In this picture, a hand holds German and Ukrainian passports. Dual citizenship in 2023 would offer great advantages for many foreigners.

Dual citizenship 2023: This will change for you with the planned new law!

New naturalization law coming on 27.06.2024!

Update from 26.03.2024 to our blog post:

We have important news for you! The new Naturalization Act 2024 was published today in the Federal Law Gazette! This means that it will come into force on 27.06.2024!

Better protection against expropriation

The possibility of having dual citizenship not only protects your cultural identity, but also offers significant legal advantages. One particularly important aspect is protection against expropriation. By retaining your original citizenship alongside your German citizenship, you avoid the risk of being expropriated by giving up your citizenship. This is particularly important in countries where the risk of the state seizing private assets is higher.

Advantages with Erbe

There are also considerable advantages in the area of inheritance law. By retaining your original citizenship, you continue to secure inheritance rights in your home country. This enables an uncomplicated transfer of assets and property in accordance with the legal provisions there. This continuity is particularly important when it comes to preserving family assets such as residential property.

Visa exemption

In addition, dual citizenship opens up access to visa-free travel, an advantage that should not be underestimated. With a German passport, you can travel to many countries without having to deal with the often tedious and time-consuming visa procedures. This applies not only to trips to your country of origin, but also to business trips or vacations in other countries.

What happens next?

If you would like to know whether you can be naturalized and are eligible for dual citizenship, take our free test now.

Dual citizenship is planned to be implemented by the federal government in the summer of 2024 through the planned new Naturalization Act. Find out here about all the planned innovations relating to dual citizenship. The article explains the changes that the new law provides for and why it is so important for you as a foreigner.

Table of contents
Dual citizenship 2023: This will change for you with the planned new law!

Play Video

Basis of dual citizenship

In order for you to understand the changes that dual citizenship entails, it is crucial to get to know the meaning of the word. This includes the meaning of dual citizenship and how dual citizenship will be enshrined in German law in 2023. You will then also understand the background and why the new law planned by the German government is so important for you and many other foreigners at Naturalization .

Meaning of the term

The term citizenship describes the connection that a person has to a state or a country. It is therefore a connection to a community of people in a country. 

The concept of citizenship dates back to ancient Greece. Even then, there was a kind of citizenship between the citizen and the state. Everything was expanded in ancient Rome with the Corpus Iuris Civilis (civil law). Over the years there were further extensions. Modern citizenship can be traced back to the Code Civil introduced by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Dual citizenship is described as follows on the website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education. People with dual citizenship are people who hold two passports and therefore have two citizenships and are also called dual nationals.

Current legal basis

German law currently stipulates that multiple nationality and dual citizenship should be avoided. This is laid down in the paragraph that defines the requirements for Naturalization in Germany: Section 10 StAG. Section 10 StAG para. 4 states that foreigners must, if possible, renounce the citizenship of their home country.

German law does not legally recognize dual citizenship. As in some cases it is not possible to give up the citizenship of the home country, various exceptions have been laid down in § 12 StAG. In these cases, dual citizenship is automatic. EU citizens, Swiss citizens and recognized refugees do not have to renounce their citizenship in order to be naturalized.

In this photo you can see various travel accessories. A German passport, a cell phone, a camera and a pair of sunglasses. Everything is lying on a table

Dual citizenship: the 3 innovations

The law planned by the federal government in May 2023 provides for 3 different innovations or changes for dual citizenship in 2023. The changes are directly related to the currently prescribed paragraph on the requirements for German citizenship from the Citizenship Act.

Dual citizenship: changes to Section 10 StAG

The Federal Government's plan is to delete paragraph 4 of Section 10 of the Citizenship Act. Dual citizenship is to be automatically enshrined in law in 2023. This means that the above-mentioned paragraph on the conditions for applying for Naturalization will no longer apply. 

Until now, foreigners have been required to give up their citizenship of their country of origin, but the dual citizenship planned by the government in 2023 means that it will no longer be necessary to give up citizenship.

For many foreigners who apply for Naturalization , this project is a great relief. You have one less thing to think about when applying for Naturalization and you have the certainty that you can keep your citizenship of your home country if you want to.

