Have you recently moved to Germany and looking to learn the language? Feeling lost and would like to learn and adapt to your new home country? Do you intend to live in Germany long term? Then, how about getting a German citizenship faster ??? The answer to all these questions and more is doing the German integration course (Integrationskurs).
What is the Integration course?
German B1 language test (DTZ) + Orientation Course (Einbuergerungstest) = Integrations Course
The Integrations course comprises of the German language course (Proficiency level B1) AND an Orientation course. The language course helps you develop speaking, writing, listening and reading skills in German. Whereas, the orientation course covers the German legal system, politics, history, culture, rights and societal aspects.
Participation and Registration
Whoever wishes to learn German can enroll for this course. If you hold a residence permit that is issued for more than a year i.e. if you live in Germany due to work, family reunion or humanitarian reasons, you are legally entitled to participate in this course.
When you first apply for a residence permit at the immigrations office, you will be given a certificate of eligibility (Berechtigungsschein) or a “Bestätigung über die Verpflichtung zur Teilnahme am Integrationkurs”. This letter is your ticket to register for a course. However, if you decide to do the course at a much later period, depending on your situation, you may have to approach either Immigrations Office (Ausländerbehörde), BAMF, Job Centre or Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for the certificate of eligibility. Click here for further details.
Once you have this document, you can either register at a course provider of your choice. Some schools are tied up with BAMF and hence offer 50% refund of the course fee, upon successful completion of the course. That being said, you always have a choice to do the course at any school without the certificate of eligibility. However, in this case, all costs will be borne by you.
Before registration, most schools have a small assessment or test. This helps the provider determine what level of German you have/ which type of course is best suited for you. If you already have a basic knowledge of German, you can directly join the course after a few modules and directly join the course say for eg. at A2 level.
Duration and Cost
The total Integration Course consists of 7 Modules ( 6 Modules of the Language Course + 1 Module of Orientation Course). Each Module comprises of approx. 100 hours. You will have to pay EUR 2.20 for each lesson/ hour. So, that makes it about EUR 1.540 for a total of 700 hours.
You do not have to pay this amount all at once, rather per module. Each module lasts for about 5-6 weeks,covering about 3.5 hrs of classes per day. Hence, the total course takes about 9 months to complete.
Other expenses apart from the course fee, include travel costs and cost of course books and other school supplies. I used the Linie 1 Series. Each level i.e. A1, A2, B1 will comprise of a course book and an Intensive Trainer. Both of these collectively cost approx. EUR 35,00. The orientation course book is for approx EUR 10,00. Hence, the total for the course books comes upto approx. EUR 115,00.
As mentioned earlier, the BAMF can reimburse you for half of the cost of the integration course, if you successfully pass the final examination. If you receive social benefit, your fees as well as travel expenses are automatically waived. However, if you still are financially short, you can make an appeal to your reginal BAMF office for subsidised fees.
Integration Course & Citizenship
Another advantage of completing an Integrations course is that you are able to claim German citizenship by naturalisation after seven years, rather than the standard eight. However, if you ask me “Is the Integration Course a must for Citizenship ?”. The answer is NO. Again, the pre-requisites for citizenship vary from person to person. However, in most cases a German Proficiency level of B1 is expected. Along with this you will have to give the Einbürgerung Test. Both these exams can be taken without actually attending any classes.
Are you interested to know what you will be doing in this course? Head over to Course Content, Scoring and Tips to ace the German Integration Course.