On January 19, 2024, Germany’s parliament, in a landmark decision, approved a progressive citizenship law that significantly eases the pathways to naturalization. This development comes as a boon for those seeking permanent residence in Germany, with the changes set to simplify the process, particularly for qualified professionals under the amended Skilled Immigration Act.
Estimates from the government indicate that over 12 million people, approximately 14% of Germany’s population, lack German citizenship. Among them, about 5.3 million have resided in Germany for a decade or more. Despite their integration into German society, the lack of citizenship has restricted their full participation in German democracy.
In a bid to enhance the attractiveness of living in Germany and align the nation with other EU members, such as France, the German government is introducing substantial changes. If the proposed law is accepted and implemented, it will significantly reduce the residency requirement for acquiring German citizenship:
1. Changes in Duration of Stay:
– Most applicants will be eligible for citizenship after residing in Germany for five years, down from the current eight-year requirement.
– Accelerated naturalization may be possible for those demonstrating special integration achievements or outstanding language skills, allowing citizenship within three years.
– Children born in Germany will automatically gain citizenship if one parent has legally resided for five years before the child’s birth, reduced from the current eight years.
2. Dual Citizenship:
– A groundbreaking change is the acceptance of multiple citizenships, allowing non-EU nationals to acquire German citizenship without severing ties to their countries of origin.
– Foreign nationals applying for German citizenship will no longer need to renounce their original citizenship.
– Children acquiring German citizenship will retain their parents’ citizenship.
– German nationals seeking citizenship elsewhere can keep their German passport.
3. Relief for Guest Workers:
– The law recognizes the significant contributions of the “Gastarbeiter generation” and adjusts language requirements for this group.
– Conversational German language skills are deemed sufficient, and former guest workers are exempted from a citizenship test.
4. Other Changes:
– German citizenship will be denied to individuals married to more than one partner or exhibiting behavior inconsistent with equal rights.
– Exclusion from German citizenship is specified for certain criminal convictions related to anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, or inhumane acts.
– Full-time employment is expected to be a qualifying factor for naturalization approval.
– The credit for a previous stay in Germany is reduced from 5 to 3 years.
To navigate these changes effectively, individuals interested in German citizenship are encouraged to seek legal advice. At Jaberi Lawyers, our experienced immigration advisors can assess eligibility and assist in preparing applications, ensuring a smooth process for acquiring German citizenship. Contact us today to speak with an advisor and explore your options. ✨ #GermanCitizenship #JaberiLawyers #GlobalOpportunities #LegalExperts #ImmigrationNews #PathToCitizenship
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