Thursday, July 18, 2024

German law easing path to dual citizenship comes into force

People can now apply for citizenship after living in Germany for five years, instead of the previous requirement of eight years, provided they meet all conditions.

• June 27, 2024
German Flag used to illustrate the story[Credit; Study in Germany]

A long-debated citizenship law took effect in Germany on Thursday, easing the pathway to a German passport, including making it easier to hold dual citizenship.

The naturalisation reform put forward by Germany’s three-party centre-left coalition government allowed people to become German while retaining their original citizenship.

People can now apply for citizenship after living in Germany for five years, instead of the previous requirement of eight years, provided they meet all conditions.

Children born in Germany to parents from abroad will also be granted German citizenship if one parent has been a legal resident in Germany for five years rather than eight.

If applicants demonstrate “special integration achievements’’ through particularly good performance at school, work or civic engagement, they may be able to be naturalised after only three years.

An important aspect of the new rule is that people who obtained their German citizenship would not have to give up the citizenship of their native country.

Previously, it was only possible for residents from other EU countries in Germany to be given citizenship.

Likewise, Germans who wish to become citizens of another country no longer need special authorisation from the German authorities.

Previously, without authorisation, they would have lost their German citizenship if they acquired another one.

“Many people have been waiting for this for decades,’’ said Germany’s Commissioner for Integration Reem Alabali-Radovan, a member of the ruling centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

She added that with the reform, Germany finally has a citizenship law that is in keeping with the times.

Germany’s liberal Free Democrats (FDP), a junior partner in the coalition government, said the waiting time for naturalisation would be reduced.

The overall requirements for obtaining German citizenship would not be lowered with the new regulations.

“Obtaining a German passport will be faster in the future, but it will be more challenging due to significantly stricter naturalisation requirements,’’ said FDP lawmaker Stephan Thomae.

Mr Thomae said a higher number of applications may not significantly increase naturalisations in the long term.

“This is due to new requirements stipulating that applicants must be financially independent as well as stricter tests to prevent the naturalisation of individuals with anti-Semitic views or conflicting values,” Mr Thomae said.


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