Naturalization – How to finally become a German citizen

Personen zeigen deutschen Pass nach Einbürgerung

With naturalization, you finally receive German citizenship and a German passport. In this comprehensive article, we explain everything you need to know about naturalization. We show you what advantages you have with naturalization and what requirements you must meet. Naturalization is a long and complicated process. But with our help, you will learn how to finally become a German citizen!

Table of contents

What is naturalization?

Naturalization allows you to obtain German citizenship and a German passport. As soon as you are naturalized, you are legally 100% equal to a German. You have all the rights and duties of a German. From the moment of naturalization, you can invoke basic rights like any German. They cannot be deported from the moment of naturalization. You will never have to visit an immigration office again, you will never need a work permit again and you can bring your family to Germany immediately.

Why do you have all these rights after naturalization?

Because from this moment on you are German. Very many foreigners already have the goal of becoming German at some point from the moment they enter Germany. The fewer legal mistakes you make from the moment you enter the country, the faster you can be naturalized. You are not only treated as a German within Germany, but also enjoy the benefits of German citizenship abroad. On the one hand it is much easier for you as a German to travel abroad and on the other hand you will never again have problems entering Germany. There are very many temporary and permanent residence rights in Germany, but none offers as many advantages as naturalization. After naturalization, you no longer have a residence status, but you are a holder of German citizenship.

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How can I become a naturalized citizen in Germany?

There are many ways to become a naturalized citizen in Germany. Section 3 of the Nationality Act (StAG) regulates how you can become a naturalized citizen. You can become German through:

Application for naturalization

The most relevant and common option is for you to apply for naturalization. The legal basis for this can be found in particular in §§ 8 – 16, 40b and 40c StAG. When applying for naturalization, the competent authority checks a great many requirements and documents. Even though it is the most common option for naturalization, it is also the hardest to become naturalized through an application at the same time.

If you are interested in German citizenship, you will most likely have to become a naturalized citizen. On migrando.de you will find a lot of valuable tips on how to solve problems with naturalization.

Birth in Germany

Many people think that when you are born in Germany, you also get German citizenship. Unfortunately, this is not true. In contrast to the USA, where the so-called principle of descent applies, in Germany you do not automatically become a German at birth. In principle, you automatically become a German citizen at birth if one parent already has German citizenship (§ 4 StAG). There are other ways to become German by birth (e.g. as a foundling).

In other cases

There are other ways to become a German. These are rare exceptions, but you should be aware of them. Finally, it is not impossible that an exception applies to you. It is a pity if you could be naturalized but do not know it. Further possibilities to obtain German citizenship exist according to:

  1. § 4 para. 1 StAG
    If you were born in Germany and at least one parent is German.
  2. § 4 para. 2 StAG
    If you are a foundling. Foundlings are children abandoned by parents and found by strangers.
  3. § 4 para. 3 StAG
    If you were born in Germany and at least one parent has had legal residence in Germany for 8 years.
  4. § 5 para. 1 No. 1 StAG
    If you were born in Germany and at least one of your parents is German, but you accidentally did not obtain German citizenship.
  5. § 5 para. 1 No. 2 StAG
    If you were born in Germany but lost your citizenship because the child’s mother lost her German citizenship by marrying a foreigner.
  6. § 5 para. 1 No. 3 StAG
    You were once German, but your German citizenship was revoked at the request of your parents. Because you were once German, in that case you can get German citizenship again.
  7. § 5 para. 1 No. 4 StAG
    In addition, there are other, but exceptional special cases, § 5 para. 1 No. 1-3 StAG
  8. § 6 StAG
    If you are adopted by a German.
  9. § 15 para. 1 or 2 Federal Displaced Persons Act
    If you have been expelled or deported from Germany.
  10. Art. 2 of the Law on the Prevention of Statelessness
    As a stateless person, if you have been living legally in Germany for 5 years and are under 21 years of age.
  11. § Section 21 of the Act on the Legal Status of Homeless Foreigners in the Federal Territory
    As a homeless person, if you have lived legally in Germany for 7 years.

When are you allowed to apply for naturalization in Germany?

