New German citizenship law: key changes to know

The German Bundestag has adopted a new citizenship law, introducing several simplifications and changes concerning the process of obtaining German citizenship. These changes open new opportunities for immigrants and significantly ease the integration process.

Main Changes to the Law

1. Renunciation of Original Citizenship. Previously, it was required to renounce one's original citizenship when acquiring German citizenship. This rule has now been abolished, allowing for dual, and sometimes even triple citizenship. This advantage was previously available only to EU and Swiss citizens, but now the rule extends to everyone.

2. Citizenship Acquisition Period. The opportunity to apply for a German passport now arises after 5 years (previously 8 years), and in some cases, as soon as  3 years. The latter requires certain conditions, namely good integration: excellent knowledge of German, volunteering, and outstanding professional achievements. Thus, Germany may become the country with the fastest route to citizenship in the EU.

4. Obstacles to Citizenship. Note that manifestations of anti-Semitism and insufficient income can be obstacles to obtaining a German passport.

5. Simplification of Naturalization for Children. Children of foreign citizens born in Germany can obtain German citizenship by birth if at least one of their parents has lived in Germany for 5 years and has Permanent Residence. Previously, this was possible if a parent had lived in Germany for 8 years.

Process of the Law Coming into Effect

The law is expected to come into effect within three months of its adoption. The full text of the law has already been published and is available for review here. The law is now awaiting the president's signature, but this is more a formality.

What This Means for Immigrants

These changes represent a significant step in simplifying the process of obtaining citizenship in Germany, especially for immigrants from non-EU countries. The abolition of the requirement to renounce original citizenship and the reduction of waiting periods open doors for many who aspire to integrate and build a life in Germany.

If you are considering Germany as your next place of residence or work, it is a great time to prepare for relocation. 

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