Integration Courses

How can I learn German?

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If you have recently arrived in Germany, you might find that the language is one of the biggest challenges. In order to interact with German authorities, at the Immigration Office (“Ausländerbehörde”) or the Social Welfare Office (“Sozialamt”) for example, you need to speak German. If you want to settle down in Germany and get to know its people on a personal level, study at university, do vocational training or find a job, you will also need to know German.

Depending on your residence status, you will have different options regarding school and course type. Official language courses which combine German lessons with an introduction to the history and culture of Germany, are called integration courses (“Integrationskurs”). They include 600 hours of language lessons and a 100-hour orientation course which will teach you the basics about German law, history and culture. If you cannot read and write the Latin alphabet, you are eligible for a 1,000-hour integration course. There are specialised courses for parents with minor children, women and young adults, too. If you don’t pass the exam at the end of the course, you can take an additional 300 hours of German lessons. To be allowed to do so, you need to fill out an application.

There are also a number of other language courses which are run by various public and private institutions. Be aware that not all of them are recognised by the Immigration Office or other German authorities. You can also find a lot of good language learning resources online, many of them for free.

How can I attend a German course?

I just arrived in Germany

I have already applied for asylum

I have already been granted asylum

I don’t fit in any of these categories

Once you have successfully completed a language course, you will receive an attendance certificate (“Anwesenheitsbescheinigung”). If your course finishes with a general exam, like the integration course does, you will receive a language certificate which includes your overall level according to the Common European Framework of Reference as well as your performance in the individual testing sections (“Deutschzertifikat”).


In most cases, being entitled to follow an integration course equals being obliged to do so. That means attending a course is not an option for you but a must. It is important to sign up for a course as soon as you have received your certificate of eligibility (“Berechtigungsschein”). If you fail to do so, your social benefits will be reduced.