What You Need to Know About Applying for German Citizenship
Every year, thousands of people, especially those who are highly trained and experienced in their industries, travel to Germany because of its reputation as a nation of innovation and high-quality products. It is not surprising that so many people from other nations are interested in gaining German citizenship because Germany has one of the most secure and affluent economies in the world.
However, if you intend to apply for German citizenship, you should be aware that it’s not a simple process and can take years to complete, even in the best-case scenario. The information you need to decide whether or not to apply for German citizenship is provided here.
You can become a German citizen in a number of ways, such as through naturalization, marriage, or by meeting certain requirements related to your parents’ nationality and place of birth. A fun and rewarding experience, becoming a German citizen is a great way to establish your future and call this nation your home. However, naturalization, or Einbürgerung as it is known in German, is the most typical method of obtaining German citizenship.
You must fulfill a number of prerequisites in order to become a German citizen if you currently reside in Germany. A valid German passport, at least 8 years of legal residence in Germany, and the ability to demonstrate that you are self-sufficient in terms of finances are the first requirements. Once you’ve met these standards, you can submit an application, which the authorities will consider in three months.
Understanding German Citizenship?
Citizens of Germany have certain rights, obligations, protections, and benefits as a result of their legal position. You can live in Germany permanently if you have German citizenship. You will be granted voting rights, consular protection, freedom of travel, and unlimited entry to the German labor market as a result. In Germany, nationality provides far more stability for foreigners.
German citizenship is typically gained by lineage from a German legal mother and/or father rather than birth on German soil. No matter where they are born, any child of married German parents is normally a German citizen at birth. Children of unmarried couples where the father is the only German citizen must be legalized in order for them to obtain German citizenship.
Foreign nationals, on the other hand, can become citizens of Germany after living there for at least eight years and proving that they are fluent in the language. The majority of non-EU/Swiss naturalization applicants are given permission to keep their former statuses despite the expectation that they relinquish them. Germany is the perfect country where everyone would like to live and work. With its low unemployment rates, properly functioning healthcare system, and a host of other features that continue to attract individuals from all over the world.
However, many people are not even willing to take neither the energy nor the time to try to start a life in Germany due to the bureaucracy and the tight immigration system in that country. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t let that frighten you. There are a few ways to obtain German citizenship, but none of them are simple. They need effort and time, but if you become a citizen of Germany, the effort is worthwhile.
Types of German Citizenship
There are three main ways to get German citizenship.
- Right of blood
- Right of soil
For the first two, you must have connections to Germany—either your parents are German or you were born there. The latter is for foreigners who reside in the nation. You must meet specific criteria established by the German government, such as having been in the nation for a predetermined period of time, in order to be eligible to apply for German citizenship through naturalization. Depending on the basis of your citizenship application, this changes.
We will explain the prerequisites and the process for becoming a German citizen in this article. However, we’ll be concentrating on the naturalization process.
German Citizenship Through Naturalization
You can only become a German citizen through the naturalization process if you have no family ties to Germany (none of your parents or grandparents were German citizens). A process called naturalization makes it possible for non-German to acquire German citizenship. The majority of ex-pats will have to seek for naturalization to become German citizens. The two primary paths to naturalization in Germany—which take years in each case—are through job or marriage.
Requirements for German Naturalization
If you are not German by birth, you can be naturalized if you meet the following requirements:
- You have been living in Germany legally for at least eight years. The time you spend in Germany as a tourist, international student, or illegally does not count.
- You have an indefinite right of residence in Germany at the time of application
- You are able to support yourself and your dependents without social welfare benefits and unemployment benefits. You fulfill this requirement especially if you are inadequately paid employment at the time you apply for naturalization.
- You have sufficient knowledge of the German language. You must speak German at least on Level B1 (of the Common European Framework of Reference). Level B1 means you are an independent user, so you do not have to be fluent, you must just be able to use German enough to communicate independently.
- You have passed a naturalization test. This includes questions that measure your knowledge of the social and legal system in German.
- You have not been convicted of any criminal offense
- You accept the Basic Law: The Basic Law (Grundgesetz) is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- You give up your previous nationality: when you are naturalized, you will have to give up your previous nationality.
How to Apply for Citizenship Through Naturalization
If you meet all of the requirements listed above, you can then apply for citizenship.
You must first submit an application for German citizenship to the local Naturalization Authority in the German region or residential neighborhood where you currently reside. If you’re unsure where to apply, you should start by contacting the Ausländerbehörde.
An outline of the naturalization procedure is provided below:
- Go to your local Naturalization Authority office: They will let you know how to initiate the procedure, what documents you have to collect, and which forms to fill out.
- Enter the Naturalization Test: You have to register for the test and enter it on a specified date at the nearest test center. The Naturalization Authority will let you know where to register.
- Pay the application processing fee.
- Submit all the required documents for the application: In addition to the form, you will need to provide the following documents to prove that you meet the naturalization requirements:
- Bank statements to prove your financial position
- German residence records
- Proof of your German language skills mentioned above
Receipts to show you’ve paid the fees
- Naturalization certificate from passing the citizenship test
- Then, submit the application to the office which originally issued the application form.
- Wait for the application to be processed: The processing time for citizenship applications is quite lengthy, it can take about two years. If the application is successful, you will initially receive an assurance of naturalization (Einbürgerungszusicherung).
- Renounce your current citizenship: You can submit the assurance of naturalization certificate to the consulate of your country. If you are an EU citizen or your country does not allow renouncement of citizenship, you do not have to do this step.
- Get the Naturalization Certificate: Once you have renounced your citizenship (if required), you have to attend a Naturalization Ceremony where you will receive the Certificate of Naturalization. This means you are officially a German citizen!
- Apply for a German Passport and ID Card! You must do this at the local residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
How Much Does it Cost?
The application price you pay will vary depending on how quickly you require a response. Choose priority processing if you want your application processed quickly and don’t mind paying a little bit more. If you apply from within Germany, the charge is 145 euros, and if you apply from outside Germany, the fee is 250 euros. Your application will be assessed by an immigration official in two weeks or fewer thanks to this expedited service. Standard processing costs only 55 euros and takes roughly six months if you can wait longer. If you are intent on moving to Germany as soon as possible, it would be worthwhile to pay more for priority since there is no accelerated option available at that price tier.
Additionally, acquiring German nationality is not a given just because you marry a German citizen. There are still more conditions you need to satisfy. For example, in order to be eligible, one must have been married for at least two years and a resident of Germany for at least three years. Then, in addition to the aforementioned marital criteria, you can file for naturalization and fulfill all other necessary conditions.
Once you acquire German citizenship, you can also go ahead and apply for a German passport. To get German citizenship, the majority of people will have to renounce their nationality. However, some individuals are permitted to hold dual citizenship: re-settlers of German ancestry and their family members (accepted with them); nationals of nations that do not permit the renunciation of citizenship; children of parents who hold dual citizenship or one German and one foreign citizenship; Germans who become nationals of Switzerland or another EU nation.
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Learning how to become a German citizen can be quite worthwhile. Despite the fact that it can be a protracted and difficult procedure. Germany has a great education system, a high standard of living, and an exceptional work-life balance. But first, make sure you’re qualified before gushing about how wonderful life is in Germany. If you’re not already familiar with German history, make sure you do. It’s critical to realize that gaining German citizenship isn’t always simple or quick. Getting citizenship is like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen, as one ex-pat put it. Don’t give up; it will take time, but you will arrive eventually. For further in-depth details, follow the link below.