Obtaining German citizenship (in 3-5 years) will become easier, but there is a caveat: a new law requirements in 2023
Germany will increase language requirements for applicants for accelerated citizenship. In addition, children born in Germany and whose parents are foreigners will be able to apply for dual citizenship. Learn more about the new draft law
by Julia Dikaya • ongoing writer in VisitWorld
Germany is a country in the center of Europe that is known for its strong economy and rich cultural heritage. A high standard of living and a well-developed labor market have been attracting immigrants from various countries to the country for many years. Foreigners go to Germany to get an education and build a career.
However, in recent years, the number of successful naturalizations based on long-term residence in Germany has been quite low, especially compared to other EU countries. In order to solve this problem, the German government coalition "Svitlofor" recently submitted to the Bundestag plans to reform the program for granting German citizenship. The new citizenship law aims to simplify the naturalization process.
In our material, we have compiled an overview of the main changes in the modern German citizenship law and the related benefits.
Read more about healthcare in Germany for foreigners, insurance and medical tourism here.
New german citizenship requirements
One of the most important changes in the new legislation is the shortening of the period of mandatory residence before obtaining citizenship. Currently, according to current legislation, a foreigner must legally live in the country for 8 years in order to be entitled to German citizenship. However, in the case of special integration achievements, such as excellent academic performance at university or at work, volunteering or good knowledge of the German language (pass the B2 exam), the waiting time can be reduced to six years.
- 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.
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.
Even with the changes to the citizenship law, the naturalization procedure in Germany is quite complicated and requires the help of highly qualified lawyers. The expert will support the applicant throughout the entire application period and help with the preparation of documents.
What factors are taken into account when deciding on naturalization in Germany?
The draft law emphasizes that factors such as language skills, education, career prospects in Germany, participation in society and commitment to a basic free democratic order should be taken into account when deciding on naturalization.
In addition, anyone who wants to naturalize in Germany must be economically integrated. The applicant must earn a living for himself and his family members without benefits.
How will the law of dual German citizenship change in 2023?
Current German law generally restricts dual citizenship in all but exceptional cases. However, the proposed bill will simplify these requirements. Renunciation of previous citizenship is one of the main reasons why some foreigners do not apply for naturalization.
- Applicants do not have to renounce their primary citizenship if they obtain a German passport.
It is planned to allow dual citizenship for foreigners who obtain a German passport. That is, from now on, when going through the naturalization process, it is not necessary to renounce the citizenship of the country of birth. This change is especially important for immigrants who have arrived in Germany and want to return to their homeland. They can obtain German citizenship without renouncing their ties to their country of origin.
In addition, children born in Germany will be able to retain their parents' citizenship. This approach to dual citizenship recognizes and respects the cultural heritage and ties to the parents' country of origin, while granting the children the rights and privileges associated with German citizenship. Previously, I had to choose between my parents' citizenship and German citizenship.
- Germans are not obliged to renounce their citizenship when naturalizing abroad
The bill will also have huge implications for German citizens living abroad, as one of the key changes in the new bill is that Germans will no longer lose their German citizenship if they acquire citizenship of another country. This change is a significant departure from current legislation, which generally requires individuals to renounce German citizenship when acquiring third-country citizenship.
Simplified requirements for "guest worker generation" in Germany
Applicants for naturalization from the "guest worker generation" who came to Germany under an employment agreement should receive a privilege when applying for citizenship. They will not need to take the B1 language test and the naturalization exam. This is explained by the fact that the generation of these people was not offered language courses, and their integration was not supported in any way by the German authorities.
During naturalization, it will be taken into account whether they can communicate in German orally in everyday life without significant problems.
Naturalization applicants who are over 67 must also pass easier language proficiency tests and naturalization tests.
Who are not granted privileges when registering German citizenship?
Foreigners who have committed criminal offenses for anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhuman motives will not be able to obtain German citizenship. In the future, prosecutors should actively report such crimes to immigration authorities to prevent naturalization in these cases.
The bill is aimed at simplifying the naturalization process and encouraging foreigners to actively participate in German society. These changes will provide foreigners with the same opportunities, rights and obligations as German citizens.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;
Legal advice on business in Germany;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;
Medical insurance all over the world;
Legal advice on immigration in Germany;
Insurance for foreign students in Germany.
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