The Language and Communications Training Unit (LCTU) is committed to providing high-quality language learning and communication advisory services in the six official languages for staff members at UN Headquarters in New York and in the Global Secretariat. Below, find answers to frequently asked questions organized by subtopic. These questions are also designed to highlight information in the Terms and Conditions of Service and serve as entry points to the resources on this site.


In general, UN staff, retired UN staff members, UN volunteers working at any Secretariat entity and delegates of Permanent Missions and Observer States may take classes, as well as staff members of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and UN Women in New York. Eligible participants also include spouses and local staff at Permanent Missions. Please visit our eligibility webpage for more information regarding eligibility and which categories are non-paying and paying (with rates, fees and information on how to pay). Consultants, interns, UN volunteers at Agencies, Funds and Programmes are not eligible. Please visit our eligibility webpage.

"External learner" refers to everyone outside the UN Secretariat who is eligible to take our courses, including Secretariat Volunteers (UNVs); staff/delegates from Permanent Missions; staff from selected Agencies, Funds and Programmes; spouses; and retirees. External learners should verify their eligibility and any applicable restriction before using to register for a course. The registration page offers specific guidance for external learners.

You may consult Language Learning at the United Nations for information on local language learning opportunities

You may also consult Supporting Multilingualism for information on learning events for everyone -such as Language Days celebrations; pilot examinations at the UN I and UN II levels; and Language Proficiency Examination practice exams.

See Online Language Learning for a growing list of language learning resources.

If you are a manager, consult how you can avail the Language Learning Licenses Programme for the benefit of your staff.

General language courses (language acquisition courses) build on top of each other, creating a learning sequence to achieve the levels UN I-Basic, UN II-Intermediate or UN III-Advanced. Specialized courses and self-study courses are offered at various levels, including UN IV-Expert. All language and communications courses offered are aligned with the United Nations Language Framework.

If you are not sure of your UN level and the adequate course in the learning sequence, you must take a placement test in most cases. No test is needed if you are an absolute beginner, a native-level speaker, or a high-level learner of the language. Please check the requirements of your preferred course in the Course Term Brochure, as many courses do not require a previous placement test.

The United Nations Language Framework (UNLF) is the reference for assessing and learning languages. It is unique to our diverse, international Organization, as it leverages multilingualism in all dimensions. The Framework standardizes how languages are learned, taught and assessed in the international context of the United Nations. More information about the United Nations Language Framework is available here. Since September 2020, the LCTU has gradually been redesigning course content to align it to the UN Levels, as defined in the UN Language Framework.

Some courses, especially the general or language acquisition courses, require a placement test to ensure group homogeneity and effective learning for all participants. Some specialized courses do not require a placement test, especially if the duration is shorter. Please consult the Course Term Brochure, as the description for each course includes the UN Level, the placement test information or the required previous learning experience.

Placement tests are available year-round in CDOTS Campus for eligible course participants. More information on placement tests, such as inspira codes, schedule, and requirements, can be found here.

View the video-tutorial Registration for Language Learning for an complete overview on how to start learning languages and how to register.

Remember to visit our eligibility webpage and verify if you are eligible and whether restrictions or course fees apply.

Finally, visit our registration page for detailed information and instructions.

Please visit our eligibility webpage and consult if you are eligible, and whether free of charge or for a course fee. See rates, fees and information on how to pay and further details for non-paying students. 

Please consult Dates of the Upcoming Terms for an overview of the yearly registration schedule; consult the Course Term Brochures for the term offering and the last day to enroll for the course(s) of your choice.

Self-study Courses are available throughout the year.  Eligible learners can complete the two-step registration and the courses independently, on their own time and schedule. 

Plan your learning and the time you can allocate. You may consult Dates of the Upcoming Terms for an overview.

  • If you are eligible, you may register for courses in one or more languages in the same term, up to 50 hours and for a maximum of four courses. You may register for one general, language acquisition course in one language in the same term, and you may register for only one section of a course. No restrictions on the number of hours or courses apply for registrations in self-study courses.
  • If you are a UN Volunteer working at any Secretariat entity you can register for only one course in the same term.

  • If you are a staff from UNDP, UNCDF, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS or UN Women, you are responsible to obtain internal clearance and/or approval by your entity. 

Visit Language Learning at the United Nations and contact your learning manager/training focal point about local language learning opportunities that are available at your duty station.

Consult the Online Language Learning Licenses Programme, which provides local managers/training focal points a resource to enable language learning. 

If the registration period is closed, the “last day to enroll” has passed, (or for external learners) will not display the course for registration. You may decide to register for an alternative course or consult Dates of the Upcoming Terms and wait a few weeks until the next registration period starts.

