People who want to study, work or live in Germany, should know at least a basic German language and know a few things about life in Germany, laws of the country and traditions.
That is why, the German authorities have established the German Integration Courses, which are obligatory to a large number of persons moving to Germany.
What Is a German Integration Course?
The German Integration course is a school-like system of classes that lasts for several months, during which students learn the German language and life, traditions and laws. The purpose of this course is to integrate foreigners into German society and to make it easier for them to get into schools and to get a job.
The German authorities have regulated these courses in every aspect; from the level, of course, one should attend, to the number of classes, the fees, and the examination at the end of the course.
Who Needs to Attend a German Integration Course?
All third-country nationals who want to move to Germany need to undergo an assessment exam. The assessment exam, among others, tests your German language abilities and knowledge on life in Germany.
If you fail this exam, you will need to attend the German Integration Courses one you arrive in Germany.
As for the non-German EU citizens, if you are on and you wish to live in Germany, it is not compulsory to you to attend these courses. Yet, if you wish to, you can.
Types of German Integration Courses
There are two types of German Integration courses:
- German language course. This course provides you with German language knowledge. If you are a beginner learning German language, you will need to attend 400 to 600 hours of classes, and each of them lasts 45 minutes. On the other hand, if you want to take advanced classes, you will need to attend about 300 hours of classes.
- German legal system, culture and history course (also known as the orientation course). There are 100 hours of classes for the orientation course, each lasting 45 minutes. All persons should attend these classes in full.
Other Types of German Integration Courses
Moreover, there are additional types of German Integration courses, for special categories of persons moving to Germany, as follows:
- Integration course including literacy skills – for people who cannot read or write in any world language, and for people who are unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet.
- Integration course for mothers who want to know what their kids learn in kindergarten/school, so they can help them with homework.
- Integration course for people under the age of 27, so they can learn more about education, training, work, career, family, etc.
- Catch-up language course, for German residents who have not learned German yet.
- Intensive language course, for people who can learn fast.
How to Apply to Attend a German Integration Course?
The steps to apply for a German Integration Course are given below in chronological order:
- Obtain a certificate called Berechtigungsschein. Depending on your nationality you will need to get this certificate at one of the two following:
- If you are a non-EU citizen you will have to go to the local foreigners’ registration office nearest to your home in Germany.
- If you are a citizen of any of the European Union member states should contact the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany.
- Find a course provider. This provider is called Kurstraeger in German. You can find source providers online through the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Make sure the course you contact is the nearest to your home.
- Contact them. You can do so through phone, email or in person. The provider will require you to submit few documents, and then will provide you with information on the registration process, number of hours, the syllabus of the course, the fees that need to be paid and other details.
- Register. Follow the guidelines of the course provider in order to register.
Once you complete these steps, you can start attending the course according to the schedule you are given. Note that before you apply, you must make sure you have the applicable German visa and/or German residence permit, as required in your case.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend an Integration Course in Germany?
Though the courses are obligatory, you will need to pay for them by yourself. Depending on your nationality, and the date you received your residence title you may have to pay either €1.55 or €1.95 per hour, or you can also be exempt from paying any fee.
The following categories need to pay a fee of €1.55 per hour:
- German nationals who do not speak adequate German, enrolled in integration course before 1 July 2016
- EU nationals who wish to learn German in Germany enrolled in integration course before 1 July 2016
- Third country nationals who obtained their residence title before 1 January 2005, but registered the course before registered the course before 1 July 2016
- Third country nationals who obtained their residence title after 1 January 2005, and registered the course before registered the course before 1 July 2016 only 1.55
The following categories need to pay a fee of €1.95 per hour:
- German nationals who do not speak adequate German, enrolled in integration course after 1 July 2016
- EU nationals who wish to learn German in Germany enrolled in integration course after 1 July 2016
- Third country nationals who obtained their residence title before 1 January 2005, but registered the course after 1 July 2016
- Third country nationals who obtained their residence title after 1 January 2005, and registered the course after 1 July 2016
The following categories are exempt from paying any fee:
- Ethnic German resettled in Germany, their spouse and children.
- Those that receive unemployment benefit or social assistance.
German Integration Course Certificate
After you finish all your Integration course classes, you will have to undergo two exams:
- German language test
- “Living in Germany” test
If you pass both, then you will receive the “Zertifikat Integrationskurs”.
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