Naturalization for Spouses: How to Secure German Citizenship

30 June, 2024


Are you planning to be naturalized with your foreign spouse or as the spouse of a German citizen? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the requirements, the process, and the new regulations from 2024. Get valuable tips and detailed information By Jaberi Lawyers to successfully navigate the naturalization process.


Requirements for Naturalization as a Spouse

Naturalization as the spouse of a German citizen offers a variety of advantages. To successfully complete this step, certain requirements must be met. These vary depending on whether the spouse already has German citizenship or not.

Co-Naturalization of Foreign Spouses

If you are the spouse of a foreign citizen and wish to acquire German citizenship together, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Legal residence of 4 years: The foreign spouse must live legally in Germany for at least four years.
  • Legal basis Section 10 Paragraph 2 StAG: “The spouse or registered life partner and the minor children of the foreigner can also be naturalized in accordance with Paragraph 1.”
  • Marriage for at least 2 years: The marriage must have existed for at least two years to prove the stability and seriousness of the relationship.
  • Secured livelihood by a family member: The applicant’s livelihood must be secured by a family member to ensure financial independence and security.

Naturalization with a German Spouse

If you are the spouse of a German citizen, slightly different rules apply:

  • Legal residence of 3 years: The applicant must have lived legally in Germany for at least three years.
  • Legal basis § 9 StAG: “Spouses or registered life partners of Germans should be naturalized under the conditions of § 10 paragraph 1.”
  • Marriage that has existed for at least 2 years: The marriage must have lasted at least two years.
  • Secured livelihood through a family member: Similar to co-naturalization of foreign spouses.

Additional Requirements for Both Scenarios

  • Clarification of identity and nationality: Proof of a passport or alternative identity documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.
  • Successful naturalization test: Proof of knowledge of the legal and social system and of living conditions in Germany.
  • Signed declaration of loyalty and commitment to the free democratic basic order.
  • Language skills: B1 certificate.

When naturalizing as a spouse, the spouse only needs to prove that they have been legally resident for 4 years and the marriage must have lasted at least 2 years. Did you also know that when naturalizing as a spouse, only one family member has to provide for the family’s livelihood?

The Process of Naturalization as a Spouse

The process of acquiring German citizenship as a spouse requires careful preparation and specific steps.

Steps to Apply

  1. Applying to the responsible naturalization authority: Submit the application to the local naturalization authority. Make an appointment in good time.
  2. Submission of required documents: Ensure all required documents are submitted completely and correctly. Incomplete submissions may delay the process.
  3. Include a claim for failure to act: If there is no response from the naturalization authority after 12 weeks of processing, consider including a claim for failure to act.
  4. Processing time and fees: Processing time varies depending on the authority and individual situation.

Required Documents

  • Valid passport and residence permit: Basic requirements.
  • Marriage certificate: Must be presented in the original or as a certified copy.
  • Proof of language skills (B1): Required certificate of sufficient language skills.
  • Proof of simplified language skills: If applicable under the new naturalization law.
  • Proof of successfully completed naturalization test: Unless there is an exception.
  • Signed declaration of loyalty.
  • Proof of income and secure livelihood: Includes pay slips, tax assessments, or other evidence confirming financial stability.

New Regulations in the Naturalization Act 2024

The new naturalization law comes into force on June 27, 2024, providing changes to the requirements for naturalization in Section 10 of the StAG.

Simplifications and Changes

  • Dual citizenship is permitted: You no longer have to give up your previous nationality.
  • Adjustments to the proof requirements: Easier proof of language skills for certain groups.
  • Naturalization after 5 years: Reduced from 8 years to 5 years of legal residence.
  • Naturalization after 3 years: With special integration achievements such as a C1 certificate and voluntary work.

For more information and personalized guidance, reach out to Jaberi Lawyers. We are here to assist you every step of the way.