Legal Requirements for Obtaining Citizenship in Germany

Legal Requirements for Obtaining Citizenship in Germany

Updated on Monday 05th October 2015

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Legal-Requirements-for-Obtaining-Citizenship-in-GermanyThe German Nationality Act

Foreign citizens can apply for German citizenship under the new Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz) which was enabled in 2000. The simplest form of obtaining German citizenship is for one to have at least a German parent. However, foreign citizens moving to Germany can apply for citizenship if the meet all the conditions of the Nationality Act. In 2005, the Government also enabled the Immigration Act (Zuwanderungsgesetz) under which foreign citizens may apply for German residency.

For information about applying for a residence permit you can get in line with our lawyers in Germany.

Obtaining a German passport

Foreign citizens applying for citizenship in Germany must fulfill the following conditions:

  • -          they must be German residents for at least 8 years,
  • -          they have the appropriate financial means to support themselves,
  • -          they must speak German,
  • -          they must know how the German legal system works.

EU and Swiss citizens can apply for German citizenship based on their residence permits. Foreign citizens living in Germany for less than 8 years may apply for citizenship if they have a good command of German and the means to support themselves. Also, the German legislation does not encourage dual citizenship, which is why in order to obtain a German passport one must renounce his or her other nationality.

Documents required when applying for German citizenship

Foreign citizens moving to Germany are first required to obtain a residence permit. They must verify the type of residence visa they need as it could affect their right to obtain a German passport. The first step when moving to Germany is to register with the local residence registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). After registering with the local registration office they will obtain a residence permit which will also allow them to work in Germany. The documents required when moving to Germany are:

  • -          a valid passport,
  • -          proof of financial self-sustenance,
  • -          original and notarized copies of the birth certificate,
  • -          academic qualifications,
  • -          insurance,
  • -          book of vaccination, if the foreign citizen has one.

For additional information about obtaining citizenship, you can contact our law firm in Germany.


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