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Posted on September 05 2022

A guide to German citizenship; What it is and how to get it

By  Editor
Updated October 09 2023

News highlights: All you need to know about German citizenship through naturalization

  • Learn how to get German citizenship
  • Prepare yourself to plan for citizenship in Germany
  • Just follow 4 step process to get German citizenship through naturalization
  • Learn how to become a German citizen through naturalization

It's necessary to understand how German citizenship is granted. Many people who migrate to Germany move with the intention of becoming German citizens. If you are one of them, here we are with all the basic information you can use.

What do you mean by German citizenship?

Becoming a citizen in Germany is the next and final step in the series of possible steps one could take in the course of Germany immigration. By becoming a German citizen, you will get freedoms and rights that permanent residents are not entitled to. These include:

  • The right of free movement
  • The right to vote.
  • The right of consular protection
  • The right of assembly and association
  • The right to become a civil servant, etc.
  • Unrestricted access to the German job market

As you get the rights through citizenship, the German Constitution also implies certain duties and obligations on you as a citizen. These include terms like be respectful and obedient to all laws, integration in society, and even military service in Germany.

Also read....

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Types of German citizenship

Immigrants get to be German citizens by naturalization. Obtaining citizenship by naturalization means that you have met certain criteria that the Government of Germany has set. Then you can qualify to apply for German citizenship.

German citizenship through naturalization

What is meant by German naturalization? It means that after living in Germany for a certain period as a permanent resident, you become eligible to apply for German citizenship.

It’s not easy to become a German citizen by naturalization. This is owing to many requirements and restrictions for obtaining naturalization. This ensures that only deserving candidates get to become German citizens.

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Requirements for German Citizenship by Naturalization

Here are the requirements that you must fulfil to qualify for naturalization:

  • You must have lived in Germany on a residence permit either
    • for a minimum of eight years, or
    • for seven years and attended an integration course
  • You must be able to financially support yourself and your family without taking any help from the German state.
  • You must give proof of German language proficiency of a minimum level of B1.
  • You must pass a citizenship test.
  • You must be a citizen who’s law-abiding and with no criminal record.
  • You must renounce any citizenship held previously.

To prove your proficiency in the German language, as prescribed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, you can provide one of these documents:

  • A German language certificate; E.g., the Zertifikat Deutsch
  • A certification that you have obtained via an integration course; E.g., “DTZ – German test for immigrants.”
  • A certificate that acts as proof that you have completed a German secondary school
  • A proof for admission secured in a German upper secondary school.
  • A certificate that acts as proof that you have done a minimum of four years of school in German with a passing grade.
  • Proof that you have completed your higher education degrees in German.

In case you don’t have any document proving your language proficiency, you can attend a government language test. This will be conducted by your citizenship authority.

Want to become proficient in German language? Avail Y-Axis German coaching services

Applying for German Citizenship by naturalization

First, you have to meet all the requirements for naturalization. Then, you can begin your application process. To apply you must be above the age of 16 years. If you are under 16 years, your parents and legal guardians will apply for you.

*Know your eligibility to immigrate to Germany through Y-Axis Germany Immigration Points Calculator.

Steps to apply for naturalization

Step 1: Get an application form

You can get the application form for naturalization from the places mentioned below:

  • The city council (in case you live in an urban area)
  • The local immigration office
  • The town council or any other local authorities
  • The regional district office (in case you live in a German district)

You must fill out the form and compile all the necessary documents to be filed with the application form.

Ste 2: Pass the Citizenship Test

The German Citizenship Test has 33 multiple-choice questions. They are related to topics like German society, culture, laws, etc. Besides these, there will be questions related to the specific location you live in Germany.

This test isn’t necessary for you if you belong to one of the following groups:

  • You are under 16 years old
  • You have a higher education degree from a German university in law, politics, or social sciences
  • You can't take the test due to illness, old age, or disability

Step 3: Pay the naturalization fees

Here are the fees you must pay to apply for German citizenship via naturalization.

  • Application form for €255 for adults
  • Application form for €51 for children under 16 years old
  • Citizenship certificate for €25
  • Naturalization/Citizenship test for €25

Step 4: Submit all necessary documents

Once you submit all necessary documents mentioned above along with the application form. Once you submit them, the officers will inspect and assess your application. If they find it fit for approval, it will be approved and a citizenship certificate will be issued to you.

Why are citizenship applications denied?

Here are the most common reasons for denial:

  • You didn’t fulfil the eight residency requirements for citizenship; seven years in case you complete an integrated course.
  • You don’t have sufficient financial resources to support yourself/your family members.
  • You gave false information in your citizenship application.
  • You didn't pay sufficient state contributions while you were residing in Germany.
  • You are considered risky to Germany and its citizens.
  • You have committed a felony.
  • You didn’t renounce your previous nationality.

If you are willing to migrate to Germany, talk to Y-Axis, the leading immigration and career consultant in the UAE.

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