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Visas & Work Permits in Germany

How to get Citizenship in Germany

Acquiring German citizenship is a dream for many people, and in this article you will learn the steps to obtain it. There is also information about the cost and requirements of the application process, such as mandatory German language skills. German citizenship gives you a number of benefits, like the freedom to travel without a visa to 188 countries worldwide. With a strong economy, lots of career opportunities, and an unemployment rate of only 3.1%, acquiring German citizenship looks like an attractive plan for years to come.

Most foreign residents can apply for a permanent residence permit – a “settlement permit” (Niederlassungserlaubnis) – after five years of living in Germany, but some may get it sooner. For example, if you’re a non-EU national married to a German citizen, you could be eligible to file for German citizenship after three years. On the other hand, if you’ve graduated from a German university and hold a temporary residence permit for paid employment, you can submit your German citizenship application form after two years.

Germany citizenship fees are something you should also consider. It’s 255 EUR for the citizenship application form for adults, while a child’s (under 16) costs 51 EUR. The naturalization test is 25 EUR and the citizenship certificate is also 25 EUR.

Requirements for a Settlement Permit

There are certain requirements if you want German citizenship – you have to prove some basic knowledge of the language, political system, and society. Moreover, you need to show that you’re able to earn a living and that you’ve made financial contributions to Germany’s national pension plan for five years. Proof of accommodation is also required.

In a few rare cases, a permanent residence permit is granted at once. For instance, highly-qualified people, such as academic teaching and research staff, and scholars, can receive a settlement permit immediately if they can financially support themselves and can show that they have adapted well to the local culture.

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Documents Needed for German Citizenship

There are several requirements for becoming a German citizen. You must:

  • Hold a residence permit
  • Have had your legal place of residence in Germany for at least eight years
  • Be able to support yourself and any dependents without social welfare benefits
  • Have sufficient knowledge of Germany’s culture that you can pass the national naturalization test
  • Have a good knowledge of the German language
  • Hold no criminal convictions
  • Have refrained from extremist acts and commit to the order of the German constitution

In addition, some people, generally depending on where they’re originally from, might be forced to relinquish their previous nationality in favor of their new German citizenship.

How to get Dual Citizenship in Germany

People from outside of the EU countries and Switzerland usually have to renounce their original citizenship to become German citizens. Dual citizenship isn’t usually recognized in Germany.

However, rules regarding dual citizenship in Germany have relaxed in recent years. For example, in 2017, over 61% of newly naturalized German citizens were able to keep their original citizenship. Those coming from Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Lebanon, and Tunisia did not have to give up their citizenship that year.

The EU Long-Term Residence Permit

The “EU long-term residence permit” is almost identical to the German settlement permit. However, if you obtain the permit in Germany, this allows you to move to other EU member states. Unlike people with a regular residence permit or settlement permit, you can receive full access to the labor market and social security schemes in the European Union.

Updated on: February 04, 2020

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