All You Need to Know to Get German Citizenship (2023)

Sometimes, a quick trip to Berlin is not enough, so you decide to revisit the city for a longer stay. Maybe you decide to relocate there on a more permanent basis, like so many expats are doing these days (Brexit, anyone?), Or for work or just for personal reasons: this is the time when you should consider getting German citizenship .

Realizing that this place is in your life and you can not imagine living somewhere else, sometimes just coming in as a natural next step. From our offices in Berlin we have so many people coming to the city for an internship, or for a summer experience and never leaving again. We get it, Berlin is a great place, full of amazing opportunities for both students and young professionals. So, what do you need to do in your country ? For People That are studying or working in Germany and want to feel fully integrated into German society, getting citizenship status May make things Easier, whether you opt for the hustle and bustle of cities like Munich and Berlin, gold quieter countryside towns Such As Cochem gold Miltenberg.

In the rest of this article, we’ll explore the options available for living in Germany on a permanent basis and how to understand the bureaucratic process of getting German citizenship .

Getting German Citizenship

If you have been a German resident for a certain period of time, then you may be eligible to apply for German citizenship. The standard amount of time in the country is limited to eight years before you can apply for citizenship.

Checklist for applying for German citizenship

Not just anyone will be granted citizenship in Germany. There are certain sets of criteria that you must first meet in your country. These are:

    • Speaking German – You must be able to speak German to a satisfactory standard, including both oral and written communication. This ensures that you are able to fully integrate into the country and the community you are living in.
    • Clean criminal record – Your criminal record must be clear of any serious offense.
    • Financially stable – You must be able to completely support yourself financially and prove that this is the case.
    • Pass the naturalization test – Anyone applying for German citizenship must take a naturalization test which is written in German. The test consists of questions about the history, laws, and people of Germany. To pass, you must answer at least 17 out of 33 questions correctly.
  • Pay the fee – To complete your application, you must pay a fee of € 255.

With understanding the German language being an important part of being a citizen, the 8-year period can be reduced to 7 years of prior to residency if you complete a German language integration course .

(Video) German permanent residence and German citizenship. Dual citizenship in Germany. All you need to know

It should be noted that some residents will not need to take the test of citizenship. These include anyone under the age of 16 and graduates of German universities in certain subjects, such as law or social sciences.

Do you need to renounce your current citizenship?

For people from outside the EU, gaining citizenship in Germany will help you to improve your citizenship . Any EU citizen can keep their original citizenship and hold dual citizenship with that and Germany.

What if you marry a German citizen?

If you live with your German spouse in Germany, then the process of gaining citizenship can be sped up. You must have lived in Germany with your spouse for at least three years and you must be married or at least in one of these two years.

Even so, you will still need to meet certain requirements of German citizenship, such as a criminal record and a good understanding of German language.


Citizenship through birth or descent

If one or both of your biological parents is a German citizen when you were born, then you will be considered a natural citizen of the country, regardless of where you were born. Generally, the child will become a citizen of their parents’ countries until the age of 18, at which point they may choose between their multiple nationalities. This decision must be made within 5 years of the child turning 18.

Babies born in Germany after 1st January 2000 to parents who are not citizens of their country of origin. If one of the parents has been a permanent resident of Germany for at least 8 years, then their child can automatically be a citizen.

How to apply for German citizenship

You can apply for German citizenship by acquiring an application form from your local immigration office, the town council, or a similar authority. Adults can submit your application yourself, but anyone under the age of 16 will need to submit your application.

As mentioned already, a fee of around € 255 will be paid to complete each application. Taking the naturalization test will cost an additional € 25. Visit your local naturalization office to register for your test and locate your nearest test center. Make sure you have a valid form of identification.

Getting permanent residency in Germany

If you want to live in Germany, we can not wait for a permanent resident instead. To do this, you will still need to meet the requirements of the German language, no criminal record, and the ability to support yourself financially.

There are two main options for permanent gaining residency in Germany: Permanent EC Residence or Settlement Permit.

(Video) How Do I Know If I'm Eligible For German Citizenship

Photo credits: Sam Howzit

Permanent EC Residence

You can apply for a permanent residence permit if you have lived in Germany for five consecutive years, or another similar limited permit. Other provisions for the purpose of applying for health insurance and a form of identification, such as a passport. You must have sufficient living space in your possession and supplies for your retirement in the country.

