Legal topics explained briefly and understandably by our experts

If the job offer you have received only meets the lower salary threshold for shortage occupations and young professionals, you must first obtain approval for your EU Blue Card from the Federal Employment Agency. No approval is required for all employees whose salary is also above the general (higher) salary threshold, even if they work in a shortage occupation or are career starters. Here you can find the salary limits for the Blue Card for 2024.

If you are a national of a so-called privileged country, you do not need an entry visa to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany. These privileged countries that do not require an entry visa include: Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America. Citizens of other countries generally require a visa for the purpose of gainful employment, which is issued by the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad.

You can leave Germany for up to 12 months without losing your EU Blue Card. The 12-month period also applies to your family members.

Yes, holders of an EU Blue Card are permitted to travel to other Schengen states within the EU for tourism purposes without a visa. You can travel to Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland for 90 days within a 180-day period. As a rule, it is not possible to take up employment outside Germany without a corresponding residence permit.

It is generally possible for holders of an EU Blue Card to change jobs. However, in the first year of your employment, you must report any change of employer to the immigration authority. The authority then has the option of suspending the change and checking within 30 days whether it is permissible. If the authority allows this period to elapse or does not respond to your notification at all, the change is automatically deemed permissible. After one year, you can change your job without the approval of the immigration authority. However, the basic requirements, such as the minimum salary, must still be met.

Yes, your (nuclear) family can accompany you. Spouses, children and, more recently, parents and possibly even parents-in-law (i.e. the parents of your spouse) can apply for and receive a work and residence permit at the same time as you as part of the so-called family reunification procedure. Family reunification can also be applied for as part of the accelerated procedure for skilled workers, which has the advantage that the processing time for the application is identical for you and your family. You can enter Germany together. The family members of an EU Blue Card holder are immediately permitted to work or be self-employed without restriction.

No, unlike other residence permits, no German language skills are required to obtain an EU Blue Card. This applies to both the applicant and their family.

If you can demonstrate language skills at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), you can apply for a permanent work and residence permit after just 21 months with an EU Blue Card. However, language skills are not mandatory. Without language skills, the waiting period for the possibility of applying for a permanent work and residence permit is extended to 27 months.

In case you are dismissed by your employer, you have three months to find a new job. If you do not succeed, there is a risk that your Blue Card will be revoked and you will have to leave Germany again. Get more information about the EU Blue Card and termination here.

In principle, certain additional payments can be included in the gross basic salary. These payments count towards the minimum salary if the supplements are agreed in the employment contract and are not dependent on the occurrence of certain conditions. Not every salary component is clear from the outset and requires individual examination in case of doubt.

There are two minimum salary thresholds for the EU Blue Card that must be met in order to obtain an EU Blue Card. The basic salary limit for 2024 is an annual gross salary of 45,300 euros. For so-called shortage occupations, the lower salary limit in 2024 is 41,041.80 euros. Find out more about minimum salary limits here.

The EU Blue Card is usually issued for four years, unless the employment contract is shorter than four years. In this case, the EU Blue Card is valid for the duration of the employment contract plus three months, but never longer than four years. The EU Blue Card can be extended before it expires, provided you still meet all the requirements for an EU Blue Card.

The Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law was passed by the Bundestag at the end of January 2024 and has also passed the Bundesrat. It came into force on June 27, 2024, three months after it was promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette. Since this date, everyone has had the option of dual citizenship under German law.

The question of dual citizenship depends on the legal situation at the time you receive your naturalization certificate. If you meet all the requirements, you will initially only receive an assurance of naturalization from the authorities, in which you will be asked to renounce your previous citizenship.

This assurance of naturalization is usually valid for two years. As the new law comes into force on June 27, 2024, you can then be naturalized without having to give up your previous citizenship.

In principle, yes. Since German law is to permit multiple nationality in the future, there is nothing to prevent this from the German side. However, the decisive factor is the law of the state whose citizenship one wishes to regain.

The general period of residence that must be fulfilled for naturalization is five years. It can be shortened by up to two additional years in the case of special integration achievements, for example in work, school or voluntary work. At best, naturalization is therefore possible after just three years of residence.

