Hamburg Welcome Portal Necessary Language Skills

Children whose German language skills aren't sufficient yet to attend regular school will receive intensive German lessons prior to enrolment.

Symbolic image: Necessary Language Skills in Hamburg, Germany

Necessary Language Skills - Hamburg Welcome Portal

Hamburg is an international city hosting a wide range of languages and cultures. But except for bilingual classes, school lessons are mainly held in German. Therefore it is very important that your child understands and speaks the German language properly.

German lessons before school enrolment

Children aged between four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half who can’t speak German well enough to start primary school can either attend pre-school or receive four extra hours of German lessons per week in kindergarten. 

Learning German in school

All children aged six years and above must attend school. Depending on their level of previous knowledge, immigrated children and young people who do not know enough German to attend regular classes will first receive intensive German lessons in basic classes (“Basisklassen“) or in international preparatory classes (“Internationale Vorbereitungsklassen“).

Basic classes

Immigrated children and young people who cannot read and write the Latin alphabet or any other alphabet yet, attend basic classes first. There, they learn German reading and writing skills. After one year at the latest, they move on to an age-appropriate international preparatory class.

International preparatory classes

During the first months in an international preparatory class, there is intensive German language tuition. After that, teaching in further subjects such as math, sports or English prepares children and young people for the transition to regular classes.

Young people aged 15 or older have the option of either taking the general certificate of secondary education as a part of an international preparatory class or they can prepare for higher school leaving qualifications.

How is the assignment into an appropriate class handled?

Recently immigrated children and young adults can start school at any time during the year, not only in August or September when the school year officially begins.

All children and young people up to the age of 16 are allocated to a school by the School Information Centre. For this purpose, the following documents of your child are required:

  • valid ID card or passport (Birth Certificate as a substitute)
  • Certificate of Registration in Hamburg
  • in case of immigration from a Non-EU country: Residence Permit

Before the assignment into an appropriate class, there will be a counselling interview in the School Information Centre in order to be able to consider your child’s previous education in an adequate way. Please arrange an appointment in advance.

Hamburger Straße 125a
D-22083 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42899-2211

Young people aged 16 and 17 years are assigned to the two-year Training Preparation for Migrants („Ausbildungsvorbereitung für Migranten - AvM Dual“) by the Information Center of the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Training and Education (Hamburger Institut für Berufliche Bildung – HIBB). Please arrange an appointment with them in due time as well.

Informationszentrum HIBB
Hamburger Straße 125a
D-22083 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42863-4236

Necessary Language Skills