Distance learning course; application for admission

According to the Distance Learning Protection Act (Fernunterrichtsschutzgesetz - Fern-USG), distance learning courses require approval by the State Central Office for Distance Learning. A contract for a non-approved course is void.


The State Central Office for Distance Learning (ZFU)

  • decides on the approval or refusal of approval of all distance learning courses requiring approval. Without approval, distance learning courses within the meaning of the law may not be marketed or advertised in Germany,
  • reviews the continued existence of the requirements for approval of distance learning courses, as a rule at intervals of three years,
  • decides on the approval of significant changes to approved distance learning courses,
  • registers distance learning courses which are not subject to approval ("hobby courses", which serve exclusively for leisure purposes). The ZFU must be notified of the distribution of these courses. The decision as to whether the course is actually a "hobby course" lies with the ZFU. The distance learning contracts of such distance learning courses are also subject to the Distance Learning Act (Fern-USG) and are checked by the ZFU.


  • The course must be suitable for achieving the objective set by the organiser;
  • the content or objective of the course must not be contrary to public policy or public security,
  • the organiser must provide the participant with comprehensive information about the course offered, and
  • all legal requirements for the drafting of a contract for a distance learning course must be met.

You can find a comprehensive guide under "Further links".


A distance learning course may only be distributed or offered after it has been approved. The distribution of a distance learning course without the required approval constitutes an administrative offence and can be punished with a fine.

Required documents

  • Detailed description of the distance learning course
  • Draft of a distance learning contract as it is to be concluded with the participant

    (For information for organisers of distance learning courses on the drafting of a distance learning contract and the information material used for advertising purposes, see "Further links").

  • Draft of intended promotional literature
  • All learning materials



  • Relevant administrative fees in accordance with the General Administrative Fees Regulations (AVerwGebO NRW) of 3 July 2001 (GV. NRW. p. 262), last amended by ordinance of 15 December 2015 (GV. NRW. p. 933):

    • Approval of a distance learning course without prior provisional approval: 150% of the sales price (minimum fee: € 1,050.00).
    • Approval of substantial changes to an approved distance learning course: 50% of the sales price (minimum fee: €250.00). If the substantial changes affect more than half of the entire course, the fees for a new approval apply.
    • Verification of the continued existence of the admission requirements: 30% of the sales price
    • Admission of a distance learning course preceded by a provisional admission: 200% of the sales price (minimum fee: 1.050,00 €)


Administrative court proceedings; information

administrative claim

Status: 23.09.2021

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus

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  • Prefillable Form, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, locally limited
  • Fees, Bavaria-wide
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