Do I need to know German? (2024)

Do I need to know German? (1)

Your everday life in Germany will be easier once you learn German. Find out here why German language skills are important.

  • Living in Germany
  • Learning German
  • Do I need to know German?

Learning German is one of the most important steps you can take to prepare for life in Germany. It will help you settle in more quickly and make it easier for you to find new friends.
For some purposes, such as work or study, it may even be necessary for you to demonstrate a certain level of German. Proof of a particular level of German is also often required when applying for a visa:

  • Healthcare professions: If you plan to work in the health sector in Germany, e.g. as a nurse or doctor, knowledge of the German language is essential. Level B1 or B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required, depending on the federal state in which you wish to work.

Note: You will need to obtain recognition in order to practise a regulated profession in Germany, such as teaching or law. These and many other regulated professions also require a knowledge of German. Further information on the recognition procedure and language certificates can be found on the "Anerkennung in Deutschland" portal, and personal advice can be obtained from the Service Center for Professional Recognition (ZSBA).

  • German for students and trainees: If you are applying for a German-language degree programme in Germany, you will need to prove that you have the language skills required by the higher education institution. As a rule, prospective trainees must also be able to speak German at the level required to start their training in Germany. You can find more information on this in the “Study” or “Training” section.
  • German for spouses: German language skills are important to help you integrate quickly into working life and society. Your partner is also likely to feel more at home in Germany if all members of your family can speak at least some German. Nevertheless, if you are applying for a visa for your spouse or children to join you in Germany, you do not need to provide evidence of their language skills if you have one of the following residence permits:
    • EU Blue Card (Section 18gof the Residence Act [(AufenthG]))
    • ICT Card and Mobile ICT Card (Sections 19, 19a AufenthG)
    • Residence permit for skilled workers (Section 18a AufenthG or Section 18bAufenthG)
    • Settlement permit for highly skilled workers (Section 18c para. 3(3) AufenthG)
    • Residence permit for research purposes and mobile researchers (Sections 18d, 18f AufenthG)
    • Residence permit for other employment purposes; civil servants (Section 19c AufenthG)
    • Residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (Section 21 AufenthG)
  • German language skills as a visa requirement: A certain level of German may be required to apply for a visa. You need to have a B2 level of German to obtain a visa for the purpose of seeking vocational training. German language skills at level B1 are required to obtain a visa for vocational training.
  • A minimum A2 level is usually required to obtain a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

Read more about the requirements for each type of visa in the “Visa” section.


Even if you do not need to prove your German language skills for your job, learning German in advance is a sign of your commitment. Since people often speak differently in the workplace than they do in everyday life, being aware of linguistic and cultural differences and knowing specific terminology will help you deal with these situations more effectively. Vocational language courses are a good way to prepare for the world of work.

How is German language proficiency measured?

Your German skills are usually assessed on the basis of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR distinguishes between six levels of language competence, which describe what learners of a foreign language are able to express and understand at each level.

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Learn more about: Getting a visa, or learning German? Contact points all over the world

Do I need to know German? (7)

Getting a visa, or learning German? Contact points all over the world

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    Information on the web

    1. Goethe-Institut Why learn German?
    2. German Academic Exchange Service Information about language courses, exams and placement tests

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