Yes, at least as far as German citizenship law is concerned. In principle, dual citizenship has been open to all foreigners, regardless of their country of origin, since June 27, 2024. However, there may be laws in the country of origin that stipulate the loss of citizenship in the event that a citizen is granted citizenship of another country. Such laws exist in countries such as China, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia and the Netherlands. In any case, we advise you to obtain information in the country of your previous citizenship.

In principle, you must not have a criminal record if you want to be naturalized. However, not all previous convictions are really relevant. For example, convictions or penalty orders of no more than 90 daily rates as well as convictions for prison sentences of up to three months that were suspended and not enforced are not taken into consideration. The same applies to previous convictions that are no longer listed in the Federal Central Criminal Register. You can find out more about exemption from punishment for naturalization here.

The new law on citizenship comes into force on 27 June 2024, but the processing time for an application for naturalization is usually around 12 months. The decisive factor for your application is the legal situation at the time when the authorities make a decision. It is very likely that this will not be until after June 27. This means that you can, in principle, submit an application for naturalization now, which will then be decided according to the new legal situation. If a decision is made on your application before June 27, 2024, you will first be asked to provide proof that you have been released from your existing citizenship. If you do not do this by June 27, you will be able to benefit from the new law after this date and retain your citizenship.

However, this varies from authority to authority and also depends on how long you have been in Germany. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you on your personal situation.

Anyone wishing to acquire German citizenship must be able to prove that they can support themselves and their dependents. to support themselves and their can support themselves. They must not be receiving benefits under the Second or Twelfth Book of the German Social Code (SGB II or SGB XII). be received. These include, for example, unemployment benefit II, basic income support in old age or in the event of reduced earning capacity and social assistance.

However, according to the new law , there are exceptionsIf you have been in full-time employment for 20 months within the last 24 months within the last 24 months, receiving state benefits is not harmful. The same applies if your spouse or registered partnerwho lives with you and a child has been in full-time employment for 20 months within the last 24 months. And also for former guest workers and contract workers and their spouses who have joined them are also exempt from receiving state benefits such as social assistance if they are not responsible for this.

Whether you can get back your old citizenship, which you gave up for naturalization, depends on on the Rright of your originstaates from. According to German law, from June 27, 2024, when the the new Citizenship Act comes into force, there will be nothing to stop it.

The modernized Citizenship Act (StAG) came into force on 27 June 2024. Since this date, the new legal situation has applied, according to which renunciation of current citizenship is no longer required for naturalization in Germany. In principle, the new legal situation applies to you if you are issued a naturalization certificate after 27 June 2024.

Before the naturalization certificate is issued, you will first receive an assurance of naturalization, which is usually valid for 2 years. Before 27 June, when the assurance of naturalization was issued, you were asked to submit proof that you had renounced your current citizenship so that the naturalization certificate could then be issued. You had time to do this as long as the assurance of naturalization was valid.

If you have received an assurance of naturalization before 27 June 2024, you should ask for a date to be set after this date to receive your naturalization certificate without renouncing your current citizenship. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you on this.

The Bundestag has passed the law on the modernization of citizenship law. When it comes into force on 27 June 2024, naturalization will be possible even if you want to keep your old citizenship. However, the law of the country of origin must also allow dual citizenship.

If you want to check whether your naturalization application would be successful, you can do our naturalization check. However, this check only gives you a first overview. If you still have detailed questions or are unsure, then it is best to contact our lawyers.

Strictly speaking, the forthcoming law on citizenship will not allow dual citizenship, but will lift the general ban on multiple citizenship. If this ban is lifted, it will also be possible under German law to have more than two nationalities. Multiple citizenship will then be possible without further ado.

However, if you wish to obtain dual citizenship, this must also be in accordance with the nationality law of your country of origin be possible. Some countries stipulate that your citizenship is automatically lost if you are naturalized in another country.

These countries are:

  • Ethiopia
  • Belize
  • Bhutan
  • China
  • Ivory Coast (Cote d' Ivoire)
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Honduras, if Honduran citizenship was acquired through naturalization
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Cameroon
  • Kazakhstan
  • Comoros, if the person concerned has reached the age of 21.
  • Congo, Democratic Republic (COD)
  • Cuba
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritania
  • Micronesia
  • Monaco
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Papua New Guinea, if the person concerned has reached the age of 18
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Zimbabwe, if the person concerned has reached the age of 21 (is of legal age)
  • Sri Lanka
  • South Africa, if the person concerned has reached the age of 18
  • South Korea (Republic of Korea)
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania, if the person concerned has reached the age of 18
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda

According to the legal situation before June 27, 2024, you generally lost your German citizenship if you naturalized in another country. This could only be prevented by obtaining a retention permit. Since the new Citizenship Act came into force on June 27, 2024, this is no longer the case. Germany now generally allows multiple nationalities. You can find more information on this on the website of the Federal Office of Administration.