There are very many ways to become a naturalized citizen. For the first time, you can become a naturalized citizen after 3 years according to the Nationality Act. It is most likely that you will be naturalized after 6-8 years of legal residence in Germany. It is important to know when you meet the requirements for naturalization, as you should apply for naturalization approximately 1 year in advance.

The naturalization procedure is very complicated because Germany wants to rule out the possibility that you will be wrongly naturalized without an extensive examination. Due to its complexity, the naturalization process without a lawyer usually takes 1 to 2 years. Due to the wave of refugees since 2015, more and more foreigners will apply for naturalization in the years from 2022. So far, about 100,000 people have been naturalized each year. Within the next 4 years, it is expected that a total of 1 million people will be naturalized, which means that an enormous overload of the responsible authorities is to be expected. Do not wait, but get naturalized as soon as possible.

***Statista

The advantages of naturalization

After naturalization, you no longer need a right of residence. You are German and not a foreigner! You will also receive a German national passport. This results in many valuable benefits:

  1. You are full German
    After naturalization you have all the rights and obligations of a German.
  2. Deportations abroad are excluded
    Since you are a German citizen, you can no longer be deported.
  3. Simplified family reunification
    Naturalization makes it significantly easier for you to bring your family to Germany.
  4. At last you can take out loans even more easily
    Loans allow you to make major purchases, such as buying a house or condo.
  5. Free to enter and leave Germany whenever you want
    Finally, you are allowed to travel to any country in the world, including your home country.
  6. Travel abroad for an indefinite period
    Finally, you are allowed to travel abroad for more than 6 months without the approval of the immigration authorities.
  7. Emigrate abroad without losing German citizenship
    As a German, you may emigrate to any country in the world without losing your German citizenship.
  8. Working legally in Germany and abroad
    They can change their job or start a business without any problems.
  9. German citizenship is not bound to any purpose
    After naturalization, German citizenship does not simply cease when studies, training, employment or marriage ends.
  10. Planning security for the future
    Your center of life can no longer be terminated by a third party. Once naturalized, always naturalized!
  11. No more appointments at the foreigners authority
    After naturalization, you will be spared the trip to the Foreigners’ Registration Office forever. As a German, the Aliens’ Registration Office is no longer responsible for you.
  12. As a German citizen you are also a citizen of the European Union
    You not only have all the rights of a German in Germany, but all the rights and obligations of an EU citizen under EU law.
  13. Once a German, always a German
    German citizenship can no longer be withdrawn from you in Germany.
When do I get German citizenship?
We check for you according to which legal regulation you can be naturalized most quickly. Let us advise you!

Condition naturalization

As explained earlier, there are numerous ways to become a naturalized citizen. In the following, we explain the conditions under which you will generally be naturalized. In order to become a naturalized citizen, you must meet a great many requirements. The requirements you must meet depend on which legal basis applies to you. In principle, the requirements for naturalization are based on the Nationality Act (StAG). If no special regulations apply to you, you will be naturalized after 8 years at the earliest according to § 10 StAG, if you fulfill all requirements.

Naturalization after 8 years (§ 10 Citizenship Act)

You can read the legal requirements directly in § 10 StAG. Since the requirements are sometimes very complicated for a layman to understand, we have simplified the most important requirements for you below:

  1. You must have lived legally in Germany for 8 years.
  2. You must be financially integrated, i.e. secure your livelihood from your own resources.
  3. You must have made (partial) provisions for your old age. Exception: You are a pupil, trainee or student.
  4. You are generally allowed to not have a criminal record, i.e. not have been sentenced to fines of more than 90 daily rates or to imprisonment for more than 3 months….
  5. They must be culturally integrated, i.e. they must prove that they speak German by means of a language certificate (B1) and have completed an integration course.
  6. You must have a valid passport or passport replacement.

We have deliberately not mentioned all requirements with all details and special exceptions at this point. Due to the complexity, it is very difficult to understand under which conditions you can be naturalized. To help you find out as quickly as possible whether you can become a naturalized citizen, we have created our free naturalization test for you due to the enormous complexity involved.

To find out immediately if you are eligible for naturalization, simply take our free test now.

What is the fastest way to obtain naturalization?

