It might still be years away, but German citizenship is the final result of your migration to Germany. So, why would you want to get German citizenship? What are the requirements to become a fully-fledged citizen if you’re an expat? Let’s get your questions answered to get you started on the road to your new German Nationality!
If you’re already on a permanent residence permit, why would you go all the way (full German, if you will). Well, citizenship comes with many rights and privileges, most interestingly for you, this means you get: Unrestricted access to the German job market: you’re allowed to work with a residence permit, but as soon as that expires, or you’re no longer working, your presence in Germany would be in jeopardy. As a German citizen, that’s no longer the case!
So, what are the requirements for German citizenship? Well, first of all, there exist 3 grounds upon which you can claim German citizenship:
So, In order to be able to get your citizenship as an expat, you must first integrate as a permanent resident for a number of years, as well as meet a number of requirements. Let’s take a look at the naturalization requirements
These are the requirements that essentially everyone needs to meet in order to be granted German citizenship.
You can also be eligible for German citizenship by marrying someone who already has the German nationality. That’s not all, though, because you still need to complete the naturalization process and pass the naturalization test. Also, to curb fake marriages, you’ll also need to be married for at least 2 years and having lived in Germany for at least 2 years as well.
Some people think that being rich is a quick way to German citizenship. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. However, you can actually get a residence permit through the German Entrepreneurial Residency Program. You need to invest at least €360.000, so getting a permit by getting a job might be the easier option! If you get your residence permit through this route, you still need to take the regular naturalization route in order to become a full German citizen.
Generally speaking, you need to renounce any previous citizenship in order to accept the German citizenship, with some minor and relatively rare exceptions:
However, if you do have dual citizenship, you can only make use of your rights as a German citizen while living in Germany. So, if you’re a dual citizen in Germany and the USA, but you live in the states, your rights as a German citizen are suspended. Also, you’ll always have to meet the obligations that you have as a citizen of the German state, such as paying taxes.
So, you meet all the requirements and you’ve been in Germany for as long as you have to be! That means the only thing standing between you and your German passport is the naturalization test. So, let’s take a look at what this test looks like.
This test consists of around 30 multiple choice questions (in German, obviously), focused on your knowledge of German society, rules, customs and laws. You have one hour to complete the test and you need at least 17 correct answers to pass the test. When passing the test, you will get a certificate that proves that you’ve integrated successfully.
Over your years in Germany, you’re probably pretty familiar with what life is like in Germany! However, there might be some law- or customs related knowledge you might feel insecure about. Thankfully, you can take an integration course to help you prepare. If you don’t need that much help, but just want to know if you‘re ready, the German government offers some Naturalization practice tests (fully in German) for you to try before you tackle the real thing.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about becoming a true German citizen! Immerse yourself in the language and the culture, after all, that's part of the fun of living in Germany. When the time comes for you to take the naturalization test, you'll be ready!
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