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Integration course: Procedure, fees, rights & obligations
Only people who are of legal age (18 years or above) and who do not attend school anymore, can attend an integration course. A general integration course always consists of two parts. First there will be 600 hours of language courses. The course begins at an A1 level and after 600 hours, learners will be at level B1. Before visiting an integration course, you need to take a placement test with your course provider. If you can already speak a bit of German, you can start off with a course at a higher level. After the language course, you have to take a final examination called Deutschtest für Zuwanderer. After that, 100 hours of orientation courses follow. In this course you will learn more about the German culture, its history and its legal system. At the end of this course you have to take another final examination called Leben in Deutschland. Once you have passed both exams, you will receive a certificate called Zertifikat Integrationskurs.
As of 1 July 2016, a lesson costs EUR 1.95. If you receive unemployment benefits (II) or social welfare, you can file an application to be exempt from paying your contribution. If you are in a difficult financial situation, you also can file an application for fee exemption. In this case, attending an integration course is free of charge. If you finish the integration course within two years, you can get 50 percent of the fees paid back. For this you need to file the following application:
Form for fee exemption and address of the responsible regional office.
Subsidy for travel expenses
If you have been exempted from paying any fees for the integration course, you can file an application for a subsidy for train or bus tickets. To receive this subsidy, the location of your integration course has to be at least three kilometers away from your residence. As of 1 January 2018 you will be compensated with a fixed amount of money per day.
Form for subsidy of travel expenses and address of the responsible regional office.
Integration course - Rights and responsibilities
You are required to attend the lessons regularly. If you are not able to go to your course, you need to get a doctor’s certificate. If you are required to attend an integration course by either the Ausländerbehörde (immigration office) or the job center, you have to hand over your registration document and the confirmation of participation to the course provider.
You can repeat 300 hours of the language course if you have not passed the final test with language level B1. To do this, you must always have attended the course properly and have used up all 600 hours. You can find the application form and the address to which you must send it here:
Integration course providers
Are you looking for a school near you? These databases list course providers. At the BAMF you can search for integration course providers in your area by entering your place of residence in the search mask. In the course net of the Federal Employment Agency you can search for educational offers. In the advanced search, you must enter your place of residence and your desired course in the search term field in order to find the provider.