Once you have been granted a permanent EC residence permit, it allows you to live in any EU country. This means that you already have this kind of permit granted by another country, then you may be authorized to live in Germany on a permanent basis.

Settlement Permit

Another permanent residence is a settlement permit . This does not apply to other EU countries like the EC residence permit does. However, it is often quicker than permanent EC Residence.

Generally, a Settlement Permit has the same application as a permanent residence, but certain special exemptions apply.

    • Students in Germany – If you have studied and graduated from a German university, then you can apply for a second year after graduation.
    • EU Blue Card Holders – You may be granted an EU Blue Card if your income exceeds a certain threshold, depending on the profession. Holders of this card may be granted after 33 months. Gaining a B1 german language certificate reduces this length of time to 21 months.
    • Self-employed people – A self-employed person residing in Germany can gain permanent residence through a Settlement Permit within three years of living in the country with a successful established business.
  • Highly qualified immigrants – Immigrants in certain desirable occupations, such as scientists and researchers, who have a firm job to work in the country can be granted immediate permanent residence via a settlement permit.

The difference between citizenship and permanent residency

Gaining or citizenship or permanent residency allows you to reside in Germany for the rest of your life if you choose to. The main difference between these two methods is that citizenship grants you a natural German citizen, standing permanent residency does not.

(Video) German Citizenship - Deutsche Einbürgerung, All that you need to know!

This means that you will gain residency, you will be allowed to vote in German elections and gain other benefits such as the right to free movement and consular protection. As a member of the EU, EU member states. A similar benefit comes from a permanent residence permit.

Although, with the rights of German citizenship also comes the same responsibilities . This means that becoming a permanent citizen also gives you the potential tasks of a jury.

Applying for citizenship in another country

After gaining the status of a German citizen , applying for citizenship in another country Applying for citizenship for another EU country or Switzerland will result in dual citizenship.

For other countries, you may be able to keep your German citizenship at your disposal. German citizenship at the same time . You may be penalized if you fail to inform them of your new citizenship.

If you do not know how to do it, then you may want to read it again.

Gaining permanent citizenship or residency in Germany may not be an overnight process, but here you will need to help yourself through the process. Moving to and living in Germany is one of the most important things you can do.

(Video) German Citizenship - Requirements - Einbürgerung - How to become German Citizen

Photo credits header picture: fdecomite


How hard is German citizenship test? ›

The test consists of 33 questions including three questions which apply only to the German state where the applicant lives. Applicants must choose the correct answer from four possible responses. To pass, applicants must answer 17 questions correctly. In recent years, more than 90% of applicants have passed the test.

Is getting Germany citizenship hard? ›

Austria, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States are five nations that make it especially difficult for foreigners to establish permanent residency or obtain citizenship.

What is a necessary criteria to be eligible for German citizenship? ›

German Citizenship Requirements for Naturalization

You must have lived in Germany on a residence permit for at least eight years, or. You must have lived in Germany on a residence permit for seven years and attended an integration course (this becomes six years in special integration circumstances)

What is the fastest way to get German citizenship? ›

Can I Apply for Naturalization Quicker? Yes, in some cases, you can apply to become a naturalized German citizen quicker than in eight years' time. This includes: After seven years of residence, if you completed a German language integration course at a Community College (Volkshochsschule).

How do I prepare for German citizenship test? ›

How can I prepare for my naturalisation test? To help you prepare for the naturalisation test, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees provides an interactive list of questions in their online test centre. On this website, you can read through and see the correct answers to all 310 possible questions.

Is there an interview for German citizenship? ›

Application for Naturalization & Our Legal Services

Interview and Application: As part of the naturalization procedure, a counselling interview is usually held with the municipal or local authorities at the applicant's place of residence, following which the relevant application form for naturalization is handed over.

Can I have a German and British passport? ›

Dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) is allowed in the UK. This means you can be a British citizen and also a citizen of other countries. You do not need to apply for dual citizenship. You can apply for foreign citizenship and keep your British citizenship.

Which EU country is the easiest to get citizenship? ›

Which Country in Europe is Easiest to Get Citizenship? The most accessible country to get citizenship in the EU is Portugal. The country offers one of the most affordable investment options for citizenship, and after five years, you gain an EU passport.

