There are general and special integration courses.
General integration courses are for all foreign nationals, regardless of age and/or gender.
Special integration courses are offered for young adults, women, parents and people with literacy issues or language learning difficulties requiring special attention as well as for fast-learning immigrants.
An integration course consists of a language course and an orientation course and you must pass the integration course in order to apply for permanent settlement.
In the language course you will learn German. The language course is divided up into six sessions or so-called modules (levels A1-B1). The first three course modules are called the basic language course. Course modules 4 through 6 make up the advanced language course. One course module consists of 100 hours of instruction. The basic and advanced language courses thus each take 300 hours for a total of 600 hours.
At the beginning of the integration course you will take a placement test. The test will help to determine whether you already speak some German and which course module you should begin with. If you speak none or only very little German, you will begin with the basic language course. The advanced language course goes into greater depth and builds upon what was learned in the first course.
The seventh and last module of the integration course is known as the orientation course. It is a 60-hour course covering topics such as the German legal system, history, culture and values that are important in Germany such as religious freedom, tolerance and equality. The most important contents, learning objectives and tests of the integration course are summarised in guidelines known as “Concept for a National Integration Course” (Konzept für einen bundesweiten Integrationskurs). All instructors must adhere to these guidelines in their lessons.
Tests and results
At the end of the integration course, you must take a final test, which consists of two exams, the German Test for Immigrants (Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer – DTZ) and the uniform nationwide orientation course test. The test is administered free of charge.
To successfully pass the final test, you must pass both the DTZ language exam for the B1 level and the orientation course test.
A B1 level indicates the level of proficiency of a person who is able to understand the most essential information when speaking to about familiar topics (work, school and so on) in simple terms. You must also be able to speak simply and coherently about experiences, events, hopes and ambitions, and provide brief explanations.
Upon successful completion of the final test, you will receive an Integration Course Certificate. If you do not earn the necessary number of points, you will only receive a certificate confirming the number of points earned.