German Nationality Law Reform Overview

23 January, 2024


The Bundestag has approved the traffic light coalition’s plans to reform nationality law, aiming to enhance Germany’s status as a sustainable immigration country. The Federal Government’s Integration Commissioner, Reem Alabali-Radovan (SPD), emphasized the historical perspective during the debate.

Key Changes in Naturalization Periods

  • Reduced Residency Requirement: Foreigners living legally in Germany can now apply for a German passport after five years, down from the previous eight years.
  • Accelerated Naturalization:Special integration services” can lead to naturalization after three years, based on factors like language proficiency, volunteer work, or exceptional performance.

Dual Nationality and Streamlined Citizenship for Children

  • Principle of Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is now possible in principle, acknowledging emotional ties to the country of origin.
  • Simplified Citizenship for Children:Children born in Germany to foreign parents can obtain German citizenship if at least one parent has lived legally in Germany for more than five years, down from eight.

Commitment to Democratic Values

  • Reinforced Values:* The draft reinforces commitment to Germany’s democratic values, specifying actions incompatible with the basic law’s guarantee of human dignity.
  • Historical Responsibility: A new requirement emphasizes Germany’s historical responsibility, especially for the protection of Jewish life.

Special Provisions for the “Guest Worker Generation

  • Honoring Contributions:Older migrants, the “guest worker generation,” are exempt from written German and naturalization tests to honor their contributions.

Exceptions and Self-Sufficiency for German Citizenship

  • tipulated Exceptions:* Exceptions to self-sufficiency for obtaining German citizenship are outlined, including provisions for pre-1974 “guest workers” and former GDR contract workers.

Withdrawal of Naturalization

  • Revocation Possibilities:The draft maintains the possibility of revoking naturalization within ten years for fraudulent deception or incorrect information.
  • Commitment Requirements: False declarations regarding commitment to the free-democratic basic order can also lead to withdrawal.

Statistics and Conclusion

  • Citizenship Landscape: Approximately twelve million people in Germany hold foreign citizenship, with around 5.3 million residing for at least ten years.
  • Naturalization Rate: Despite these numbers, Germany’s naturalization rate remains below the EU average, according to the Federal Interior Minister.

Jaberi Lawyers – Your Partner for Immigration Assistance

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At Jaberi Lawyers, we specialize in immigration law and visa matters. If you need assistance navigating the complexities of the German immigration system, feel free to reach out to us for expert guidance tailored to your specific needs.