Who can apply for German citizenship

Last Updated on May 31, 2023

In this topic we will collect information about who can apply for German citizenship, how much it costs and how long it takes.

In autumn, they talked a lot about easing the conditions for obtaining citizenship – they say, smart people should be lured to Germany. It is likely that some of these proposals will still be accepted, since there are no enough children, and someone needs to feed the retired baby boomer generation.

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What do they offer

Reduce the period of residence to 5 years, for especially worthy applicants with German level C1 to 3 years.

You don’t have to give up your previous citizenship.

Give children born in Germany citizenship if one of the parents lived for 5 years and not force them to choose between citizenships

Remove the language test and citizenship test for people over 67.

Establish a point system to facilitate entry.

I don’t think, however, that the legislators really clearly understand who they want to attract, who they will actually attract, and whether they realize that much more problems are not with the rules for obtaining citizenship, but with the bureaucracy, the peculiarities of the German labor market and the lack of social lifts.

Who is eligible for German citizenship thanks to parents or ancestors

First, let’s list who is eligible for German citizenship without waiting n years, passing an exam, etc. – by parents or ancestors.

1. Children of German citizens are eligible for German citizenship. It is enough to have one parent-citizen. If the parents marriage are not registered and the father is a German citizen, he must acknowledge paternity officially.

Care must be taken by those who, being German citizens not born in Germany, give birth to a child not in Germany either. They need to register the child’s German citizenship within a year, otherwise he risks losing it.

2. Of foreigners, the easiest it is for Spätaussiedler – they receive citizenship automatically with an entry permit.

3. According to the recently changed rules, in order to compensate for the gender injustice of previous laws, citizenship can be obtained by:
children and their descendants from mixed marriages of Germans and foreigners,
extramarital children of Germans and foreigners and their descendants,
children of parents deprived of citizenship under the Nazis,
– who under the old laws could not acquire citizenship due to gender of their German parent.

4. Since 2000, children of foreign parents born in Germany receive German citizenship if one of the parents has lived in Germany for 8 years and has unbefristetes Aufenthaltsrecht.

According to the standard rule, when these children turn 21, they must choose between German and foreign citizenship.

But from 2014, children raised in Germany do not have to choose and can retain both citizenships.

Children are considered to have grown up in Germany if they:
– lived there for 8 years
– or attended school for 6 years
– or received a certificate of education or acquired a profession in Germany

Also, if the second citizenship belongs to the EU or Switzerland, then they can keep both.

Preferential categories – who can apply for German citizenship ahead of time

Some categories may become citizens before the residence period of 8 years. Other requirements for them remain.

1. Spouses of German citizens (registered partnership) – minus 5 years

2. Completed the integration course – minus 1 year

3. The most mysterious category – those who showed very good integration in the form of especially good knowledge of the language, achievements in studies or work, or who worked as a volunteer in a public organization for a long time – minus 2 years

4. Refugees, stateless persons, protected persons – minus 2 years

5. Spouses (registered partnership) of the applicant for citizenship – after 4 years of residence in Germany, of which at least 2 years of marriage
Children under 16 – after 3 years of stay in Germany

Who can apply German citizenship under the general procedure

Finally, those who are not so lucky and who need to act according to the standard rules.

These are the current requirements.

1. 8 years of residence. Do not forget to register yourself in townhall correctly, there have already been cases when one had to prove it.

2. Residensce rights: unbefristetes Aufenthaltsrecht, or Blue Card, or Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt EU, or even limited Aufenthaltserlaubnis, which leads to permanent residence (by work, as a family member, as a refugee).

If you are in Germany
for study (in various forms),
or for humanitarian reasons,
or for a short stay,
or you have an Aufenthaltsgestattung (issued while your asylum application is being processed)
or Duldung (you were denied asylum, but allowed to stay for a while on humanitarian grounds)
– then a limited residence permit is not sufficient.

3. Verified identity.
In theory – on the official website – a biometric passport is enough. In practice, they want a birth certificate with an apostille or dancing with a tambourine to prove that you cannot get it.
It cost us money and a year of waiting until we received the apostille, because the employee in the Amt did not want to understand that in other countries an apostille cannot be received by mail in two weeks, as in Germany.

4. Einbürgerungstest (from 16 years old)

The test questions in English are listed here: #Test Leben in Deutschland

5. Passed German at level B1. There is also a “successfully completed German course” on the official website, but I have not yet heard that anyone could so easy get off.

The following topics will help prepare for the B1 exam: #DTZ

The alternative is:
4 years of German school,
or a German school certificate,
transfer to the 10th grade of a German school,
diploma from a German institute.

In theory, a department employee can verify your knowledge of the language simply by talking to you. But it remains a deep theory.

