This article investigates the impact of associational participation of migrants on their political integration in Berlin. Using survey data, we focus on the individual level to see whether migrants who are active in German and/or ethnic organisations are better integrated politically. We test the social capital argument that participation in voluntary organisations is beneficial for political integration and investigate the empirical side of the often normatively-based fear that ethnic self-organisation is a danger to the integration of ethnic groups in the receiving society. We could not find a clear-cut answer to this question. Participation in German organisations does indeed support integration, but the effects of participation in ethnic organisations are more ambiguous: migrants active in ethnic organisations are more politically active, but not more interested in German politics, than migrants who are not active in ethnic organisations. Furthermore, we conclude that the mechanisms behind the social capital argument are different for the ethnic groups under study. © 2004 Taylor and Francis Ltd.