A real breakthrough occurred in Germany on January 19, 2024. The Bundestag finally passed amendments to the citizenship law, thereby allowing dual citizenship, which millions of immigrants living in Germany had been waiting for. Now, the German passport has become one of the fastest passports to obtain in the European Union, as it can now be obtained in 5 years, and in some cases, even in 3 years.
In this article, we have gathered all the information you need to know to obtain German citizenship based on the law adopted by the Bundestag in January 2024. Let's get into it. At the end of the article, we will answer such pressing questions as: when will the law finally come into effect, can one already apply for citizenship before the law comes into effect if one wishes to keep their old one, and what to do for those who have already received approval for German citizenship but have not yet renounced their previous citizenship?
An alien must fulfill the following conditions if they want to acquire German citizenship. There are ten such conditions in total. Let's go through them in order:
So, we have named ten points that need to be fulfilled to obtain German citizenship. I think you may have questions about some of the points. Let's delve into more details.
The law states that you must legally reside in Germany for all 5 years. What should you do if, for example, you left Germany? Let's say you were on a business trip to Dubai for 3 months. In this case, the law states that you can leave Germany for up to 6 months, and this period will still be counted as residence in Germany.
If you, for example, left the territory for an extended period and your residence permit was expiring, for instance, you left Germany for 2 years and then returned, the previous period that you lived in Germany will be fully credited to you.
For those who studied in Germany, special conditions apply: education is only counted as half. For example, if you studied in Germany for 4 years, then for citizenship, only 2 years will be credited. The same conditions apply to those who came here as refugees: the time you spent in Germany from the application for asylum until the decision on your case will be fully credited.
We previously mentioned that you need to pass the Einbürgerungstest, that is, the citizenship test. This is a special test that proves your knowledge of the social and legal structure of life in Germany. This test consists of 30 general questions and 3 questions specific to the state in which you reside, making a total of 33 questions. They are selected from a list of 310 questions. In reality, the questions are not difficult, and in principle, anyone who has lived in Germany for 5 years can answer them. Of course, we recommend downloading, for example, an application, practicing, and trying to pass this test in advance. You need to correctly answer 17 out of 33 questions. Thus, the conditions are quite simple.
How can you prove that you have sufficient knowledge of the German language? For this, you need to present a certificate of German language proficiency at least at level B1 or any other certificate that matches this level. Such a test or certificate can be obtained at any accredited language school, for example, at the Goethe-Institut.
In some cases, you do not need to bring a B1 certificate. These are the cases when you were educated in Germany, namely:
One of the most interesting changes we have made together with the amendments to the new citizenship law is the accelerated procedure for obtaining a German passport. Previously, under the most favorable conditions, a German passport could be obtained in 6 years. Now, this period has been reduced to just 3 years. In fact, obtaining a passport through the accelerated procedure will be quite difficult. There are just two additional conditions, and they are quite strict.
The first condition is that you need to demonstrate a special level of integration into German society. What does this mean? It means that you have good achievements in work or study, or you have active participation. What this specifically means is not written in the law. It will be considered by an official who will be reviewing your case.
The second condition is excellent knowledge of the German language, meaning at the C1 level.
Before the law came into effect, the processing times for applications in Munich, for example, ranged from 8 to 12 months. Imagine, after the law took effect, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of foreigners living in Germany, who previously did not want to obtain German citizenship due to not wanting to give up their previous passport, now have this opportunity thanks to the introduction of dual citizenship. Can you imagine how many applications will now be submitted to German officials?
They were already struggling with the high volume of applications, and now thousands of people will be submitting new applications, so processing times will undoubtedly increase. My forecast is about 2 years, possibly even more, to wait for the review or response to your application.
If you submitted an application without a lawyer, you can speed up this process by consulting a lawyer. The lawyer will help you properly prepare all documents and will correspond with the department, and also get you an appointment. We provide this service.
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