Dual citizenship & naturalization
Important changes from the end of June 2024

When it comes to naturalization figures, Germany has long been below the European average. More than twelve million people live in Germany without German citizenship - almost half of them have been here for more than ten years. The reasons why these people do not apply for naturalization are multi-layered and complex. However, the fact that Germany has generally opposed the possibility of dual citizenship up to now certainly plays a role.

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The German government has now also recognized that there is a need for action and presented a draft bill, which was passed by the Bundestag on 19 January 2024. The bill also passed the Bundesrat on February 2, 2024. The adopted amendments will enter into force three months after the law is published in the Federal Law Gazette, i.e. on June 26, 2024. In the table below, we explain in detail how the legal situation will change as a result of the Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law.

Amendment 1: Admission of dual citizenship

Old legal situation:

German nationality law has always taken the view that multiple nationalities should be prevented. For example, it was previously a prerequisite for naturalization that the person wishing to naturalize had to give up their original nationality in exchange for receiving a German passport.

However, there have already been some exceptions, such as for citizens of other EU countries or Switzerland, as well as for people from countries that do not allow them to renounce their citizenship. As a result of these exceptions, around 70 percent of all naturalization applicants are already allowed to keep their original passport.

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

Nevertheless, the Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law completely abolishes the requirement to renounce one's previous citizenship in order to naturalize. The path to dual citizenship is now open to anyone wishing to naturalize.

However, it is important to note that, in addition to the legal situation in Germany, the nationality law of the home country must always be observed. If, for example, the latter stipulates that acquiring citizenship of another country automatically extinguishes one's own citizenship, it is not possible to obtain two citizenships under the new legal situation in Germany. In particular, the citizenship of the following countries is lost by law upon naturalization in Germany:

  • 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

Nevertheless, allowing multiple citizenship will enable many people, for example from Turkey, the USA, Canada, Nigeria or the United Kingdom, to have dual citizenship in the future.

In addition, the new law simplifies the naturalization procedure: the applicant for naturalization must complete the lengthy process of renouncing their current citizenship and therefore no longer has to prove to the authorities that they have successfully renounced their previous citizenship.

Amendment 2: Naturalization possible earlier

Old legal situation:

According to the current legal situation, in order to be eligible for naturalization, you must have been legally resident in Germany for an uninterrupted period of eight years.

However, there is an exception for naturalization applicants who have successfully completed an integration course. For them, the required period of residence is reduced from eight to seven years. If, in addition, special integration achievements in the form of particularly good school, vocational or professional qualifications, German language skills at level B2 or voluntary work can be proven, the minimum period of residence is even reduced to six years.

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

The new legal situation also provides for a certain minimum period of residence. However, this will be reduced by a whole three years and will only be five years in future.

The possibility of shortening this period by up to a further two years through certain special achievements remains. However, the details of the regulations on these reductions are changing. The new Modernization Act no longer stipulates that successful participation in an integration course automatically shortens the duration of residence by one year. Instead, in future it can be shortened in one step by up to two years to just three years if there are special integration achievements, for example in work, school or voluntary work, and if language skills at C1 level can be proven.

Amendment 3: Nationality by birth

Old legal situation:

Until now, children born in Germany to foreign parents have also been able to acquire German citizenship through the so-called ius soli principle (= place of birth principle). The prerequisite for this was that at least one of their parents had been living legally in Germany for eight years and had a permanent residence permit, such as a settlement permit.

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

The Citizenship Modernization Act not only retains this option, but actually makes the requirements easier. For example, the minimum period of residence of one of the parents has been reduced from eight to five years.

Amendment 4: Securing livelihoods

Old legal situation:

Anyone wishing to be naturalized in Germany must be able to support themselves and their family members (if any).

According to the current legal situation, however, the receipt of state aid does not prevent a claim to naturalization if the person seeking naturalization was not responsible for it. This means that anyone who , through no fault of their own, finds themselves in a situation in which they were dependent on state aid can still be naturalized as normal

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

Even under the new legal situation, it must be possible to earn a living independently and without state aid.

However, the exemption for people who were dependent on such benefits through no fault of their own has been removed by the new law. In its place, there are now a number of exceptions in which the requirement of a secure livelihood is waived altogether. Among other things, these apply to naturalization applicants who have been in full-time employment for at least 20 months in the last two years. Anyone bringing up a child with a spouse who can provide evidence of the same 20 months of employment also does not need to provide evidence of a secure livelihood. And last but not least, people who came to Germany as guest workers and their spouses can also apply for naturalization despite receiving social benefits, provided that they are not responsible for receiving these benefits themselves.

In future, people who wish to be naturalized despite not having sufficient means of subsistence will have to apply for discretionary naturalization in accordance with Section 8 StAG. However, the old legal situation will continue to apply to applications submitted by 23 August 2023, provided this is more favorable for the applicants.

Amendment 5: Commitment to the free democratic basic order

Old legal situation:

Even now, anyone wishing to be naturalized in Germany must declare their commitment to the free and democratic basic order of the Basic Law and declare that they do not pursue any unconstitutional aspirations.