In addition to naturalization after 8 years, there are many other ways to obtain German citizenship. If you do not have one of the rare exceptions in which you become a German without applying for naturalization, there are various ways to apply for naturalization. The fastest option for naturalization is from a legal residence of 3 years. In the following, we explain the different entitlement bases with the most important prerequisites.

Naturalization already after 3 years

If you have a German spouse, you can be naturalized very quickly if you meet the following requirements according to § 9 StAG.

  • 3 years legal residence in Germany
  • Marriage or registered partnership has existed for 2 years
  • The family support must be secured from own means
  • In principle, you must not have a criminal record, i.e. you must not have been sentenced to fines of more than 90 daily rates or to imprisonment for more than 3 months
  • You must have a valid passport or passport replacement

Naturalization already after 6 years

In addition, there is a possibility that you will receive naturalization after only 6 years. For this you must according to § 10 para. 3 Sentence 2 StAG prove that you are particularly well integrated. Overall, you must meet the following requirements in particular:

  • You must have lived legally in Germany for 6 years .
  • You must be financially integrated, i.e. secure your livelihood from your own resources.
  • You must have made (partial) provisions for your old age. Exception: You are a pupil, trainee or student
  • You are generally allowed to not have a criminal record, i.e. not have been sentenced to fines of more than 90 daily rates or to imprisonment for more than 3 months
  • You must have a valid passport or passport replacement.
  • You must be particularly well integrated

For naturalization after 6 years, all normal requirements according to § 10 StAG must be met. In addition, you are particularly well integrated. The easiest way to prove this is to have at least a B2 language certificate. However, other, special proofs of integration are also conceivable. This may include, for example, the following evidence:

  • particularly good academic performance
  • particularly good performance during the training
  • particularly good performance during studies
  • volunteer activities in non-profit organizations or associations

Naturalization already after 7 years

Furthermore, it is possible to be naturalized after 7 years and not after 8 years. For this you must according to § 10 para. 3 Sentence 1 StAG prove that you have completed an integration course. Overall, you must meet the following requirements in particular:

  1. You must have lived legally in Germany for 7 years.
  2. You must be financially integrated, i.e. secure your livelihood from your own resources.
  3. You must have made (partial) provisions for your old age. Exception: You are a pupil, trainee or student
  4. You are generally allowed to not have a criminal record, i.e. not have been sentenced to fines of more than 90 daily rates or to imprisonment for more than 3 months
  5. You must have a valid passport or passport replacement.
  6. You must have passed an integration course

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How can children be naturalized?

In contrast to permanent residence rights, which are only possible from the age of 16, children can be naturalized at birth. There are numerous naturalization options for children. First, we explain the normal naturalization of children. Under the following exceptions you will find further possibilities how children can be naturalized in Germany.

What applies to children younger than 16 years old?

Children who have not yet reached the age of 16 can also be naturalized. However, the legal representative, usually the parents, must file the application on behalf of the children.

What applies to children older than 16 years old?

Children who have reached the age of 16 can independently submit an application for naturalization to the competent authority in accordance with § 10 StAG, just like an adult. This means that every minor applicant for naturalization who is 16 years old or older must fill out a separate application form. In principle, the same requirements apply as for adults.

However, the following requirements do not have to be met, or only partially met, regardless of whether the child is younger or older than 16:

Living costs

The requirements for children are significantly mitigated, as they are usually unable to secure their own livelihood from their own resources. As a rule, it is sufficient if the child is not responsible for the fact that his or her livelihood is not secured.

Pension insurance contributions

In principle, it can be assumed that minor children are exempt from this, since they did not have the opportunity to pay into the German pension insurance due to their age.

Language certificates

For children, it is sufficient if sufficient oral and written language skills can be demonstrated. This does not necessarily require the presentation of a language certificate (B1). Sufficient is also:

  • In the case of minor children who have not yet been able to obtain a school leaving certificate due to their age (younger than 16 years), a leaving certificate does not have to be submitted. It is sufficient if the minor has been promoted to the next higher grade for four consecutive years and has achieved at least the grade “sufficient” (4) in the subject German.
  • A secondary school leaving certificate or an equivalent German school leaving certificate and at least the grade “sufficient” (4) in German.
  • Promotion to the 10th grade of a secondary school (Gymnasium, Realschule, Gesamtschule) and at least the grade “sufficient” (4) in German.
  • The successful completion of a university or university of applied sciences degree at a German-speaking faculty. The same applies in the case of successful completion of vocational training, whereby retraining measures are not sufficient. Since it can only be assumed in very few exceptional cases that such a degree will be obtained before the 18th birthday, the requirement does not generally help minors.
Integration test

An integration test is usually not necessary if the minor:

  • can provide evidence of a German school leaving certificate or
  • has completed German vocational training or
  • has completed a German degree or
  • Moved to the next higher grade at least four years in a row

was.

