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Germany - Apply for Naturalization

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Contents

Introduction

Citizenship represents the link between a person and a state or an association of states. Possession of citizenship is normally associated with the right to work and live in a country and to participate in political life. One way a foreign national can obtain citizenship in the country he/she is currently residing is through naturalization.

Folowing are procedures on how you can apply for naturalization.

Eligibility

Foreign nationals who have lived in Germany permanently and legally for eight years may obtain a German citizenship through naturalization. The foreigner must also meet the following basic requirements:

  • Holds right of permanent residence at time of naturalization
  • Renounce his/her previous citizenship
  • Familiar with the legal system, society and living conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany (naturalization test)
  • Ability to support oneself without recourse to social assistance
  • Oral and written German language skills equivalent to level B 1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  • No criminal convictions
  • Commitment to the constitutional principles of freedom and democracy


Note: Some exceptions to the naturalization requirements may be made for certain groups.

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Instructions

Please provide instructions on obtaining the certificate/documents.
e.g. The state office holds birth records since january 1908.

Required Information

A list which displays the kind of information which is required to complete the procedure.
e.g.
1. Date of Birth.
2. City or County of Birth.

Procedure

  • Ask your local government, foreigners authority or migration advisory services for adults or young people, to find out where you can submit your application. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne (Bundesverwaltungsamt) is responsible for the naturalization of persons permanently living abroad. In these cases, local German diplomatic representation (embassy, consulate general or other consular body) may be contacted for information regarding the procedure.
  • Part of applying for naturalization is passing the naturalization test. Click on the link to find out more about the said test.
  • Children born in Germany to foreign parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has been a legal, regular resident of Germany for at least eight years and has a permanent residence permit. The local civil registry office will inform the parents about their child's acquisition of German citizenship. From the moment the children turned 18 years old up to their 23rd birthday, they must choose between German citizenship and that of their parents. If they choose German citizenship, they must present proof to the nationality authority that they have renounced their other citizenship by their 23rd birthday. To retain the other citizenship, they must submit the necessary application to the nationality authority before their 21st birthday. If there is any doubt as to whether the other citizenship can be renounced by the child's 23rd birthday, this application should be submitted just in case.

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Required Documents

  • Proof that you have renounce your previous citizenship
  • Police certificate
  • Proof that you have taken and passed the naturalization test
  • Other documents will be asked from the applicant. Please inquire at your local government, foreigners authority or migration advisory services for adults or young people, to find out which documents it is.

Fees

  • Naturalization fee: 255 euros per person
  • Naturalization fee for minor children naturalized with their parents: 51 euros per child.


Note: Some fees may be waived or reduced for certain groups.

Validity

Explain the time until which the certificate/document is valid.
e.g. Birth Certificate Valid Forever

Documents to Use

Please attach documents which can be used by people who would like to follow this procedure.    

Sample Documents

Please attach sample completed documents which would help other people who would like to follow this procedure.    

Processing Time

Please explain the processing your application.    

Office Locations & Contacts

Federal Ministry of Interior
Public enquiry service: +49 228 99 681 0 or +49 30 18 681 0
From Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 8:00pm
Email: eID_buergerservice@bmi.bund.de

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Video

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0US7oR_t3M" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 
	

Information which might help

Taking the naturalization test

Basically, the naturalization test is used to determine whether the applicant possess basic knowledge about Germany's legal system, society and living conditions. The test consists of 33 questions including three questions which apply only to the German state where the applicant lives. Applicants must choose the correct answer from four possible responses. To pass, applicants must answer 17 questions correctly. In recent years, more than 90% of applicants have passed the test. Persons under age 16 and those who do not meet the testing requirements due to illness, disability or age do not have to take the test. And anyone who has graduated from a German school or from German higher education in law or social, political or administrative sciences does not have to take the test.

Sample test may be viewed on the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees website. After you have answered all the questions, you can see which questions you answered correctly. Then you can read through the correct answers including brief background information. You may also answer an interactive list of questions online. After each question is answered, the correct answer will be displayed.

The online test is free. There are several private services who also offer to help applicants to prepare for the naturalization test, but information about the cost of these services is often hidden in "small print". Be sure to read the service provider's terms and conditions carefully before signing up for anything.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

Naturalization grants the citizen the following:

  • The right to vote
  • Basic constitutional rights (freedom of assembly; freedom of association; freedom of movement; freedom to be employed)
  • Inalienable right of residence
  • Eligibility for civil servant status
  • Freedom of movement throughout the EU
  • Consular protection abroad
  • Exemption from visa requirements in many countries

External Links

  • Federal Ministry of Interior:
http://www.bmi.bund.de/EN/Topics/Migration-Integration/Naturalization/naturalization_node.html
  • Federal Office for Migration and Refugees:
http://www.bamf.de/EN/Einbuergerung/InDeutschland/indeutschland-node.html

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