Citizenship

Citizenship

Update January 2023:
The Federal Government has presented the key points of a reform of the naturalization law announced in the coalition agreement. In the meantime, an internal draft bill from the Federal Ministry of the Interior has become available. According to this draft, the following simplifications will be made compared to the previous regulations:

  • the periods of residence in Germany required for naturalization are to be reduced from 8 to 5 years,
  • in the case of “special integration achievements” (special professional/school achievements or civic commitment and C1 language skills), a reduction to 3 years should be possible,
  • in the case of naturalization, it should be possible to retain the previous nationality,
  • the language requirements for older people are to be simplified.

A draft bill from the German government is expected in the next few weeks, which must then be discussed and passed by the Bundestag. Amendments are possible in the course of the legislative process. The new regulations could come into force in summer 2023 (at the earliest).

If you do not yet meet the naturalization requirements under the current legal situation or would like to retain your previous citizenship, you should wait until the new regulations have come into force before submitting your application.

If you live in Berlin, please also note the following:
It is currently very difficult to impossible to obtain appointments for the naturalisation procedure at the district offices. We can prepare and submit a written application for naturalisation for you. However, once the application has been submitted, you must expect the procedure will take 1-2 years. We have no way of speeding up the procedure. 

A central naturalisation office is expected to take over the processing of naturalisation procedures in 2024. It has been announced that this should lead to a considerable acceleration and simplification of the procedures.

We will provide information on current developments here.

Naturalization

The right of naturalization is a complex question and depends on individual circumstances. Nevertheless the naturalization law contains some general requirements to obtain a right for naturalisation. Furthermore a certain time of legal residence is needed for naturalization.

General requirements are:

  • legal residency in Germany since 8 years,(7 years with integration course, 6 years with special integration skills, such as B2 language proficieny).
  • Sufficient means of substance (few exceptions possible)
  • Sufficient knowledge of the German language (B1)
  • No conviction for a major crime
  • renunciation of the previous nationality (few exceptions possible)

For spouses of German citizens a naturalization may be possible after three years of residence.

In cases of public interest (e.g. by highly skilled scientists , arts, culture, media or sports) three years can be sufficient.

Germany does not provide special conditions for investors or business person.

Citizenship by birth

Children, born in Germany after January 2000 obtain the German citizenship by birth, if either one of the parents is German citizen or

  • one of the parents has his legal residence in Germany since eight years, and
  • has a settlement-permit.

The citizenship will be obtained if a child under the age of 18 years will be adopted by a German citizen.

If the German father of a child acknowledges the paternity, the child obtains the German citizenship, in case that the declaration is made before the child becomes 23 years old.

Loss of German Citizenship 

The German citizenship will be lost by

  1. dismissal, abandonment or declaration
  2. acquisition of any other citizenship by application
  3. Abandonment of the former nationality (exceptions are possible, if the abandonment is not possible or not reasonable)
  4. adoption by an alien
  5. entrance to the armed forces of any other country

A former German Citizen can apply for a settlement permit or residence permit under facilitated conditions.

If you have questions regarding your citizenship get in contact to our Specialist in Immigration Law Sven Hasse.

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