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 become naturalised under certain circumstances.

To do so, you must submit an application. You can submit this application yourself once you have turned 16. Parents must make the application on behalf of children and young people under the age of 16.

You can obtain application forms from the responsible naturalisation authorities. They will also inform you which authority is responsible for your naturalisation process:

  • the immigration authority for your town or community,
  • the youth migration services,
  • the immigration advice service for adult immigrants, and
  • the town council or local authority.

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

Costs

Naturalisation costs EUR 255 per person. A fee of EUR 51 applies to minors who are to be naturalised with their parents. 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 at the same time as 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:

  • you have an unrestricted right of residence at the time of being naturalised,
  • you have passed the naturalisation test (knowledge of the legal and social system, as well as living conditions in Germany),
  • your habitual, lawful place of residence has been in Germany for eight years (this period can be reduced to seven years if you attend an integration course successfully, and can be reduced to as few as 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,
  • 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, and
  • you have lost or given up your former nationality (exceptions apply with regard to this point, depending on the country of origin; please contact the naturalisation authority).

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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.

Arrangements applying to 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 if they are born in Germany if, at the time of their birth, Germany has been the habitual, lawful place of residence of at least one parent for eight years and that parent has unlimited right of residence. Children must decide when they are aged between 18 and 23 whether they wish to take German nationality or retain the nationality of their parents.