BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Residence titles issued from 2005 onwards

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Foreign nationals with residence titles issued from 2005 onwards

Entitlement to attend a course

If you received your residence title on or after 1 January 2005 and you fulfil the following conditions, you have a legal entitlement to attend the integration course:

You live permanently in Germany and received your first residence permit after 1 January 2005. You are in Germany:

  • as an employee
  • for the purposes of subsequent immigration of dependent family members
  • for humanitarian reasons
  • as a person who possesses the status of a long-term resident in accordance with section 38a of the Residence Act (AufenthG), or


You are staying permanently in Germany and have for the first time received a settlement permit in accordance with section 23 subs. 2 of the Residence Act.

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Your residence in Germany will be deemed to be permanent if you have been given a residence permit for a period of more than one year or if you have held a residence permit for longer than 18 months.

You are not entitled to attend an integration course

  • if you are a child, young person or young adult attending school in Germany,
  • if there is little recognised need for integration,
  • if you already speak German to an adequate level (you may nevertheless attend an orientation course).

Obligation to attend an integration course

If you received your residence permit after 1 January 2005 and you cannot make yourself understood in German at a simple, adequate level, you must attend an integration course. The immigration authority will decide if attendance is required when it issues the residence title to you.

If you receive unemployment benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) and the office from which you receive unemployment benefit II requires you to attend an integration course, then you are obliged to attend.

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You cannot be obliged to attend the course·

  • if you are training or are attending/have attended a comparable education programme (e.g. further education, continuing education) in Germany.
  • if long-term attendance at the integration course is impossible or unreasonable, for example if you have to look after a member of your family.
  • if you work and even attending a part-time course is not possible.

Applying to a course provider

If you have received your certificate of eligibility (Berechtigungsschein) from the immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde), the next stage is for you to choose an integration course provider.

You can use the WebGIS search engine to find integration course providers in your local area. You can of course also obtain a list of course providers from the immigration authority or from an immigration advisory service (Migrationsberatungsstelle).

As soon as you have found a course provider, you should go there to submit your certificate of eligibility and register for the course. The course provider will help you to select a suitable course. You will also be told when the next course is due to begin.

Contribution to costs

You must pay EUR 1.55 for every lesson of the integration course (contribution to costs). If you registered for the course before 1 July 2012, the contribution is EUR 1.00 per lesson. The remainder of the cost is covered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

A general integration course consists of 660 hours. This course will therefore cost you EUR 1,023 (if you registered for the course before 1 July 2012, it will cost you EUR 660). You do not have to pay this amount all at once, but can pay per course section of 100 lessons. If you attend a special course with a correspondingly higher number of lessons, the cost contribution will be greater (e.g. EUR 1,488 for 960 lessons).

If you receive unemployment benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) or social assistance (Sozialhilfe), you can apply for exemption from the costs. You can also be exempted from contributing to the costs if you find it particularly hard to pay because of your financial or personal situation.

Send the completed and signed application form to the regional office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees responsible for you. You can find out which regional office is responsible for you using the interactive WebGIS search engine.

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If you pass the final examination at the end of the integration course within two years of the confirmation of eligibility to attend the course being issued, you can, under certain circumstances, claim back half of your payments towards the cost. You must submit and send a signed application to the regional office responsible for you.

Travel allowance

If you are attending an integration course and you receive unemployment benefit II, you will be reimbursed for travel expenses if they are necessary.

The same applies if you have been exempted from contributing to the cost of an integration course. This is conditional on your attending the integration course in accordance with the rules.

Date 13 January 2016

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