How to become a German citizen

You have lived in Germany for a number of years and would like to become a German citizen?

Here are the requirements in a nutshell:

Legal residence in Germany

You must have lived in Germany for the approprate length of time:

8 years, or
7 years with completed integration course, or
6 years with better German skills than level B1, or
3 years, if you have been married to a German citizen for at least two years (or have lived a civil partnership for an equivalent period).

During these periods you must have had uninterrupted legal residence in Germany.

Legal residence means that you hold a permanent or temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis or Niederlassungserlaubnis). Certain types of temporary permits, for instance student residence permits and researcher residence permits, are not sufficient. (EU citizens and citizens of Switzerland do not need a residence permit in Germany).

Proof of your identity and nationality

Can be established with a valid national passport or ID card.

Support of the German constitution

You are not a member or supporter of any organganization that engages in terrorist or extremist activity.


You must be able to support yourself. If you or your family receive long-term unemployment benefits or social walfare payments („Hartz IV“) you do not qualify.

Repudiation of your current nationality

As a general rule, Germany does not allow dual citizenship. You are expected give up your current nationality when naturalizing in Germany. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, for example, if giving up your current nationality would mean a hardship – especially financially – to you. For example, if your job or professional activities require you to be able to travel to your home country and work there, and you would suffer substantial losses, if you lost that ability, you may be given permission to retain your home nationality when naturalizing in Germany.

Citizens of the EU and Switzerland will not have to repudiate their nationality.

No criminal record

Misdemeanors and minor offenses will not be considered, if they did not result in sentences of fines equivalent of 90 days’ earnings or prison sentences of over 3 months.

German language skills

You have an oral and written knowledge of German at least at the B1 level.

Civics test and social integration

You will have to pass a civics test, in which you will have to answer 33 questions out of a catalouge of 310, 17 of which you will have to answer correctly in order to pass the test. The questions mainly cover the areas democracy, equality and civil rights under the German constitution, and freedom of religion. If you have successfully completed university studies in law, social, political or administrative sciences in Germany, the civics test will be waived.

Where and how to apply

You need to apply at the local immigration office (Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde) at the municipality where you reside.

In Berlin, for example, the boroughs (Bezirke) offer (and require) initial consultations (free of charge), where you will receive detailed information and the application forms. You will need to bring an valid passport or government ID card to the appointment. Procedures in other municipalities are similar.

The naturalization process may take several months or over a year, depending on where you reside. An administrative fee of 255,00 Euro per person (51,00 Euro for children) applies.

Contact us today, if you have any questions regarding the naturalization process in Germany.

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