How to apply for government-funded courses in Germany

How to apply for government-funded courses in Germany

by Jakob Straub

Updated October 6, 2020

Did you know that as a language learner, you might be eligible for government-funded courses in Germany? There are several options for acquiring German or improving your language skills. You can also get government contributions for other language classes such as Spanish, French or Italian. We’ll give you an overview of government-funded courses in Germany and how you can get subsidies for your classes on Lingoda!

Vouchers for government-funded language classes

Germany has a thing called “Bildungsprämie”: under certain conditions, the government will partially or completely assume the cost of your training or further education, including language classes. If you’re eligible, you can use such a subsidy to learn German, English, French or Spanish, for example.

The German government will assume half of the cost up to a maximum of €500. If the classes don’t interfere with your work hours, you don’t need to get the approval of your employer. But you’ll have to meet some requirements:

  • You haven’t used a voucher already during the current year
  • You’re a German citizen or have a work permit
  • Your taxable annual income does not exceed €20,000 (€40,000 if you’re filing jointly with a partner)
  • You’re working at least 15 hours per week. You’re still eligible if you’re on parental leave or caring for a family member

You can select one of several programs, depending on which best suits your individual needs. You can also choose if you want to learn in a group with others or in private lessons. More information is available on the German website explaining the voucher system, where you can also schedule a free consultation.

Learning Business English with government-funded courses in Germany

To improve your economic opportunities, you can also learn Business English with language classes funded by the German government.

Courses for employees

You can be eligible for a “Bildungsgutschein” (literally an “education voucher“) for learning Business English if you meet the following requirements:

  • The course consists of a total of a maximum of 180 hours with classes of 60 minutes each over a time of a maximum of 12 months
  • You’ll need to consult with your employer, who can request the voucher
  • All companies can apply for government-funding, but the government only assumes 100% of the costs for companies with up to ten employees. For up to 250 employees, the state will reimburse 50% of the costs

The language classes will be flexible so you can attend as a full-time or part-time employee.

Courses for job seekers

If you’re looking for a job, Business English or other language skills can improve your chances and the German government is willing to help you with a “Bildungsgutschein” as well. It’s best to consult with an agent at the “Agentur für Arbeit”, the German employment agency, to see the kind of classes for which you’re eligible, but it’s possible to take Lingoda classes with such a voucher.

In principle, you can take a course of any level, either full-time or part-time:

  • Full-time courses consist of 30 hours per week with six hours from Monday to Friday. The entire course covers 240 units of 45 minutes each, but if you’re learning with Lingoda, each class is a full 60 minutes, so you’ll be taking 180 units in total.
  • Part-time courses consist of 15 hours per week with three hours from Monday to Friday. You can choose between morning, afternoon and evening classes. Again, the total number of units is 240 of 45 minutes each. Learning with Lingoda, you’ll complete 180 full hours.
  • Individual classes are also possible. There are vouchers with a total of just 30 units, or courses with up to 160 units.

To learn more about your options and voucher eligibility, you can get a free consultation at the employment agency or job centre.

Government-funded courses for caregivers in Germany

As a foreigner in training to become a nurse or caregiver in Germany, you can be eligible for a 100% government-funded course, which will prepare you to take the exam for recognition as a nurse. It includes an integrated knowledge test and German language teaching for nurses and caregivers.

The digital preparatory course was developed by Lingoda and the Berlin / Brandenburg Academy of Health. It is certified by the Employment Promotion Accreditation and Admission Regulation and therefore eligible for government-funding through an education voucher from the employment agency.

BAMF language courses

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the “Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge” or BAMF for short, is offering funding for professional language courses or “Berufssprachkurse”. These are language classes to improve your employment opportunities.

The total amount of funding again depends on your income: you can receive full subsidies if your taxable annual income does not exceed €20,000 (or €40,000 if you’re filing jointly with a partner). Job trainees (“Auszubildende”) also receive full funding. Otherwise you’ll have to contribute €2.07 per course unit, half of which you can get back after successful completion of the course.

Available courses

  • B1 level: This course consists of 400 units with a minimum of 15 participants to reach a certified B1 language level. A specialisation in nursing and caregiving is possible.
  • B2 level: This course is available to employees or job trainees. It consists of 400 units with a minimum of 7 participants to reach a certified B2 language level. Again, you can specialise in nursing and caregiving in this course. 
  • B2 level German for health professionals: This special course with a minimum of 3 participants specifically targets health care professionals and consists of a maximum of 600 units. You’re required to have completed job training in your country of origin and are either in the process of having your training recognized or will do so in the future. 


Here’s how you can receive government funding for the BAMF language courses:

  • You can receive funding if you have a migrant status or are a EU national or German citizen with a migration background (“Migrationshintergrund”).
  • You are already a resident or employee in Germany. You can submit the application for government funding together with your employer or course provider.
  • You’ll need to complete a placement test in order to determine your current language level, unless you have a language certificate no more than six months old.

Regardless of which course you’re taking or language you’re learning, you can improve your efficiency with our tips for learning!

Find out more about how you can start learning a new language with Lingoda today! Classes are available 24/7 and include free resources. Sign up for your free 7-day trial. 

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