How do I find out when I can get naturalization?

In detail, the requirements differ greatly depending on the respective basis of entitlement that applies to you. Depending on the basis of entitlement, you can sometimes be naturalized after just 3 years. To make it easier to understand, we have created an overview from which you can see which requirements you have to meet, depending on the relevant basis of entitlement. We have only included the most important claim bases in the chart.

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Special regulations and further exceptions

You have now learned that there are many different eligibility bases for naturalization. Under some eligibility bases, you can naturalize relatively quickly (3 years); under other eligibility bases, naturalization takes 6-8 years. Furthermore, there are many other regulations that simplify some of the requirements in the aforementioned bases of entitlement or even eliminate them altogether. The main exceptions and special regulations are:

Exemptions for sick, old and disabled people

In § 10 para. 6 StAG, you are exempt from certain requirements if you can prove that you are disadvantaged because of a physical, mental or psychological illness or because of a disability or because of age. In that case, you do not have to meet the following requirements:

  • No presentation of a language certificate
  • No presentation of an integration test “Living in Germany

Exemption for spouses, life partners and minor children

In addition, spouses, life partners and minor children can also be naturalized under simpler conditions. This is specified in § 10 para.2 StAG regulated. In this context, one exception is particularly valuable. For the spouse, domestic partner and minor children, the following requirement must be met by the applicant only, i.e. not by the spouse, domestic partner and minor children:

  • You do not have to have been a legal resident in Germany for 8 years.

Exemption for pupils, trainees and students

Furthermore, there is a very interesting exemption for pupils, students and trainees. You will not find this exception explicitly in the law. In § 10 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 3 StAG, however, stipulates that state benefits are harmless if they are not justifiable. Therefore, the following applies to naturalization for pupils, trainees and students:

  • No contribution payments to the pension insurance are required
  • Living expenses may be covered by BAföG or BAB, i.e. no income is required for pupils, students and trainees.

Free test

You do not know whether and under what conditions you can obtain naturalization? According to which regulation do you have to apply for naturalization now? We have a solution for that! We recommend that you take our free test at this point. If you are eligible for naturalization, you will receive a free consultation after the test, in which we will examine in detail how you can most quickly and easily obtain German citizenship and what requirements you must meet.

When do I get the settlement permit?
We check for you according to which legal regulation you can obtain the settlement permit the fastest and easiest way. Let us advise you!

Application for naturalization: How can I obtain naturalization immediately?

If you meet the requirements, extensive legal steps are necessary for you to become a naturalized citizen.

Naturalization – requirements from 2022

Since laws and regulations change at any time, we explain how you can become a naturalized citizen from 2022. We recommend our clients to start the naturalization process as soon as possible if the requirements are currently met. Changes in the law may at any time mean that you no longer meet the requirements in the future. It would be a shame if you currently meet the requirements and are unable to obtain naturalization after a change in the law. It must be determined which legal basis of entitlement is applicable in your case, i.e. according to which conditions you can be naturalized as soon as possible. The problem with this is that the competent authority may not choose the correct legal basis, which can lead to problems for you or a rejection.

Application for naturalization

In the first step, you must submit an application for naturalization to the competent authority. Be sure to obtain written proof of receipt of the application from the appropriate authority.

Written application for naturalization

Make sure that you submit the naturalization application in writing. Furthermore, you should make absolutely sure that you have the competent authority confirm in writing when the naturalization application was received. First, this ensures that you have proof of the written application for naturalization. If the competent authority takes more than 3 months to process your application, you can file an action for failure to act before the competent administrative court to compel the competent authority to process your application.

