the details to you at the start of the course.
Can I take a break?
In principle yes. But discuss it with the immigration office and the course provider. There are convenient times to take breaks. A course is made up of 6 sections each consisting of 100 lesson hours. You can switch provider after completing a section, for instance after 100 or 200 lessons. Then you can move on to the next section, but in a different course. Some courses have holidays as well.
Further questions? Write us via the contact form. We will forward your questions anonymously to the advisors of the youth migration services.Contact form