Requirement for naturalization

If you are not German by birth, you are entitled to naturalization if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have been living legally in Germany for at least eight years.

  • You have an absolute right of residence in Germany (for example, as a Union citizen entitled to free movement or based on a settlement permit or a qualified residence permit, leading to an indefinite stay. However, a residence permit for study purposes is not sufficient.

  • You can earn your living and dependent family members without social assistance and Unemployment benefit. Ensure yourself: This requirement is met in particular if you are in a sufficiently paid employment relationship at the time of naturalization.

  • You have passed a naturalization test. With the successful naturalization test, you prove your knowledge of the German legal and social system. Do you have a German school leaving certificate or a degree in law, social or political sciences in Germany? In that case, you usually do not have to take a naturalization test: In this case, your school-leaving certificate or university degree from Germany is sufficient. You can find a questionnaire on the Internet to help you prepare for the naturalization test.

  • You have not been convicted of a criminal offense: If you have been convicted of a criminal offense or are being investigated in Germany or abroad on suspicion of a criminal offense, you must do so Naturalization Authority will notify you. The Naturalization Authority cannot decide on your application until the investigations have been completed.

  • You profess to be German Basic Law: The Basic Law is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. If you apply for German citizenship, you must confess in writing and orally that you do Basic Law and respect the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and refrain from anything that could harm it. Your confession is supported by the Naturalization Authority recorded.

  • You are giving up your previous citizenship: You have to give up your citizenship when you are naturalized. However, exceptions depend on the country of origin. Citizens of other EU member states and Switzerland may, for example, retain their previous citizenship when naturalizing in Germany. Exceptions also apply to certain countries such as Morocco, Iran, or Algeria. For citizens of these countries, expatriation is considered unreasonable.

Since naturalization are many peculiarities, and each case is individual, you should consult with the Naturalization Authority to lead before applying for naturalization. Minor children and spouses of immigrants entitled to naturalization can, for example, at the discretion of the authorities, also be naturalized if they have not been in Germany for eight years.

You can find out which Authority is responsible for your naturalization in the city or district administration, in the district office or the foreigners’ Authority, the commune you live in.

Regulations for children

Principle of origin and place of birth: In German nationality law, this applies in principle Descent principle. This means that a child with at least one parent with German citizenship is automatically given German citizenship at birth. The place of birth principle also applies. According to this, a child of foreign parents can automatically acquire German citizenship by being born in Germany if one parent has been lawfully living in Germany for at least eight years and one at the time of birth permanent residence permit or a permanent one residence permit owns.

Dual citizenship

Children of foreign parents born in Germany can have German citizenship and their parents’ citizenship. The prerequisite is that you grew up in Germany. According to the law, anyone who, up to the age of 21, grew up in Germany:

  • lived in Germany for eight years or

  • has attended school in Germany for six years or

  • has a school leaving certificate or vocational training completed in Germany.

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