Since the new Naturalization Act came into force on 27 June 2024, those wishing to naturalize no longer have to give up their old citizenship. According to the new legal situation, anyone can obtain dual citizenship - provided the country of origin also allows it. You can find a list of countries that do not allow dual citizenship here.

YesThe new law does not change the rules for the naturalization test. However, as before, you do not have to take the test if you are at least a German school-leaving qualification (qualificationRealschule, Abitur etc.)a completed vocational training with a grade in the subject of social studies or a degree in the fields of law and social sciences, social sciences or politics naor politics.

Since June 27, 2024, when the new Citizenship Act came into force, children born in Germany to foreign parents automatically receive German citizenship if one parent has been living legally in Germany for more than five years and has an unlimited right of residence. For children born before June 27, 2024, this period is still eight years according to the old legal situation.

The new Naturalization Act (Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law) comes into force on June 27, 2024 in force, three months after its promulgation in the Federal Law Gazette. From then on dual citizenship in principle under German law possible for all, and will in particular the minimum period of residence to five years to five years. You can read more about the details of the new law here.

According to the new Citizenship Act, since June 27, 2024, anyone who wants to be naturalized in Germany can now retain their previous citizenship under German law.

However, the country of origin must also allow dual citizenship. In some countries, such as Austria, China, India, Uganda and South Korea, citizenship is automatically lost if you naturalize in another country.

A detailed list of all countries with which dual citizenship is not possible can be found here.

Tip: Before starting the naturalization process, always check whether the previous citizenship may be retained under foreign law. You can inquire about this at foreign missions, for example. German lawyers are generally unable to provide information on foreign legal issues.

The abbreviation BVA stands for Federal Office of Administration. The Federal Office of Administration deals centrally with administrative tasks that are the responsibility of the federal government. As the individual federal states are generally responsible for naturalizations, the Federal Office of Administration only processes naturalization applications that are submitted from abroad. The Federal Office of Administration is also responsible for applications for the retention or release of German citizenship, as well as applications for the determination of the (non-)existence of German citizenship or the acquisition of a declaration.

Germany has embassies or consulates in almost every country in the world. There is often only one embassy per country - this is then responsible for all people from that country. In large countries in particular, however, there are often several consulates, each of which is responsible for one region. The exact distribution of responsibilities is then explained on the embassy's website. You can find a map of all German missions abroad here.

Since the new law on citizenship came into force on June 27, 2024, the minimum period of residence in Germany is now only five years. It can be shortened to up to three years in cases of particularly good integration.

We have explained this in detail in our article on naturalization.

Alternatively, you can complete our Naturalization Check.

Freedom of movement in Europe, the possibility of visa-free entry into many other countries with one of the "strongest" passports in the world and protection by the institutions of the German state, even when traveling abroad, are just some of the many advantages of German citizenship. In addition, German citizens enjoy unrestricted access to the labor market of all EU countries, including the possibility of becoming a civil servant, as well as a lifelong right of residence in Germany and the EU, which does not expire even during longer stays abroad.

In principle, language skills at level B1 or higher are required for naturalization. If you can prove a higher language level, you may be able to naturalize earlier. Theoretically, naturalization is also possible with a lower language level than B1. However, this still requires a certain knowledge of the language, as your integration into the German way of life must be guaranteed. In addition, there must be a public interest in you receiving German citizenship.

The authorities often take a very long time to process a naturalization application due to the many documents involved. Processing times of several months to well over a year are the rule. Since the Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law came into force on 27 June 2024, it can be assumed that waiting times will be considerably longer again because many new applications will be submitted. To help you obtain your rights more quickly, it may be advisable to file an action for failure to act. Our experienced lawyers will be happy to advise you on this. Just ask us.