6. No criminal record.

7. Financial independence from the state. This means no social assistance and unemployment benefit Harz IV.
The exception is when you are fired through no fault of your own or if something prevents you from urgently going to work, such as small children. ALG 1 is not considered an obstacle.

Financial independence also includes pension insurance – in practice, they require 5 years of payments. If you have 2 children born in Germany, then this gives 6 years for two parents (they decide, how to distribute this time between them).

8. Renunciation of previous citizenship.


  • for citizens of Ukraine – Germany admits that Ukrainian authorities cannot now issue documents for renunciation of citizenship
  • citizenship of the EU, Switzerland, USA (separate rules) or Israel.
  • you are at risk of persecution in your home state
  • you are a refugee
  • your home state does you a favor and refuses to revoke your citizenship. These caring states at the moment: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Honduras, Lebanon, Cuba, Iran, Maldives, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
  • your state in your particular case does not want to release you, does not accept documents or does not respond within two years
  • renunciation of citizenship will cost you dearly, for example because of business in home state (this will have to be proven, and most likely in court)
  • you are not released due to military duty, and:
    you have to spend 2 years abroad because of it, and here you have a family and a minor child
    you refuse service because it is contrary to your beliefs, and you are not offered an alternative service
    you are already 40 years old and you have not lived in your home country for 15 years and at least 10 of them live in Germany.
    you will have to participate in military service in an armed conflict with Germany or a state related to it.

What papers do you need for German citizenship

  • passport,
  • residence permit,
  • autobiography in full sentences,
  • birth certificate (apostille! – ask your Ausländeramt),
  • birth certificates of children (for children born in Germany – you need to take a new German certificate with an expiration date of six months),
  • marriage certificate (apostille!),
  • divorce certificate, who had (apostille!),
  • spouse’s death certificate for widowers,
  • certificate of school attendance for schoolchildren,
  • exam B1 or equivalent for students in Germany
  • Einbürgerungstest certificate
  • from work 3 recent salary statements or proof of decent earnings for the self-employed
  • state of the pension account. Those who are not employed will most likely have to go to a pension fund to clear their retirement account.

A wide variety of documents can be added, such as a student loan certificate or a certificate of distribution of parental wardship of children from a previous marriage. Hannover, for example, also wanted to see schoolchildren’s Zeugnis – but they did not demand from us. So you need to ask in your AA.


How much is German citizenship

The price could include:

  • the translation of documents that have not been translated before (30-50 euros per document)
  • costs of apostille at home, if you need, – individually
  • the price of a B1 test depends on the type of test and who performs it. Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer costs an average of 140 euros, there were prices of 120 and 160. It is cheaper for course participants.
    B1 certificate from Goethe institute costs about 200-230 euros.
  • the citizenship test costs about 25 euros (2023).
  • Renounce citizenship costs – individually (renounce costs + notary fee + costs of translation + costs of apostille on Zusicherung (15 euros))

Сompulsory payment for citizenship: 225 euros per adult, 51 euros per child (2023).

Costs of German passports (2023, check for actual year). Your child needs a travel or German pass also for EU.

  • German pass (Personalausweis) – 37 euros for 10 years
    up to 24 years old – 22.80 euros for 6 years
    It is enough for German, EU (3 months)
    and in addition Albania, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey (up to 90 days),
    Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Macedonia, Montenegro (up to 30 days).
  • Travel pass (Reisepass), if you want for aduls or for child for all other countries (for example USA):
    adult – 60 euros
    up to 24 years – 37.50 euros for 6 years
    child up to 12 years old – 13 euros for 12 month, renewal – 6 euros

In total for us (2 adults, 2 children) – 2200 euros without costs of apostille at home

How long to get German citizenship

Obtaining apostilles at home – individually.

B1 tests. Waiting for the term – 2-3 months and more. Plus waiting for the certificate (1,5-3 months or even more).

Einbürgerungstest – at least a month of waiting for the term, usually longer. Plus 8 weeks of waiting for the certificate.

Waiting the approval from AA – 6 month to 2 years.

Although employees may say not to interfere once again with questions, this is a mistake on your part. We have been waiting for almost two years. The first year we did not disturbed them, as requested. A year later, we could not stand it and went to ask. We were told “yes, yes, now, now, bring a paper from work, 3 months of salary and schoolchildren’s certificates”. Then we asked regularly, and always received the answer “Soon”. At the end we wrote an angry letter to the boss. The reaction was immediate: our employee was removed. They found a bunch of requests in her queue (ours, of course, lay at the very bottom). Our request was raised from the bottom, immediately put into circulation. At the same time, they again demanded a standard set: a paper from work, 3 months salary, certificates from school. Three months later we received a Zusicherung and had to renounce citizenship.

Renounce citizenship – individually. By uns it was 10 months.

To get German passports – 1-4 months (depend on types and changes in names)

In total for us – 4,5 years.

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