Dual citizenship 2023: Innovations in § 12 StAG

The exceptions from Section 12 StAG will no longer be necessary due to the planned new dual citizenship in 2023. With the abolition of Section 10 (4) StAG, you will no longer need to pay attention to exceptions. 

If the bill on dual citizenship is passed by the Bundestag in 2023, dual citizenship will be enshrined in law and it will not matter whether or not your home country provides for you to renounce your citizenship. You do not have to renounce the citizenship of your country of origin and can become a German citizen with the citizenship of your home country without any problems.

Dual citizenship 2023: No loss of citizenship

The dual citizenship planned in the new law for 2023 no longer provides for the loss of citizenship or renunciation of citizenship of the country of origin. 

For you, this means that you only need to remember to present proof of your identity (valid passport, or valid identity card, or valid replacement document) when you visit Naturalization . You are no longer forced to renounce your citizenship of your home country and Foreigners' office can no longer expect you to take this step.

How does dual citizenship work with the new law?
Want to know how dual citizenship will work for you with the planned new law? Take our free test! We will then get in touch with you and show you the way to Naturalization.

Dual citizenship 2023: New naturalization law

The innovations for dual citizenship are only part of the changes that the federal government is planning for Naturalization . Various changes are planned that will affect the entire Naturalization process. If the law passes through the Bundestag at the end of the year as planned, it will then have a decisive and important impact on foreigners applying for Naturalization .

Why was the new naturalization law planned?

The background to the new naturalization law is that the German government wants to make it easier for foreigners to become German citizens Naturalization . The aim is to convince foreigners to come to Germany and create a way to address the shortage of skilled workers in Germany and make Germany attractive for qualified specialists. 

The aim is also to make it easier for people with Turkish citizenship, for example, who have long made an important contribution to German society to obtain German citizenship.

What changes are there in the new Naturalization Act?

As already described, one change is the abolition of § 10 Para. 4 StAG and § 12 StAG. There is no requirement for you to renounce the citizenship of your home country if you want to become a German citizen.

Another change would be the number of years for legal residence. With the new regulation, you can apply for Naturalization after just 5 years instead of the current 8 years. It is crucial that you meet all other requirements for Naturalization. Please note that the new law means that you no longer have to resign your citizenship of your country of origin.

If you can prove that you have a high level of professional qualifications, are involved in voluntary work (for example in the volunteer fire department) and demonstrate special integration achievements (this can include a C1 language certificate or even better), you can be naturalized after just 3 years. 

The current situation is that the duration of residence for special integration services is reduced from 8 to 6 years. Dual citizenship in 2023 would then reduce the duration of residence from 5 to 3 years. This would make it possible to Naturalization after 3 years.

There is a further change for individual foreigners with regard to language certificates. For all foreigners who are at least 67 years old, the language certificate is to be made easier and a naturalization test is no longer mandatory for these people. Furthermore, there are to be hardship regulations for younger naturalization applicants with regard to language certificates. 

A hardship case regulation could be the need for care of a family member. In this case, proof of language skills should be sufficient if you can communicate in German without any problems in everyday life.

When will the new Naturalization Act come into force?

The new naturalization law was planned for May 2023. According to statements made by Hakan Demir, a member of the Bundestag from the SPD, in response to a question on Abgeordnetenwatch, the plan was for the bill to go to the cabinet in July. After the summer break, it is planned that the draft will be discussed in the Bundestag. He assumes that the naturalization reform will pass through the Bundestag and be implemented at the end of the year.

This schedule could not be adhered to. The law is expected to come into force on 01.06.2024 or 01.07.2024.

This picture shows a bust of a woman with a judge's scales and sword. In the background you can see a dark blue and clear sky.

The previous legal basis for dual citizenship

The current legal basis for dual citizenship is set out in the Citizenship Act. The options for becoming German are also set out there. The change planned for dual citizenship in 2023 would significantly change the German law's stance on dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship is not enshrined in law

Dual citizenship is not yet enshrined in law. Section 10 (4) StAG applies. According to this, the aim is for the applicant of Naturalization to give up the citizenship of their country of origin. 

In return, the applicant receives an assurance of naturalization, which guarantees that he or she is entitled to receive German citizenship. In summary, this means that, in principle, German legislation does not recognize dual citizenship. With the planned change, Germany would join the majority of EU states where dual citizenship is enshrined in law and recognized.

