As a foreign citizen, you have the option (and, in some cases, the obligation) to take part in a state-subsidized integration course. The objective of this course is to help you acquire the German language skills you need to be an active member of German society and its culture. To successfully complete the course, you will need to pass a Zertifikat Deutsch exam (corresponding to level B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
The course includes the following:
- Basic and intermediate lessons (600 in total) designed to impart adequate German language skills
- Orientation (60 lessons) designed to teach you about the legal system, culture, and history of Germany
The language lessons are divided into six modules corresponding to different levels of aptitude.
At the cost of €1.20 per lesson, the state-subsidized integration course is an unbeatable deal!
For certain groups of people, participation in an integration course is mandatory.
This applies to you if you:
- Receive benefits (such as for unemployment) within the meaning of Book II of Germany's Code of Social Law and are to enter into a corresponding integration agreement, or;
- Have been directed to participate by the foreign citizens' office on the basis of special necessity
You are not required to participate if you:
- Are currently attending vocational training or another form of educational activity in Germany
- Can provide documentation of your participation in comparable educational activities in Germany
- Are unable to do so for the required duration, or if doing so would constitute an unreasonable burden
- Hold a long-term residence permit in another EU member-state in which you have already participated in integration activities
If you are an EU citizen and wish to attend an integration course in order to improve your German, you can submit an application to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). Since you are not officially entitled to participate as an EU citizen, your permission to do so will depend on whether there is enough space available in the course in question.
The following groups are also not explicitly entitled to participate in an integration course:
- Highly skilled individuals
- Children, teenagers, and young adults who are starting school or continuing their education in Germany
- Those adjudged to have little need of integration
- Those who already have adequate German language skills
Registration and attendance
The foreign citizens' office responsible for you will let you know whether you are entitled or required to participate. It will also issue you a corresponding confirmation. With this document, you can register for any integration course you choose, provided it is offered by an approved organization. You can also apply to have the cost of the course waived when you register.
The Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion has a close-knit network of different public and private organizations where you can attend an integration course. The BAMF website makes it easy to find one in your area.