Application for naturalization form from 2022

Some authorities have published the naturalization application on their homepage.

Unfortunately, the application procedures in the many hundreds of “naturalization authorities” vary greatly. Thus, the documents requested by the competent authority are also very different. In the first step, enter the name of the authority at www.google.com and search for the following document:

  • Naturalization application PDF

Unfortunately, the naturalization documents are also not uniformly named at the respective authorities. The most common names are:

  • Application for naturalization PDF
  • Naturalization form PDF
  • Naturalization form PDF

You should first search and download the application on the Internet. We recommend that you read the application in detail before starting the application process, as this will tell you what documents you will need. If the naturalization application is not available online, make an appointment at the appropriate office and have the application delivered to you.

Online application for naturalization

In addition, some authorities in Germany now offer the option of processing the naturalization application online. If the authority responsible for you offers this, use this service in any case. This has the great advantage that you can prove that you made the request. In addition, the processing times are regularly shorter in this case.

Submit documents for naturalization

After submitting your application, you must regularly submit numerous documents as copies and/or originals. Which documents these are in detail depends strongly on the basis of entitlement according to which naturalization can or must be applied for. As a rule, the following documents are necessary:

  • completed naturalization application
  • Residence permit
  • Employment contract
  • Wage statements
  • Employer confirmation
  • Tax assessment, business evaluation and certificate from tax advisor
  • Training contract
  • Certificate of enrollment
  • School, intermediate and final certificates
  • Pension notifications from the German pension insurance
  • Language certificate
  • Test “Living in Germany
  • Rental agreement
  • Landlord confirmation
  • Proof of rent payment (bank statement)
  • Certificate of good conduct
  • Certificate that you do not receive any benefits from the state (social welfare, ALG I and II, housing benefit)
  • Simple and extended certificate of registration
  • Passport or passport replacement
  • Proof of identity such as birth certificate, family book, register entry
What is a declaration of loyalty?

As part of the naturalization process, you must also submit a so-called declaration of loyalty. This is a document in which you declare a commitment to the free democratic basic order. In principle, only a signature is required for this. In practice, this document is rarely a hurdle in the naturalization process.

In addition, the submission of complete and correct documentation is the biggest hurdle at which very many applicants fail without a lawyer. In our experience, many foreigners in Germany do not receive naturalization only because it is not possible for them to submit all documents completely to the competent authority. Particularly problematic in this context is when procedural times are very long. In that case, updated documentation is always requested. For example, if you have submitted all documents and the review of the documents takes place 3-9 months later, the following documents will be requested again:

  • Employment contract
  • Wage statements
  • Employer confirmation
  • Tax assessment, business evaluation and certificate from tax advisor
  • current training contract
  • current matriculation certificate
  • Pension notifications from the German pension insurance
  • Rental agreement
  • Landlord confirmation
  • Proof of rent payment (bank statement)
  • Certificate of good conduct
  • Certificate that you do not receive any benefits from the state (social welfare, ALG I and II, housing benefit)
  • Simple and extended certificate of registration

This leads to enormous frustration for many applicants because the same documents have to be submitted repeatedly. That’s why it’s so important not to make mistakes when you first submit your application and documents. All information in the application must be complete. The documents must also be complete and legible. After submitting, you should push for an appointment as soon as possible, no later than 3 months, so that you at least have a chance of ending the application process in a timely manner without a lawyer.

What does the decision on the naturalization application depend on?

Whether or not you are naturalized is basically dependent on whether you meet all the requirements according to the respective basis of entitlement under the Nationality Act. Only if all requirements are met and all documents have been submitted completely and in a timely manner can you be naturalized.

Unfortunately, the problem in this context is that not all requirements have been clearly clarified by the legislator. In a number of provisions, the requirements are open to interpretation. In the context of naturalization, for example, a prognosis is almost always made on the question of whether your livelihood under § 10 para. 1 No. 3 StAG is secured. Whether and under what conditions the livelihood is secured depends on very many factors. At this point, it is regularly difficult for the applicant to assess whether the competent authority acted lawfully or unlawfully in the event of a rejection.

If you need assistance, we will be very happy to help you with your naturalization process.

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What biometric data do you have to submit?