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

According to the new legal situation, a further requirement is to be added to these professions in future: Only those who "acknowledge Germany's special historical responsibility for the National Socialist reign of injustice and its consequences, in particular for the protection of Jewish life, as well as the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the prohibition of waging a war of aggression" are to be naturalized.

Amendment 6: Further obstacles

Old legal situation:

According to the current legal situation, § 11 StAG excludes naturalization if there is a serious interest in deportation or if there are factual indications that the naturalization applicant behaves or has behaved in any way contrary to his or her commitment to the free democratic basic order .

New legal situation (from June 26, 2024):

The new law tightens the possibilities for the state to deny naturalization according to § 11 StAG. In future, naturalization is to be ruled out if there are factual indications that a person's commitment to the free democratic basic order, Nazi injustice and peace between peoples is false.

Likewise, naturalization will no longer be possible for people who live in polygamous marriages or whose behaviour shows that they disregard the equality of men and women.

Outlook

As mentioned above, the law will come into force three months after its promulgation, i.e. on June 26, 2024. For many of our fellow citizens with a Turkish migration background in particular, who have been living in Germany for a long time but do not want to give up their Turkish citizenship, the law now finally offers the chance of dual citizenship through the general admission of multiple citizenship.

Together with the reduction of the prescribed minimum residence period by three years, this will certainly lead to a particularly high number of applications for naturalization being received by the authorities. This in turn will only increase the already long waiting times. It may therefore be advisable to hire lawyers to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible.

Questions and answers - FAQ on dual citizenship:

Even now, it usually takes up to 12 monthsuntil a decision is made on an application for naturalization. When the new law comes into force on 26 June 2024, the number of naturalization applications is expected to increase significantly will increase significantly. This will probably also increase the processing times 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 action for failure to act. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you on this.

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.

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, the receipt of state benefits is harmless. 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 26, 2024, when the the new Citizenship Act comes into force, nothing speaks against it.

The modernized StAG will come into force on 26.06.2024. From this date, the new legal situation will apply and it will no longer be necessary to renounce your current citizenship in order to naturalize in Germany. In principle, the new legal situation will apply to you if you receive your naturalization certificate after 26.06.2024.

Before the naturalization certificate is issued, you will first receive a naturalization assurance, which is usually valid for 2 years. When the assurance of naturalization is issued, you will be asked to submit proof of renunciation of your current citizenship due to the law currently valid until 26.06.2024, so that the naturalization certificate can then be issued. You have time to do this as long as the assurance of naturalization is valid.

If your assurance of naturalization is valid beyond 26.06.2024, or if you receive the assurance of naturalization shortly before 26.06.2024, you should wait until 26.06.2024 without renouncing your current citizenship and then ask for a date to be set for the naturalization certificate to be issued. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you on this.

If the assurance of naturalization expires before 26.06.2024, we advise you to contact the competent authority. Our lawyers will be happy to advise you.

The new law on citizenship comes into force on 26 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 26. 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 26, 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 26.06.2024, you can benefit from the new law after this date and can 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.

The question of dual citizenship depends on the legal situation legal situation at the time you receive your naturalization certificate. If you meet all the requirements, the authorities will initially only issue you with a assurance of naturalizationin which you are asked to renounce your previous citizenship.

This assurance of naturalization is usually valid for two years. You can therefore wait until the new law on June 26, 2024 comes into force and then apply for naturalizationwithout having to give up their previous citizenship. It is also possible to apply to the relevant naturalization authority for the suspension of the procedure naturalization authority.

According to the new law on nationality can in future anyonewho wishes to be naturalized in Germany, according to German law his previous citizenship under German law. It enters into force on June 26, 2024 comes into force.

However, the country of origin must also allow dual citizenship. be permitted. In ein somen countriesn such as for example 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 is possible, you can find here.

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

From entry into force of the new law on nationality on June 26, 2024, the minimum period of residence in Germany only five years. With particularly good integration it can be extended to up to three years be shortened.

From June 26, 2024when the new Citizenship Act comes into force, receive ichildren born in Germany of foreign parents automatically receive German citizenship if one parent has has lived legally in Germany for more than five years lived and has an unlimited right of residence. Until then, this duration is in accordance with the old legal situation is still eight years.

According to the legal situation up to and including 26.06.2024 you lose in principle German citizenship if you naturalize in another naturalize in another country. From the entry into force of the new law on citizenship on June 26, 2024 this will no longer be the case. Germany will then allow multiple nationality generally permitted. Until then, however, the current legal situation will remain, according to which you generally require a retention permit. You can find more information on this on the website of the Federaladministration office.

The new Naturalization Act (Act on the Modernization of Citizenship Law) comes into force on June 26, 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.

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.

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 will enter into force on June 26, 2024, three months after it was promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette.

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.

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.

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

Alternatively, you can complete our Naturalization Check.

Yes, at least as far as German citizenship law is concerned. In principle, dual citizenship will be open to all foreigners, regardless of their country of origin, once the new citizenship law comes into force on June 26, 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.

The Bundestag has passed the law to modernize citizenship law. When it comes into force on 26 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.

More questions?

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