In Germany, integration courses are official language and orientation courses. They cover everyday topics such as work and professions, shopping, television or childhood education. Participants also learn how to deal with administrative offices, how to write emails or letters and how to carry oneself properly in job interviews. You will learn about culture and politics, living together in Germany as well as the values German society is based on. The orientation course usually consists of 100 lessons, while the language course entails 600 lessons. Special courses are offered for women, parents or adolescents and adults up to the age of 27, among others. At the end of each course, all participants take a final examination free of charge.
Who can participate in an integration course?
The integration courses are intended for anyone who is new to Germany and whose German language skills are not yet adequate enough for dealing with the demands of everyday life. Whether you are allowed to attend a course or if the course is mandatory for you depends on your country of origin and your level of fluency in German. Here is where we have compiled the most important regulations for participation:
As an EU citizen,you are welcome to take part in a free integration course if you want to learn German or improve your German, provided that a place is available. However, you are not required to do so.
Non-EU citizens are also allowed to take these courses. If your German language skills are not particularly good yet, you may also be required to attend. If you work and do not have time to attend a full or part-time course, you can be exempted from attending the course. Upon issuing your residence permit the foreigners authority will let you know whether you are allowed or required to attend a course.
More information on the conditions of participation and costs can be found here.
How to find an integration course
Integration courses are offered by over 1,300 local language schools and they are funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
- If you come from a country outside the EU, go to your local Foreigners Authority which will issue a Berechtigungsschein (permit to attend an integration course). EU citizens can apply for admission to an integration course at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
- Afterwards, you should look for a course provider. The Foreigners Authority or the Migration Advisory Centre will offer their help. It is also very easy to search the online information system NAvI of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
- Once you have found a course provider in your area, go to the provider's office or call them. The course provider will help you select a suitable integration course and let you know when it is scheduled to begin.
After passing the final examination, you will be issued an "Integration Course Certificate". If you pass the final examination within two years of being accepted to the course, half of the course fee will be refunded to you.
There are integration courses that also offer childcare during the course. Ask your course provider, e. g. a language school, about these possibilities.
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
BAMF-NAvI (online information system)