Foreigners Living in Germany Can Now Obtain German Citizenship More Quickly

Foreigners living in Germany are now able to become German citizens within a shorter period of time and without giving up their previous nationality.

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Germany’s new citizenship law that aims to modernise the current rules for obtaining a German passport enters into force after midnight on June 27, 2024.

In line with the new citizenship law, more people are eligible to become citizens of Germany, with the naturalisation figures expected to significantly increase in 2024, Schengen.News reports.

As the Minister of Interior of Germany, Nancy Faeser, highlighted, all foreigners living in Germany who share the same values and meet all requirements can now obtain German citizenship more quickly.

However, she stressed that there will also now no longer be tolerance for foreigners showing anti-semitic, racist, or any other malicious behaviours.

Anyone who shares our values ​​and makes an effort can now get a German passport more quickly and no longer has to give up part of their identity by giving up their old nationality. But we have also made it just as clear: anyone who does not share our values ​​cannot get a German passport.

Minister of Interior of Germany, Nancy Faeser

What Are the Main Changes?

Germany’s new citizenship law includes ten key points, each and every one of them having their own importance. Some of the key points of Germany’s new citizenship law are as follows:

Possibility to Hold Multiple Nationality

The new citizenship law allows foreign nationals living in Germany who apply for citizenship to hold multiple citizenship. This means that naturalisation applicants will not have to give up their previous citizenship when they become German citizens.

Accelerated Procedure

Naturalisation applicants are not able to obtain German citizenship more quickly. Under the accelerated procedure that comes as part of the new law, foreigners are now eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of legally residing in Germany instead of the previous eight years.

For foreigners who are married to German citizens, the waiting period to apply for German citizenship is reduced to four years.

As for people who are fully integrated into German society, show outstanding job performance, are involved in voluntary work, support themselves financially, and speak German at a high proficiency level, the naturalisation period has been reduced to only three years.

Quicker Path to Citizenship for Children Born in Germany to Foreign Parents, Too

All children who are born in Germany to foreign parents can now obtain German citizenship and, at the same time also, retain the citizenship of their parents, provided that one parent has been legally residing in Germany for over five years instead of the previous eight years and holds an unlimited right of residence.

Expanded German Citizenship Test

The list of questions included in the naturalisation test has been expanded. The new test will now include questions on topics such as anti-semitism, Israel, and Jews in Germany.

Recognition for “Guest Worker” Generation

In line with the new citizenship law, the guest workers generation, which mainly includes nationals of Türkiye who moved in the 1960s to West Germany to work in industry, are no longer required to take the citizenship test.

In order to obtain German citizenship, this group of foreigners will only have to prove that they have good German language-speaking skills.

The easing of the rules for guest workers has been made in an effort to recognise their “lifetime achievements” in Germany.

What Makes Foreigners Ineligible for Obtaining German Citizenship?

As the Minister of Interior of Germany, Nancy Faeser, noted, there are several restrictions that will apply to naturalisation applicants.

Applicants for naturalisation must provide that they have no criminal record. Foreign nationals must also prove that they are able to secure their own livelihoods and must not receive any government financial assistance.

In addition, asylum seekers who have remained within the territory of Germany for a long period of time due to a ban on deportations are not eligible to apply for German citizenship.