After a certain time in Germany, numerous migrants decide to take Germany nationality. In 2014, 108,420 people of foreign origin were naturalised, according to figures published by the Federal Statistical Office.
Naturalisation makes you a German citizen and at the same a national of the European Union – with full rights and obligations:
If you are not German by birth, you can be naturalised if you meet the following requirements:
As the issue of Naturalisation includes many specifics and each case is different you should talk to the Naturalisation authorities before applying. For example, underage children and the spouses of migrants who are entitled to Naturalisation may also be naturalised at the discretion of the Naturalisation authorities even if they have not lived in Germany for eight years.
You can find out which Naturalisation office is responsible for your case from your local town hall or district authority, or the foreign nationals' registration authority of the municipality where you live.
Even if you have lived in Germany for eight years or more, you are not naturalised automatically. You always have to submit a written application to the Naturalisation authorities. They will also give you personal advice and supply an application form which you must fill out and hand in with the required documents.. You can apply for Naturalisation in your own right from the age of 16. For children, the parents or other legal guardians can apply on their behalf.
As a general rule, the fee due when applying for Naturalisation is 255 euros. For children who are to be naturalised with their parents the fee is 51 euros per child. If one child alone is to be naturalised, a fee of 255 euros is also due. In exceptional cases the Naturalisation fee may be reduced or waived altogether. This is the case, for example, if the applicant has only low income or several children are to be naturalised at the same time
Once your application has been verified and accepted, you will receive notification from the Naturalisation authorities as how to proceed next. Depending on which Land you live in, you will have to take the steps to renounce your previous nationality yourself. You will receive an assurance of Naturalisation (“Einbürgerungszusicherung”) which you can submit to the consulate of your country of origin to apply to renounce your previous nationality. If by acquiring German nationality you automatically lose your previous nationality, or if it is impossible or deemed unacceptable to renounce it, there should be no further obstacle to your Naturalisation. You will receive a Naturalisation certificate, which will usually be handed to you in person or presented during a Naturalisation ceremony. This document makes you a German citizen.
How long it takes all in all from the time you apply to the presentation of the certificate varies from case to case. In many cases it can take several months. The best thing is to talk with your local Naturalisation authority.
With the Naturalisation certificate you can have a German identity card and a German passport made out at your local residents' registration office (“Einwohnermeldeamt”). You have to be in possession of at least one of these documents in Germany to provide proof of your identity if required. It usually takes a few weeks before your identity papers are ready to collect.
Principle of parentage and principle of birthplace: German nationality is based on the principle of parentage. That means that a child who has at least one parent with German nationality automatically obtains German nationality at birth. The principle of birthplace is also valid. According to this, a child of foreign parents can automatically obtain German nationality if born in Germany if one of its parents has lived legally in Germany for at least eight years and held a settlement permit or an indefinite residence title at the time of the birth.
Dual nationality: Children of foreign parents who have acquired German citizenship by birth can have German nationality in addition to the nationality of their parents. The prerequisite is that they grew up in Germany. According to the law, a person grew up in Germany if, by the time they turn 21, they:
Find out more about integration courses (German, English, Spanish)
Why people from all over the world feel at home in Germany (German, English, Spanish)
Information about naturalisation in Germany (German, English, Russian, Turkish)