The different ways to become German

There are various ways to become German. One way is the place of birth principle. Every person born in Germany automatically becomes a German citizen at birth. Another option is the principle of descent. This principle means that if you have parents or grandparents from a certain country, you have the chance to become a citizen of that country. 

Another way to become German is if you marry a German citizen. In this case, you will receive a residence permit after the marriage and can become a German citizen if you can prove 3 years of legal residence and have been married for two years. There are other ways to become a German citizen if you have been legally resident for 8 years and meet all the requirements, or if you have a work permit (here too, you must have been legally resident for 8 years).

The former option obligation

Until 2014, so-called lus-soli Germans (Germans who become German by birth) had to choose between the citizenship of their parents and German citizenship. This was stipulated in the new regulation in the second law amending the Citizenship Act in November 2014.

Since November 2014, Ius-soli Germans who have grown up in Germany no longer have to choose between German citizenship and another citizenship they hold. According to Section 29 StAG, people are considered to have grown up in Germany if they have usually resided in Germany for eight years, have attended a German school for six years or have completed a school-leaving qualification or vocational training in Germany.

In this picture, a German and American passport is held in one person's hand.

Dual citizenship 2023: Dual nationals in Germany

There are already many people living in Germany with dual citizenship. For a variety of reasons, they have benefited from the exceptions set out in Section 12 StAG or are citizens of an EU country that recognizes dual citizenship or citizens of Switzerland.

The 15 strongest countries with dual nationals in Germany

Data from Statista as part of the annual microcensus shows that 2,738,000 people in Germany were dual nationals in 2022. Poland had the highest number of dual nationals. The country is in first place with 386,000 dual nationals, ahead of Russia with 316,000 dual nationals, Turkey with 290,000 dual nationals, Italy with 183,000 dual nationals and Romania with 123,000 dual nationals. 

Syria has made a leap since 2015 and the refugee crisis. At 52,000, the number of Syrian dual nationals is now higher than the number of Spanish, Croatian or Austrian dual nationals.

The 4 countries with the fewest dual nationals in Germany

The last place in terms of the number of dual nationals is shared by Lebanon, Kosovo and the Czech Republic, each with 17,000 dual nationals in Germany. Thailand is in second-last place with 18,000 dual nationals in Germany. When the law on simplified Naturalization is implemented at the end of the year, it can be assumed that these figures will rise again.

Dual citizenship 2023: Advantages of the new law

Dual citizenship 2023 brings many positive things and is worthwhile for many foreigners. It makes sense for many people to apply for German citizenship while retaining the citizenship of their home country. There are many possibilities with two nationalities.

The Naturalization is simplified

Currently, the requirement under the Nationality Act to renounce the nationality of their home country is a hurdle for many foreigners on the way to Naturalization . As many countries do not allow this procedure, there are very long waiting times to clarify whether an exception such as § 12 StAG applies.

Another reason is that many foreigners are reluctant to renounce the citizenship of their home country. Under the current regulations, they are forced to do so depending on the requirements of their home country. 

For this reason, some people have not taken the step and opted for Naturalization . With the new law on dual citizenship in 2023, these people would have a chance to Naturalization without having to give up the citizenship of their country of origin.

You can benefit from both citizenships

With the new law, you can Naturalization benefit from the advantages of your home country and Germany. You can take part in political elections in your home country and political elections in Germany. You also have the opportunity to settle inheritance matters in your home country without being disadvantaged. 

You have the same rights as any other citizen of your home country, and at the same time you also have the same rights as any German citizen, as you are a German citizen with the Naturalization .

In this picture, a team is discussing solutions in the office. The people are looking at a laptop

Dual citizenship 2023: Challenges posed by the new law

As nice as the advantages of the new naturalization law would be, there are also disadvantages to the planned new regulation. These disadvantages affect both people who are then able to apply for Naturalization and thus become dual nationals, as well as people who want to apply for Naturalization after 5 years or 3 years (depending on the requirements). People who decide to apply for Naturalization shortly before the new law comes into force may also be affected.

The Naturalization takes longer

When the new law comes into force, more foreigners will automatically be entitled to apply for Naturalization . This will result in even longer waiting times at the naturalization authorities. The naturalization authorities are already unable to keep up with the processing of naturalization applications.

