The new law on citizenship in Germany in 2024: everything an expat needs to know about the simplified procedure for obtaining a German passport (updated)

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The new law on citizenship in Germany in 2024: everything an expat needs to know about the simplified procedure for obtaining a German passport (updated)

The German parliament recently passed a new law on citizenship that will greatly simplify the naturalization procedure in the country. Find out more about when the document will come into force and who may be denied citizenship in 2024 under the new German law

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 by Julia Dikaya • ongoing writer in VisitWorld


In January 2024, the German parliament adopted a new law on citizenship, which significantly simplifies the naturalization procedure in the country. The document must now be passed by the German Bundesrat before it can be fully implemented. It is expected to enter into force in the spring of 2024. However, this bill is already being called historic.

What important aspects of German migration legislation will change very soon, and why did Germany dare to change them? Details in our material.


Why is simplifying the naturalization process important for Germany?


Quite often, people decide to change their country of residence in search of better conditions for life or work. Thanks to its strong economy, Germany is one of the most popular countries in Europe among expats. Experts estimate that more than 12 million people, or approximately 14% of the German population, do not have German citizenship. About 5.3 million of them have been living in Germany for at least 10 years. Most of these people are well integrated into German society, but without citizenship they have no right to take an active part in German democracy.

Taking into account these factors, the German government decided to bring the country's legislation to the level of other EU member states and make moving to Germany more attractive for expats by simplifying the procedure for obtaining citizenship.


The main change is the shortening of the mandatory period of stay for obtaining citizenship through the naturalization procedure


The adopted changes reduce the period of mandatory residence before obtaining citizenship. These innovations are aimed at speeding up the naturalization process, allowing certain categories of residents to obtain citizenship faster, which will contribute to a stronger sense of belonging and integration into German society.


1. Expats will have the right to obtain German citizenship after five years of residence in the country, instead of the current eight years of minimum residence.


2. For persons who can demonstrate special integration achievements – achievements during study or work or a high level of command of the German language – the mandatory period of residence is reduced to three years instead of five.


3. Children born in Germany will receive German citizenship automatically if one of the parents has legally resided in Germany for five years prior to birth, instead of the current eight years.


Changes to the law on dual citizenship in Germany in 2024


The approval of dual citizenship is considered a revolutionary change in the new legislation. This change is particularly important for citizens of non-EU countries and Germans living outside Germany.


1. Applicants must not renounce the citizenship of their country of origin if they obtain a German passport.

Foreigners will be able to obtain German citizenship without severing ties with their country of origin. That is, from now on, when going through the naturalization process, it is not necessary to renounce the citizenship of the country of birth.


2. Germans are not obliged to renounce their citizenship when naturalizing abroad.

German citizens who wish to naturalize outside Germany will be able to keep their German passport.


3. Children who acquire German citizenship through this provision will be able to retain the citizenship of their parents.


Relaxation for the generation of guest workers in Germany


The term "guest worker generation" in Germany refers to people who migrated from other countries (often from Southern Europe and Turkey) to Germany in the 1950s and 1960s to solve the problem of the post-war labor shortage.

According to the new law, the significant contribution of this generation to the economic development and cultural diversity of Germany will be recognized. Therefore, former guest workers will no longer need to take the citizenship test, which will further simplify the naturalization process for them.

The requirements for the level of language knowledge will also change, the command of spoken German will be considered sufficient for this group (instead of B1 level).


Who can be denied citizenship under the new German law?


German citizenship will be denied to persons who:

- Are married to several partners or exhibit any behavior that disregards the equal rights of men and women as stated in the German Basic Law.

- They have certain criminal records. In line with Germany's commitment to inclusiveness and upholding democratic values, the new law makes it clear that criminal convictions related to anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or inhumane acts are grounds for exclusion from German citizenship.


Changes in German legislation will facilitate the integration of migrants and expats into Germany. These reforms are aimed at strengthening social cohesion and guaranteeing equal opportunities, rights and obligations for emigrants and German citizens.

- Who can get German citizenship in 5 years?


According to the new law, any foreigner who has legally resided in Germany for 5 years will be eligible for citizenship (previously this period was 8 years).

The waiting period for obtaining citizenship for children of foreigners born in Germany will also be shortened. They now receive German citizenship if at least one of their parents legally resided in Germany for eight years prior to their birth. This situation is expected to change, as the new bill envisages reducing this requirement to five years. This change should overcome the difficulties faced by children who were born and raised in Germany but do not automatically receive German citizenship due to the long-term residence requirement.


- How to get German citizenship in 3 years? 


Foreigners with exceptional academic or professional achievements, socially active or with high language skills can, in exceptional cases, obtain citizenship only after three years. This innovative approach is one of the first in Europe and encourages people to fully integrate into German society.

As part of the accelerated procedure for obtaining citizenship, the "Svitlofor" coalition plans to raise the required level of knowledge of the German language to level C1. This is the level usually required to study at a German university. People who speak the language at the C1 level are able to read and understand complex long texts, including those that do not relate to their field of activity. Also, these foreigners can speak freely about complex issues and give structured academic arguments.

Representatives of the coalition emphasize that if a person speaks German at the C1 level, then he demonstrates that he is really interested in life in Germany and plans to stay in the country.






Igor Usyk - Head of Migration department at VisitWorld


To ensure a safe move to a new country, I advise you to consult a specialist. My colleagues, qualified specialists with a legal education, will help you avoid unpleasant situations during migration.




Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:


Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;

Legal advice on immigration in Germany;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;

Medical insurance all over the world.





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