The major changes to the German Citizenship Act from 2024 at a Glance
The modernisation of citizenship law is an important step towards promoting social participation and is intended to make it easier to acquire German citizenship.
In 2022, 168,545 people applied for a German passport. However, at 1.1%, the naturalisation rate in Germany has so far been low compared to other European countries.
This is now set to change with the Act on the Modernisation of Citizenship Law (StARMoG). The law was passed by the Bundestag on 19 January 2024 and will come into force in spring 2024.
The key points of the reform include:
In future, naturalisation will generally take place with the acceptance of multiple citizenship, i.e. the renunciation of the previous citizenship(s) is therefore no longer necessary. The loss of German citizenship when acquiring a foreign citizenship no longer applies, meaning that a retention authorisation pursuant to Section 25 StAG old version is no longer required.
Similarly, the loss of German citizenship upon adoption by a foreigner in accordance with Section 27 StAG old version no longer applies.
German citizenship by birth
The new law generally allows children born in Germany to foreign parents to have multiple nationalities (so-called ius soli acquisition). This means that they no longer have to choose between German and foreign citizenship when they come of age. The option obligation will be abolished. These children will receive both the German and the nationality of their parents from birth. The required legal and habitual residence of a foreign parent in Germany will be reduced from eight to five years, cf. section 4 (3) of the Citizenship Act (new version).
Shortened periods of prior residence
The requirements for naturalisation in accordance with Section 10 (1) sentence 1 of the Citizenship Act (old version) have been amended: The minimum period of legal and habitual residence in Germany will be reduced from eight to five years. This means that foreigners are entitled to naturalisation and German citizenship after just five years of residence in Germany. This also happens while retaining the nationality of the home country, provided the home country allows multiple nationality. This regulation makes the acquisition of German citizenship more attractive than ever before.
The period of residence can be shortened to three years if there are special integration achievements. These are, in particular, good educational, vocational or professional achievements or civic engagement, which must be proven to the naturalisation authority. The applicant must be able to support themselves and their dependants within the meaning of Section 8 (1) No. 4 of the old version of the Citizenship Act. In addition, proof of language proficiency at level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages must be provided.
Specific grounds for exclusion
Previously, the naturalisation requirement of „integration into German living conditions“ was an abstract concept. Now, concrete grounds for exclusion replace this requirement. Naturalisation is excluded if someone lives in a polygamous marriage or disregards the equal rights of men and women (see Section 11 sentence 1 no. 3 of the new version of the Citizenship Act). In addition, anti-Semitic, racist or inhuman acts will lead to rejection of naturalisation (Section 10 (1) sentence 3 of the new version of the Citizenship Act).
How can we help you?
The law firm O. Law advises its clients on applying for naturalisation and provides the necessary documents. We are a renowned law firm specialising in naturalisation law. By nature, there are many questions before applying for German citizenship and due to the changing legal situation. The German authorities are known for their bureaucratic and sometimes complicated procedures. We are happy to advise and support you on your path to German citizenship. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help.
O.Law is a modern and dynamic law firm working in cooperation with highly motivated, professionals offering legal advice in the heart of Düsseldorf. We are characterized by our cooperation with a tax advisor and a network of lawyers in Eastern Europe.
O.Law supports in all legal requests regarding commercial law, focusing on our international cooperation. In view of the intensity of German-Turkish trade relations and the importance of them, we established a Turkey Desk.
Solutions that are efficient and economically sensible, with creative approaches are defining O.Law’s hallmarks. O.Law offers legal services in German, Turkish and English and can support double culturally. To speak a common language is important to us.
O.Law – International Law Firm
Attorney at Law Hülya Oruç, LL.M.
+ 49 211 976 358 -19
O.Law is a law firm based in Düsseldorf. Working for entrepreneurs worldwide, making their dreams come true.
We speak your language.