To be eligible for German citizenship ("Anspruchseinbürgerung"), you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have a permanent residence permit ("Niederlassungserlaubnis") or a residence permit which entitles you to a permanent residence permit.
- You have been legally residing in Germany for at least eight years.
- You are not entitled to or receive any benefits from the Jobcentre or the Social Welfare Office.
- You speak German at level B1 or higher.
- You have passed the naturalisation test covering the German legal and social order or have a German school-leaving certificate.
- You have not been convicted of any serious crimes.
- You declare to the German Naturalisation Office (in writing and verbally) your commitment to the German Basic Law.
- You have only one spouse.
- You have a passport or other documents (driver's license, birth certificate or alike) which verify your identity or you can prove that your home country is refusing to issue you any papers.
- You give up or have lost your previous citizenship. You can read more in this regard in the section "Do I have to give up my former citizenship?".
If you meet all these requirements, in principle, your application must be approved. In exceptional cases, your application may also be approved if you do not meet all the prerequisites- for instance, when the following happens:
- Sudden unemployment due to compulsory redundancies
- Inability to work because of childcare or vocational training
In these cases, you can apply for naturalisation despite receiving unemployment benefit II or social assistance. Please note: In general, unemployment benefit I, housing allowance ("Wohngeld"), BAföG or alike are not an obstacle to naturalisation.