Several States require immigrants from outside the EU to participate in language or integration courses after arrival. In recent years, some EU Member States made passing a language test (Netherlands and Germany) or participating in a language course (France) a condition for a visa for family reunification for immigrants from certain third countries. Denmark and the UK introduced a similar requirement in 2010. The focus of his article is on three aspects: the political debate, the legal constraints and the effects. Firstly, the development of the pre-departure integration strategies is analyzed. What was the rationale behind the introduction and does is vary between Member States? Secondly, the legal constraints of EU and international law are discussed. Finally, the results of the first studies evaluating this policy instrument are presented. Is pre-departure a good predictor for immigrant’s ability to integrate? Does it actually assist integration, and what are the unexpected or counterproductive effects?