Best certificates to give your life in Germany a new direction

Germany, with its many facets, is very diverse and worth experiencing. Tourists create beautiful memories by getting to know the culture and individual destinations. Of course, you feel much more comfortable in a foreign country if you also understand its language. In this context, many German educational institutions offer certificates that can be used to prove one’s language level. In the meantime, numerous providers offer a wide variety of language certificates, so that it is easy to become overwhelmed and confused by this oversupply. In the following, we present the most important German certificates so that nothing will stop you from a successful start of your life in Germany.

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Types of German Language Certifications

  • Goethe Certificate
  • German Language Test for University Admission
  • TestDaF
  • telC
  • German Test for Immigrants

Goethe Certificate

The Goethe-Certificate of the Goethe Institute is one of the most meaningful confirmations of your language level. They offer certificates in all levels from A1 to C2. At the same time, they differentiate between learners.

  • Beginners: People, who are generally interested in the German language and want to educate themselves, can approach the “Fit for German”.
  • Professionals: You have the opportunity to improve your language skills in a professional capacity.

Furthermore, the Goethe Institut offers the GDS (Das Große Deutsche Sprachdiplom), which aims at learners of the German language, but who are almost at the level of a native speaker. With this certificate, which is classified in the C2 level, the graduates have the possibility not only to study in Germany but also to do research and to work at German schools as teachers. However, this test is very time-consuming, because with the four components of reading, writing, listening and speaking, about 3 ½ hours are scheduled by the institute. For more detailed questions about the accruing costs, you can contact the testing centre of one’s choice.

German Language Test for University Admission

If you are interested in studying abroad in Germany, there is no way around a required language certificate. Therefore, the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (German Language Test for University Admission) offers this exam for foreign applicants who already have a university admission in their pocket.

In this test, you encounter reading, listening comprehension and writing tasks, but with a stronger reference to scientific language. The results are given in percentages and thus the graduate is placed in a level range. Of the three different levels DSH-1, DSH-2 and DSH-3, the former is the easiest. When the DSH-2 level is reached (67%), the graduate can enrol in many different courses of study, as this means that he or she is admitted to almost all German universities.

However, the test is not uniform in Germany and is designed differently at each university. But most universities recognise DSH exams that have been taken at other schools. Just check with your host university and ask them to send you samples of the exam. The costs depend on the university but is usually between € 40-170.


Alternatively, prospective students can take the TestDaF. This is at levels B2 to C1 and is accepted by German colleges and universities. Candidates have the opportunity to take it at Goethe Institutes, universities and language schools around the world. Thus, this exam is much more flexible for prospective international students in terms of mobility.

The cost of the TestDaf depends on the country in which you want to take the exam. In Germany, you have to pay € 195. You will find out the prices for other countries when you register for the test. You can find more information about TestDaF here.


Widely available is telC, which offers certificates at various levels from A1 to C2. The language test provider also considers the learning type. They also design special exams, for example, with reference to a profession in the health sector. These exams can be taken at education centres and language schools.

The cost of the telC depends on the examination centre where you take the exam and the level you choose. However, you should expect that the test will cost you at least between € 50 and € 200, in special cases even more. You can find additional information about telC directly on their website.

German Test for Immigrants

The German Test for Immigrants is relevant for immigrants coming to Germany from outside the European Union. In fact, you must be able to prove language skills at the B1 level in Germany with this exam. However, official integration courses are offered to prepare yourself. If you have further questions, you can get information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

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All in all, there are many contact points where you can take exams. When deciding on a test, you should in any case inform yourself about the examination requirements. The versatile possibilities of the German language certificates are therefore no obstacle to make your dreams and opportunities in Germany real.

Fintiba step by step guide

The Fintiba Companion: Guiding your way to Germany step-by-step

Never miss an important step on your journey to Germany. From preparing your university application to mastering your visa application and navigating through daily life in Germany – the Fintiba Companion provides you with relevant information throughout all important stages of your German adventure within a comprehensive checklist – tailored to your individual situation.

Last update: March 10, 2023