Germany Makes Citizenship Easier With New Laws: Discover 5 Major Changes

Starting today, Germany implements its landmark citizenship reforms, easing naturalization processes, allowing dual citizenship, and providing accelerated paths for exceptional integration achievements.
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Starting today, June 27, 2024, Germany introduces significant changes to its immigration and citizenship rules, making it much easier for non-EU nationals to become German citizens.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced that these new rules will also allow people to keep their original citizenship while becoming German, something that wasn’t broadly allowed before.

A Historic Shift in Citizenship Policy

Today marks the implementation of sweeping changes in Germany’s naturalization laws, making it significantly easier for immigrants to gain German citizenship. These reforms address the country’s evolving demographic and societal needs, reflecting a more inclusive approach to nationality.

“Finally, our law is doing justice to our diverse society. We recognize the life stories and achievements of many people in our country who immigrated a long time ago and have helped our country to move forward. The message is very clear: You belong to Germany!”

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Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser

Key Features of Germany’s New Citizenship Rules

1. Embracing Multiple Nationalities

Starting today, applicants can retain their original citizenship while becoming German nationals. This change marks a significant departure from previous policies that limited dual nationality to EU and Swiss nationals or exceptional cases.

2. Shortened Residency Requirement

The period required for residency before applying for citizenship has been reduced from eight years to five years. This accelerated pathway aims to facilitate smoother integration for long-term residents.

3. Fast-Track Naturalization for Exceptional Contributions

Those who have demonstrated outstanding integration achievements can now qualify for naturalization after just three years. Recognized achievements include language proficiency, academic or professional success, civic engagement, or running for political office.

4. Automatic Citizenship for Children of Long-Term Residents

Children born in Germany to foreign parents will automatically receive German citizenship if at least one parent has lived legally in the country for over five years and has permanent residency. This new rule abolishes the “option regulation” that previously forced these children to choose a nationality at age 18.

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5. Requirement for Financial Self-Sufficiency

Applicants must still prove their ability to support themselves economically, though the guest worker generation remains exempt, acknowledging their historical contributions to Germany’s workforce.

Also Read: Germany’s New Citizenship Law: 10 Key Changes and Their Impact

Immediate Implications

Today’s reforms directly affect Germany’s immigrant population, of which about 14% currently lack citizenship. In 2022, 168,545 people were naturalized in Germany—a modest 3.1% of long-term foreign residents. This figure is anticipated to rise significantly with the new regulations, as preliminary data shows a surge in citizenship applications.

Anticipated Surge in Naturalizations

The new, more inclusive policies are expected to result in a substantial increase in naturalizations, as they simplify the process and allow dual nationality, making citizenship more attainable for many long-term residents.

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A New Era of Inclusion and Belonging

With these reforms taking effect today, Germany takes a decisive step toward recognizing the contributions and identities of its diverse immigrant population. By easing the path to citizenship and permitting dual nationality, Germany is affirming its commitment to inclusivity and integration.

As these changes unfold, they signify Germany’s dedication to creating a more welcoming and integrated society, one that values the diverse backgrounds of its residents.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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