After your application and all documents have been reviewed and nothing stands in the way of naturalization for legal and factual reasons, you will receive an appointment to submit the biometric data. It is imperative that you make sure that this appointment takes place as soon as possible after the completion of the examination, otherwise the examination procedure will start all over again, at least partially. We recommend that you push for an appointment within 4 weeks of completing the exam. However, it regularly happens that this appointment takes place 3-12 months after the final exam. The delay can be prevented by hiring us. As part of this appointment, you will be required to submit your fingerprints and a personal signature. If you have not yet submitted a biometric passport photo as part of the written application, you must bring it to the appointment in any case.

a) Naturalization processing time

In our experience, the naturalization process takes between 6 – 24 months without a lawyer. We can regularly observe that the lengths of proceedings are shorter at smaller authorities and longer at larger authorities (e.g. Berlin).

The application process with Migrando currently takes between 3 and 7 months to complete. The background to this is that the lawyer can file an action for failure to act directly in the event of a delay in processing.

b) How long does the printing of the identity documents take?

After the naturalization application has been approved, only the German identity card and the German national passport must be produced by the Bundesdruckerei. According to our experience, this takes about 4-8 weeks.

What does the naturalization process cost?

a) What fee do I have to pay?

The fees for the naturalization procedure are regulated by law in § 38 StAG. Thereafter, the following fees will apply:

  • Naturalization certificate for adults 255,00 Euro
  • Certificate of naturalization for minor children 51,00 Euro

If the application is withdrawn before the naturalization certificate is issued, costs of 25.00 Euro – 255.00 Euro are usually incurred.

b) Who is exempt from the fee

In addition, there is the possibility pursuant to Sec. 38 para. 3, 4 StAG to be exempted from the fees. However, the ordinary applicant cannot, as a rule, be exempted from the fees.

Naturalization application: Our conclusion

Experience shows that successful naturalization is sometimes very complicated. Based on the published statistics from Statista, we assume that the actual naturalization rate would be about 30% higher if the naturalization procedure were not so complicated or if the applicant conducted the naturalization procedure with an experienced lawyer.

No more appointments at the immigration office
With the settlement permit, annoying appointments and tedious waiting times at the Foreigners' Registration Office are a thing of the past!

Your application for naturalization rejected

Unfortunately, it happens very often that applications for naturalization are rejected. We estimate that around 50% of all rejections are wrongly issued. Therefore, in case of a rejection, you should in any case have it checked whether you are entitled to naturalization. The quickest way to find out if you are eligible for naturalization is to take our free test.

If your application was denied, you still have a total of two options for obtaining naturalization.

Appeal against the rejection notice in the naturalization procedure

On the one hand, you can file an appeal or a lawsuit against the rejection notice of the competent authority within the time limit. Which legal remedy is the right one depends on the state in which you applied for naturalization. In some federal states, the legality of the naturalization decision can be examined in the objection procedure before the objection authority. In other federal states, you must file a lawsuit directly with the competent administrative court. You can find out which is the correct legal remedy in the instructions on legal remedies at the end of the rejection notice. In any case, pay attention to the deadline in the rejection notice. Appeals filed after the deadline are inadmissible.

New application for the granting of naturalization

On the other hand, you have the option to simply reapply for naturalization. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The problem is, insofar as you basically submit the application to the same authority, possibly even to the same processor. Thus, the same person will decide on your naturalization application. In those cases, it is likely that the same case worker will again reject your application. If you do not seek legal assistance from the attorney, there is the option of moving to another county. In that case, another authority is responsible, which increases the likelihood that your naturalization application will be approved. Of course, only if all requirements are met.

Our recommendation

If you have received a rejection notice from the competent authority, you should definitely have it checked whether you meet all the requirements for the granting of German citizenship. Simply take our free test and find out if you are eligible for naturalization.

To the free test

If you receive a positive test result, you can schedule a free consultation with us. During the phone call, one of our employees will first check if your information was correct and then inform you if you meet all the requirements. If you then decide to hire our lawyers, in that case the lawyer will check whether it is better to file an objection or a lawsuit or whether it is faster to file a new application directly.