Does Germany allow dual citizenship with UK? ›

Do people with dual nationality have to opt for one citizenship? The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period do not affect your existing German citizenship. If, on that date, you already held dual nationality, you do not have to decide between German and British citizenship.

Why is the German passport so powerful? ›

As of 19 September 2022, German citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 190 countries and territories, ranking the German passport third in the world and first in Europe and the EU in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Spanish passport) according to the Henley Passport Index.

Does Germany allow dual nationality? ›

In Germany, a person with foreign citizenship in addition to his/her German citizenship (a multiple national) has exactly the same rights as all other German citizens. Additional rights may result in relation to the other state whose nationality they have.

How long does German citizenship application take? ›

If the application is successful you will be issued a certificate of citizenship which is proof of your German citizenship. The certificate will be handed out to you for a fee of EUR 25.00. The processing time may take between two and three years.

Which country is the hardest to get citizenship? ›

17 Hardest Countries To Get Citizenship [REVEALED]
  • Qatar.
  • Vatican City.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Bhutan.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Kuwait.
  • Switzerland.
  • China.

How can I get German citizenship in 3 years? ›

For such early naturalisation, you must meet the following requirements:
  1. You must have been legally residing in Germany for at least three years.
  2. You must have been married to a German citizen for at least two years.
  3. You must have a valid passport or passport substitute.
  4. You must have accommodation.

How much does German citizenship cost? ›

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

Is the German citizenship test in English? ›

The test is in German and consists of 33 questions: 30 questions on Germany in general, and three related to the specific federal state you live in.

Which B1 test for German citizenship? ›

The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates are independent users of the German language and corresponds to the third level (B1) on the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is the life in Germany test? ›

The "Life in Germany" test takes place on a separate date after the orientation course has finished. It includes questions about Germany's political system, its religious diversity and equal rights for men and women.

How many questions are on the naturalization test? ›

Civics Test

There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test. During your naturalization interview, you will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. You must answer correctly 6 of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.

What documents do I need for a German passport? ›

Documents needed for a passport application

A recent photo that meets the government's strict passport photo requirements (in German). Documents that prove your identity and your German nationality (e.g. a current or expired passport or identity card, and your German naturalisation certificate, if applicable).

Is a child born in Germany automatically a citizen? ›

Yes. A child born in Germany (on or after 1 January 2000) can acquire German nationality, even if neither of the parents is German. The only precondition is that one of the parents has been legally and habitually resident in Germany for eight years and has a permanent right of residence.

Can a British citizen live in Germany? ›

British citizens require a visa and/or residence permit for any stay beyond 90 days within any 180-day period. British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for their residence permits after arrival in Germany and do not need to have obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany.

Does the UK allow triple citizenship? ›

Multiple citizenship, such as triple citizenship, is possible with the UK. Since there is no requirement under UK law to renounce or give up previous citizenship or nationality, it is possible to apply for UK naturalisation where you already hold multiple citizenships.

Can you have 2 passports UK? ›

United Kingdom allows their citizens to hold second UK passport alongside their current passport. Individuals are allowed to use both these passports simultaneously. It should be noted that these passports will have two different passport numbers, and they are considered totally unique to each other.

Which is the hardest visa to get? ›

North Korea

It's one of the most difficult countries to get access to and acquire a visa. One will need to apply for the visa through a tourist agency, which provides state-approved tours. Those from South Korea or with an American passport, are not eligible for this country's visa.

What is the easiest country to immigrate to from UK? ›

Portugal is notable as the most accessible European country to immigrate to, and one of the fastest ways to move there from the UK is to get a Golden Visa which is quite popular among foreigners. The Portugal Golden Visa requires an investment of at least €250,000.

Which country gives fastest citizenship? ›

Vanuatu is the takes only 50 days to process applications. These are the fastest countries to become a world citizen through citizenship by investment schemes. There is also a possibility for stateless to become a citizen and acquire passports through the investment schemes.

What is the new law in Germany 2022? ›

What will change? From now on, such migrants who have lived in Germany for more than 5 years as of January 1, 2022, have not committed crimes and are well integrated into society can apply for and receive a residence permit in the country for one year.