It usually takes up to 12 months for a decision to be made on an application for naturalization. The new Naturalization Act has also been in force since 27 June 2024. It is therefore to be expected that the number of naturalization applications will increase significantly. As a result, processing times are also likely to increase by several months. If the authorities do not make a decision on your application for too long, it may be advisable to file an action for failure to act. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you on this.

The naturalization test consists of 33 multiple choice questions, of which you must answer at least 17 correctly in order to pass. It takes one hour to complete and costs 25 euros. To prepare, you can simulate the test online or view the entire catalog of all possible questions. Where exactly you can register for the test and take it varies from region to region. You can find more information on this at your local immigration office.

A fee of 255.00 euros is payable for a naturalization certificate for adults. The fee for a rejection notice is between 25.00 and 255.00 euros. A naturalization certificate for a minor child (i.e. up to the age of 18) who is naturalized together with someone else (co-naturalization) only incurs a fee of 51.00 euros.

Where you have to apply for naturalization depends on where you live. If you are in Germany, you must apply to the naturalization authority responsible for your place of residence. You can find out which authority this is from the foreigners authority in your town or municipality or from the district or city administration. Naturalization applications from abroad, which are processed by the Federal Office of Administration, must be submitted to the responsible German mission abroad, i.e. the German embassy or a (general) consulate.

The change in the law that introduces the opportunity card will come into force on June 1, 2024. From then on, you can apply for it at the relevant diplomatic mission or immigration office.

The points system does not apply to skilled workers. They therefore do not need a minimum number of points to obtain an opportunity card. According to Section 18 (3) AufenthG, a skilled worker is someone who has completed vocational training or a course of study either in Germany or has obtained such a qualification abroad, provided that the foreign qualification is recognized in Germany or is considered equivalent or comparable.

Yes, that's why we have developed our free points calculator. It allows you to quickly and easily understand the points system of the Opportunity Card. If you would like to use our calculator to find out whether you are eligible for an opportunity card, click here.

Anyone wishing to obtain an opportunity card must be able to prove that their livelihood and, under certain circumstances, that of their close family is secure. This proof can be provided, for example, by means of a so-called blocked account from which you are only allowed to withdraw a certain amount each month. In 2024, you must deposit 1,027 euros there for each month, i.e. a total of 12,324 euros for one year. A declaration of commitment can also serve as proof of your livelihood.

If you want to pursue a part-time job during your job search with the opportunity card and have already signed an employment contract , you can also use this to prove that you have sufficient income.

The Chancenkarte entitles you to look for a job in Germany. But how long is the Chancenkarte valid for? In principle, an opportunity card can be issued for up to one year. However, how long you can stay in Germany with your card depends solely on the expiration date of your own Chancenkarte. If your job search in Germany was successful, you can apply for another residence permit for gainful employment in order to stay in Germany for longer.

In order to obtain a settlement permit in accordance with § 9 AufenthG, you must have resided in Germany for a certain minimum period, generally five years. However, the time during which you have held a job search opportunity card does not count towards this period. This is regulated by § 20a Para. 6 AufenthG. However, the situation is different with the so-called follow-up opportunity card: Any periods of residence with this residence permit can be fully counted towards a settlement permit.

An unlimited residence title such as settlement should only be granted if the person concerned and his or her family have sufficient living space at their disposal. The reason for this is that unlimited residence permits should only be issued if all basic needs are secured. This also includes the availability of sufficient living space.

The decisive question that arises here is what exactly is meant by "sufficient" in this context. First of all, it should be noted that a certain apartment size does not have to be achieved. The required apartment size and condition depends entirely on the individual case and is mainly determined by the size of your family.

The standard for determining sufficient living space is regulated in Section 2 (4) of the Residence Act. According to this, living space is insufficient if it does not meet the legal requirements that also apply to Germans with regard to condition and occupancy. Children under the age of two are not taken into account in the calculation.

As a rule, living space is sufficient if twelve square meters of living space are available for each family member over the age of six and ten square meters for each family member under the age of six. In addition, ancillary rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, and toilet must be able to be shared to a reasonable extent. Proof of adequate living space can be provided, for example, by means of a rental agreement, purchase contract or a housing certificate from the landlord.

The following countries belong to the Schengen area:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Iceland (outside the EU)
  • Liechtenstein (outside the EU)
  • Norway (outside the EU)
  • Switzerland (outside the EU)

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen area!

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