If you are an eligible external learner, please go to Registration and consult the instructions to create an account and “request for learning” at

Always plan your language learning ahead of time and avoid registering last minute. Consult the Dates of the Upcoming Terms.

If the course is full, you may decide to enroll and be placed on a waiting list.
The maximum number of waiting lists placement is the same as the maximum number of courses you can take.

Always plan your language learning ahead of time and avoid registering last minute. Consult the Dates of the Upcoming Terms.

Information on the administration, management and registration for the LPE is available on the Language Proficiency Examination webpage.

The LPE Preparation Courses in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are online, self-paced and designed to orient exam candidates and other interested staff to prepare for the exam.

The courses become available several months before the exam date in CDOTS Campus and open to everyone in the UN system, with no eligibility restrictions.

To receive registration support, please click here. For more information, please consult Supporting Multilingualism.

  • General language acquisition courses build on each other. Learning progression and interactive group live sessions are weekly scheduled; they include individual learning activities and group-based interactive activities.
  • Specialized courses target written and oral communication skills for the UN, language skills development and/or base on substantive topics.
  • Self-study courses are short, online courses. and Available throughout the year, they can be completed flexibly and independently. They are offered in series, such as “First Contact with…” or “Write for the United Nations”.
  • Preparation Courses for the Language Proficiency Examination in the six official languages are online, open to all LPE candidates in the UN system.
  • Courses for general language acquisition (30 hours of instruction) are typically 10-week long and include two live classes each week, individual learning activities and group-based interactive activities.
  • Specialized courses vary in number of hours of instruction and duration, from 10-week or 8-week courses to webinars. They typically include live classes.
  • Self-study courses range from 4 to 10 hours of instruction. Learning content is sequenced in lessons, modules, to allow for an adequate learning rhythm and pauses.
  • For specific information about specialized and general language acquisition courses, see the Course Term Brochures.
  • For specific information about the yearly calendar, see Dates of the Upcoming Terms
  • Classes for in-person and hybrid courses will take place at our United Nations Learning Centre for Career Development and Multilingualism, which is located in the 3rd basement of the General Assembly Building (GA-3B).
  • Classes for online and hybrid courses will typically take place by videoconference, via teams or zoom.
  • The class schedule and delivery mode for each course is fixed. Please see the Course Term Brochure for specific information before registering.

If you assist someone who has a disability or if you need any kind of assistance during classes, contact Otherwise, we do not allow anyone who is not officially registered to sit in a class, including those in waiting lists. 

Teachers for all six languages are highly qualified and experienced experts in the field of language teaching. All teachers hold at least a Master’s degree in applied linguistics (or a related field) and have a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience.

Teachers are also specialists in adult learning and experienced in topics and text types for the UN. They lead communication skills courses, which are often customized for specific entities.

A group of young students at the Beijing Language and Culture University lead the Chinese tutoring programme.

Teachers are the instructional designers who design and develop course content, and curate learning materials, in alignment with the UN Language Framework.

If you require registration support, please fill out the Registration Assistance Form and a team member will respond to your request within three business days. 

Do not use the registration assistance form in the following cases: 

  • If you forgot or you do not know your log-in credentials; instead, use the "Forgot User ID" or "Forgot User Password" options, or the "Contact us" option in Inspira or Elearning.
  • If you have any kind of technical issue (e.g., login error, black screen, system running too slow, system shutting down unexpectedly, not being able to print, etc.); instead, please use the "Contact us" option in Inspira or Elearning
  • If you follow the guidance at the Registration page, you will be able to register and will receive a confirmation via e-mail.  ​

For general enquiries and information, you may contact the Language and Communications Training Unit via e-mail:

For in-person enquiries and information, please visit the United Nations Learning Centre for Career Development and Multilingualism in the 3rd basement of the General Assembly Building (GA-3B). Office hours:

Mondays & Tuesdays
12.00 – 2.00 pm

To access any in-person and hybrid language or communication skills course, it is required to have a valid United Nations grounds pass to gain access to the United Nations headquarters and the United Nations Learning Centre for Career Development and Multilingualism.

Recognized spouses and partners of United Nations staff members can become a member of NYLESA, a spouse association that can help you get a United Nations grounds pass. For more information, contact

Spouses and partners of Secretariat staff members could also complete and have their spouse or partner’s Executive Office sign the grounds pass form (SSS.143B) and bring it to the Pass and ID office, 320 E. 45th St., 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Mon-Fri). Please note that this option requires including a valid course registration in the form.

Spouses of delegates of a Permanent or Observer Mission to the United Nations should acquire the grounds pass via their spouse’s Permanent or Observer Mission. For more information for Mission Staff please visit​.