Can I lose my British citizenship if I live abroad? ›

Voting and citizenship

Your UK citizenship will not be affected if you move or retire abroad. If you want to live in an EU country, check the country's living in guide for information about your rights. You may need a visa.

Can you lose German citizenship? ›

German citizenship can be lost automatically by law or by renouncing citizenship. The most common reason for losing German citizenship is by applying for and receiving a foreign citizenship. Acquiring another citizenship automatically at birth on the other hand does not impact German citizenship.

Is German or British passport better? ›

The UK passport was one place ahead of the US at 186 countries, while EU states dominated much of the top rankings, data from Henley & Partners' 2022 Henley Passport Index showed. Germany and Spain were joint third, with Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg joint fourth.

How strong is UK passport? ›

The British passport currently ranks on the 6th place according to the Guide Passport Ranking Index. It provides visa-free access to 188 countries. This makes it one of the most desirable passports in the world with a very high mobility score.

What is the world's best passport? ›

Japanese citizens now hold the most passport power, as they are able to enter 193 nations visa free, or with visa-on-arrival. South Korea and Singapore hold joint second place, with both countries' passports enabling their citizens to access 192 nations without restrictions.

How do I apply for a German passport in the UK? ›

Documents required
  1. Application form (in the download centre)
  2. Current German identity document.
  3. Birth certificate (Certificate must include parents' details. ...
  4. German naturalisation certificate or certificate of acquisition of German citizenship by declaration (if applicable)
  5. Marriage certificate (if applicable)

Can I move to Germany after Brexit? ›

Moving to Germany from the UK After Brexit

Because of Brexit, you no longer have the right to work and live freely in Germany beyond 90 days— you must apply for a residence permit the same way a third-country national would apply.

Can you have 3 passports? ›

If your nation allows dual citizenship or more then it is fully allowed and legal to have three passports.

How many generations back can I get a German passport? ›

All three generations that came before you could be German citizens, as would you. Citizenship by descent helps one reclaim citizenship that's rightfully theirs but, due to various circumstances, has been lost throughout the years.

Can you get German citizenship through great grandparents? ›

Determine Eligibility for German Citizenship by Descent

It is through the direct family line that determines whether a claim can be justified. This means that if your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were born in Germany, it is possible to qualify for German citizenship.

Can you get German citizenship through marriage? ›

1, 1970 the acquisition of German citizenship by marriage does not exist anymore. A foreign spouse can only naturalize if certain requirements are met.

Which B1 test for German citizenship? ›

The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates are independent users of the German language and corresponds to the third level (B1) on the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

When can I apply for permanent residency in Germany? ›

To be eligible for this permit, you must have lived in Germany for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a German citizen). You must also be able to provide proof of your employment, financial resources, and German language skills. If you have this permit, you can stay in Germany indefinitely.

Is B1 enough to study in Germany? ›

Commonly accepted English language certificates as a proof of your proficiency in English language for academic studies in Germany are: Educational Certificate of an English-Speaking School. You must have completed at least 5 (B1) /6 (B2) schooling years in a school whose main language of instruction was English.

How can I get German citizenship in 3 years? ›

For such early naturalisation, you must meet the following requirements:
  1. You must have been legally residing in Germany for at least three years.
  2. You must have been married to a German citizen for at least two years.
  3. You must have a valid passport or passport substitute.
  4. You must have accommodation.

How difficult is German B1? ›

Hi, B1 is the beginning of the Intermediate level as a Deutsch speaker. So, by this time you should be able to carry out basic level conversations and form simple sentences since you would have already completed A2. B1 takes you further deeper in verbs and complex sentence structure.

What is the easiest EU country to get permanent residency? ›

1) Portugal

What make Portugal the easiest country in Europe to gain citizenship is that there are no physical presence requirements. Meaning you only need to hold your resident permit in order to qualify for naturalization. You don't need to spend most of the year in the country like most other countries.

How long do you need to live in Germany to become a citizen? ›

To be eligible for naturalization, a person has to have lived legally in Germany for at least eight years and possess the appropriate residence permit. Foreigners who have successfully completed an integration course are eligible for naturalization after seven years.

Does Germany allow dual nationality? ›

In Germany, a person with foreign citizenship in addition to his/her German citizenship (a multiple national) has exactly the same rights as all other German citizens. Additional rights may result in relation to the other state whose nationality they have.


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