BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Naturalisation in Germany

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Naturalisation in Germany

If you are living in Germany permanently, you can, under certain conditions, become naturalised. To do so, you must first submit an application. You can submit this application yourself once you have had your 16th birthday. Parents must make the application on behalf of children and young people under the age of 16.

You can obtain application forms from the naturalisation authorities responsible. You can find out here which authority is responsible for your naturalisation process:

  • the local foreign affairs offices for your town or community
  • the youth migration services
  • the immigration advice service for adult immigrants
  • the town council or local authority.

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Before submitting your application, it will help to have an advice session with the authorities. This will help clarify any questions you may have.

Costs

Naturalisation costs EUR 255 per person. For minors who are to be naturalised with their parents, there is a fee of EUR 51. Minors who are to be naturalised without their parents must also pay EUR 255. If you are on a low wage or have several children who will be naturalised (with you), the fee can be reduced, or payment in instalments can be agreed.

Conditions

You have a right to naturalisation if you fulfil the following conditions:

  • Unrestricted right of residence at the time of being naturalised
  • You have passed the naturalisation test (knowledge of the legal and social order, and living conditions in Germany)
  • Your ordinary and legitimate place of residence has been in Germany for eight years (this period can be reduced to seven years with successful attendance at an integration course, and can also be reduced to six years in the case of special integration measures)
  • You have independent means of securing a living (including for family members entitled to maintenance) without resorting to welfare payments and unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV)
  • You have adequate German-language skills
  • You do not have any convictions on account of a criminal offence
  • You are committed to the free democratic constitutional order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • You have lost or renounced your former nationality

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If one of these conditions is not fulfilled, you are not entitled to be naturalised. It is however possible to obtain “discretionary naturalisation”. This means that the naturalisation authority can agree to naturalisation if there is a public interest in your naturalisation and some of the basic requirements are fulfilled.

Regulations for children

Children born in Germany have an automatic right to German nationality if their mother, their father or both parents are German. Children of foreign nationals take German nationality when born in Germany if, at the time of their birth, Germany has been the ordinary and legitimate place of residence of at least one parent for eight years and if that parent has unlimited right of residence. Children must decide between their 18th and 23rd birthdays if they wish to take German nationality or keep the nationality of their parents.

Date 18 January 2011