10 reasons why naturalization was refused

Even if you supposedly meet all the requirements, authorities in Germany wrongly reject justified applications for naturalization. The background is that the authority checks the application uncleanly or you have not provided all the necessary information correctly and completely. In addition, the competent authority may be examining the wrong legal basis in your case. The 10 most common reasons why the naturalization application was wrongly denied are:

  1. Pension insurance contributions are wrongly requested or incorrectly calculated.
  2. Your stay times will be calculated incorrectly.
  3. Your income is calculated incorrectly.
  4. Child benefit and child allowance is wrongly included in the calculation of living expenses.
  5. Students must provide proof of income and pension payments despite legal exemption.
  6. Trainees must provide proof of income and pension insurance payments despite legal exemption.
  7. The competent authority applies the wrong basis of entitlement.
  8. In the case of discretionary naturalization, integration efforts are assessed as irrelevant.
  9. The application is not processed or not decided because of Corona.
  10. The application is rejected because you have received unemployment benefits in the last 24 months.

Do you have to give up your old citizenship when you naturalize?

This issue is very complicated and depends on many factors. In particular, the question depends on the following factors:

  • Current citizenship
  • Age
  • Reasons for residence in Germany
  • Basis of claim according to which you want to obtain German citizenship
  • and many more

As a rule, you must give up your old citizenship

In the case of naturalization, the basic rule is that you must give up your previous citizenship before naturalization. The decisive factor is that the old citizenship is relinquished as part of the naturalization process. Germany is still a country that fundamentally does not want multiple nationality.

However, there are many exceptions to the principle that you only hold German citizenship after naturalization.

When do you not have to give up your old citizenship?

If you want to know for sure whether you will retain your old citizenship in the event of naturalization, an individual case-by-case examination is necessary for this in every case. The most relevant reasons why you do not have to give up your old citizenship are usually:

  • You have multiple nationalities from birth
  • You are an EU, Swiss or Israeli citizen
  • You belong to a group in need of special protection (persons entitled to asylum, recognized refugees, etc.)
  • Your country of origin does not allow you to give up your old citizenship:
    • Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Cuba, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
    • The background is that your application is not accepted or your country of origin does not provide the necessary forms or no decision has been made on your complete application for more than 2 years.
  • Giving up your old citizenship is unreasonable for you
  • Giving up your old citizenship is currently not possible
  • You have Israeli citizenship

How can the naturalization be dropped again?

If I made it as a foreigner and was finally naturalized, the question arises whether I can also lose my German citizenship again? The answer to this is: NO!

After naturalization, there is no longer any danger that you can lose your German citizenship. Unlike residence rights, which can actually be revoked or withdrawn, this risk does not exist after obtaining German citizenship. Even if you commit a serious offense, you remain a German. After naturalization, you have all the rights and obligations of a German citizen for life because you are a German citizen.

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FAQ – The most important questions and answers about naturalization

Unlike some other countries in the world, you do not get German citizenship easily when you are born in Germany. There must be additional requirements that you or your children become German at birth.

This question is very complicated and cannot be answered in a few sentences. Basically, there are various ways in which you can obtain German citizenship. Within the framework of normal naturalization, you can generally be naturalized after 6-8 years. However, there are many positive and negative exceptions to this.

After naturalization you are a German! Even if you are not a “classic German”, whatever that means, it is no longer a particularly good right of residence. Once you receive German citizenship, you keep it forever.

After you have been naturalized, you will receive a German passport in addition to your identity card. With it you can basically travel to all countries.

If you have a criminal record, the question of whether you are eligible for naturalization depends on when and what crimes you committed. In any case, previous convictions are unproblematic if you have been sentenced to fines below 91 daily rates or to probation below 3 months. In the case of penalties that go beyond this, it must be examined on a case-by-case basis whether and when naturalization is possible (again).

In principle, you can be naturalized as a pupil, trainee or student. Even though in principle it is necessary to secure one’s own livelihood, there are some exceptions for pupils, trainees and students, but, only if all other requirements for naturalization are met.

Yes! Every German has the right to become self-employed. In this respect, questions of aliens law no longer play a role after naturalization. Even though the subject of self-employment can be a bit more complicated, if in doubt, in the first steps you only need an idea to put your approach into action.

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