Integration courses are offered by the state and subsidised by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Each integration course consists of a language course and an orientation course.
The language course (approx. 600 lessons, 45 minutes each) teaches communication skills at a B1 language level. That means, you can orientate yourself in everyday life and make yourself understood sufficiently. The subsequent orientation course (approx. 100 lessons, 45 minutes each) covers subjects such as history, culture and the political system of Germany.
Immigrants from non-EU countries fulfilling certain requirements (permanent residence in Germany, insufficient German skills) are legally entitled to attend an integration course. You can get a Certificate of Eligibility from the Foreigners Office or from the Hamburg Welcome Center.
EU Blue Card Holders, German nationals and EU citizens are not entitled to attend, however, if your German skills are still quite low, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees may allow you to attend anyway. Refer to them directly for courses with free slots.
It's important to note that your residence permit needs to be valid for at least one more year when you apply for an integration course.
For more information about eligibility for integration courses, check this website.
When you have your Certificate of Eligibility, you can contact a course provider in your area (see list below) who will help you select an integration course suitable to your needs. A placement test will help identify which course fits to your current level (standard, intensive or special course).
Besides the standard integration course, there are several courses available that are specifically designed for certain target groups, such as:
- Integration courses for young adults
- Special integration courses for women or parents
- Integration courses including literacy skills
- Catch-up courses for people who have already lived in Germany for some time but did not learn German properly yet.
Find more information about the application process here.
Fees and examination
2.20 EUR are due for every lesson of the integration course (in total 1,540EUR for 700 lessons; exemption is possible in particular cases).
The aim of the integration course is to enable you to pass the final examination. This consists of a language test and the test “Living in Germany”. If you successfully pass the final examination at the end of the course (within two years after a Certificate of Eligibility has been issued), you can apply for a refund of half of your course fees.
Detailed information can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Regional Branch Hamburg
Phone: +49 (40) 23501-0