Based on our many years of experience, we can assume that the new law will make it impossible to reach Naturalization under the age of 4 without legal assistance from Migrando . 

Even now, Naturalization works faster with Migrando than without legal help, and this will increase in the future. 4 years is a very long time. This waiting time will cost you a lot of nerves and stress. Our advice: apply for Naturalization as soon as possible if you meet the requirements.

Dangers from the home country

Even if it is advantageous to have dual citizenship and retain the citizenship of your home country, it can also be dangerous. Examples of this are cases in Iran, where a citizen with Iranian and German citizenship can be in danger for political reasons. 

Similar things can also happen in other countries if you are politically persecuted. In these cases, you are not completely exempt from the danger of being persecuted by your home country, as you still have the citizenship of your home country.

Countries with complications regarding dual citizenship

There are countries such as China, but also EU countries such as the Netherlands or Austria, which do not recognize dual citizenship and have a different position than the one planned for dual citizenship in 2023 in the new Naturalization Act. 

There are also countries in which the lus soli principle is still applied. Examples of this are Tanzania, Pakistan and Sudan. People there are forced to choose between two nationalities from a certain age. 

In these cases, it is important to check with the embassies of your home country at Naturalization whether you will lose the citizenship of your country of origin as a result of Naturalization . Regardless of the complications, however, dual citizenship would also work with these countries in the end. 

Summary of dual citizenship 2023

As you can see, the topic of dual citizenship in 2023 is very complex. Here we have summarized the most important points on the topic for you briefly and concisely:

  1. In the newly planned law, Section 10 (4) StAG would be removed as a requirement for Naturalization .
  2. The exemption provision in Section 12 StAG would also no longer be necessary due to the abolition of Section 10 (4).
  3. You would no longer have to give up your citizenship of your home country at Naturalization .
  4. With the renewal, dual citizenship would be recognized in the Citizenship Act.
  5. The new Naturalization Act enables a faster application for Naturalization after 5 years instead of the current 8 years.
  6. With integration services, Naturalization can be applied for after just 3 years instead of the current 6 years.
  7. When the new law comes into force, it must be expected that the duration of Naturalization will be even longer than is currently the case. This is due to a further increase in applications
Do you still have questions about dual citizenship in 2023?
Do you still have questions about dual citizenship with the new law? Our legal experts will be happy to advise you and provide you with answers.

FAQ - The most important questions and answers on dual citizenship

The Federal Government's plans for the Naturalization Act with dual citizenship were announced in May 2023. In July, it was planned that the bill would be passed by the cabinet and the Bundestag would debate the issue after the summer break. The law is expected to be implemented on 01.06.2024 or 01.07.2024.

Yes, the new law would enshrine dual citizenship in the Citizenship Act. It would then be possible to apply for Naturalization and retain the nationality of the country of origin at Naturalization . The citizenship of the country of origin would then no longer have to be surrendered under German law in order to become German.

With all countries. With the new law, there would no longer be the problem that dual citizenship with any country is not possible from a German perspective. The hurdle of renouncing the citizenship of the home country would be removed.

The new law would introduce the novelty of dual citizenship, which is enshrined in the nationality law. Furthermore, with the new naturalization law, Naturalization would be possible after 5 years instead of the current 8 years. With special integration achievements, Naturalization would be possible after 3 years instead of the current 6 years.

Dual citizenship with German citizenship is currently available to EU citizens, Swiss citizens and recognized refugees. In addition, foreigners who qualify for exceptions as described in § 12 StAG are also automatically granted dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship would work with all countries. However, there are countries such as the Netherlands, Austria and China whose legislation does not provide for dual citizenship. There are also countries such as Tanzania, Pakistan and Sudan that still apply the lus soli principle and where, from a certain age, the citizen must decide which citizenship they wish to retain. The regulation is more complicated in these countries. Nevertheless, the new law would also make dual citizenship possible in these cases.

Free test

Check your requirements for Settlement permit and Naturalization online.

Our Channels Now in English!

Migrando now in English! Explore our new channels for all your questions about naturalization, permanent residence, and other areas of immigration law. Find expert information and guidance, now accessible in English.

Unfortunately, time is up!

Unfortunately, you have exceeded the allotted time. Unanswered questions are considered incorrect. You have 1 hour to complete the naturalization test.