Naturalisation: Obtaining German Citizenship

Can I become a German citizen?

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Many people who come to Germany think about applying for German citizenship eventually. With German citizenship, you can vote and also run for a political office in Germany. Furthermore, you will be able to benefit from freedom of movement within the EU and can live and work in other countries in the European Union without a residence permit. With a German passport, you can also travel to many countries without a visa. Inside Germany, having German citizenship saves you from some administrative obligations, as you no longer have to go to the Immigration Office.

If your parents are German citizens or in case you were born in Germany (given your parents meet specific requirements), you will be automatically granted German citizenship. You can also obtain German citizenship without being born here or having parents who are German citizens. To do so, you need to go through a process called naturalisation ("Einbürgerung").

What do I need to know?

What requirements do I have to fulfil for naturalisation?

Can I become naturalised in less than eight years?

Is the duration of my asylum procedure or my student years also included?

I do not have a language certificate - what can I do?

Do I have to give up my former citizenship?

How do I give up my former citizenship?

I was convicted of a crime- Can I still become naturalised?

Do I have to take the naturalisation test?

I do not meet the requirements - can I still become a German citizen?

I have a German spouse. Are there special rules which apply to me?

Where and how can I apply for naturalisation?

How much does a naturalisation application cost?

Can I lose my German citizenship later?

Important

If you want to acquire another citizenship in addition to your German citizenship, you must make a so-called "retention request" ("Beibehaltungsantrag") at the Naturalisation Office. Only if this application is approved, you can have both nationalities. Otherwise, you lose your German citizenship by acquiring the other one.