German dual citizenship: what are the necessary documents?

Check out the processes and documents required to acquire your German dual citizenship

Considering that Germany is a country where many people want to live, work and study, it is normal that they also want to know how to acquire local citizenship.

Germany is a country full of bureaucratic procedures, so, of course, even the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs states that the citizenship law is extremely complicated.

However, we have divided this guide into comprehensive sections that can provide tips, requirements and application procedures that show you how to become a German citizen. Check out the details below:

How can I acquire German citizenship?

Anyone thinking about applying for German citizenship must meet some strict requirements. There are three possible ways to acquire German citizenship:

By naturalization

You have lived in Germany continuously for at least eight years and fulfill all the other requirements listed below.

Being born to a German parent

If your mother and/or father is German. To qualify for this type of German citizenship, your birth must be registered within a year at the German embassy or consulate in the country where you were born.

By ground

You were born within German borders, but to non-German parents. At least one of your parents must have been a permanent resident in Germany for at least eight years and have the necessary permissions to remain in Germany indefinitely.

When you turn 18, you will have five years to decide whether you want to acquire German citizenship or your parents’ citizenship.

German citizenship by naturalization

Naturalization involves going through an application process that can take several months. It is the most common way for expatriates to obtain German dual citizenship.

What are the requirements for German dual citizenship by naturalization?

To qualify for German citizenship by naturalization, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Live in Germany with a legal residence permit for more than eight years.
  • No criminal record.
  • Pass the naturalization test.
  • Be prepared to give up your previous citizenship (some exceptions apply: see the section on dual nationality below).
  • Be committed to the democratic principles of the German constitution.

Exceptions to the eight-year requirement

There are some exceptions to the minimum eight-year residency requirement for citizenship by naturalization. You can apply for German citizenship immediately if one of the following conditions applies to you:

  • You have successfully completed a German language integration course at a Community College (Volkshochsschule) and have lived in Germany for seven years continuously.
  • You have been married to a German citizen for at least two years and have lived legally in Germany for at least three consecutive years.

Can I acquire German dual citizenship?

When acquiring German citizenship, foreigners usually have to give up their former citizenship because, in general, Germany does not allow its citizens to have dual nationality. However, there are some exceptions:

Cases in which German citizenship with dual nationality is permitted

You are not required to give up your original citizenship if any of the following conditions apply to you:

  • You are a citizen of the European Union / Switzerland.
  • You are a citizen of the former Soviet Union.
  • You are allowed by the German authorities to keep your other citizenship.
  • Your country does not allow or it is impossible to give up your citizenship (for example, if your country is in a state of conflict).

How can I apply for German dual citizenship?

If you fulfill all the necessary requirements and wish to apply for German citizenship, you must apply for it with the competent authority. In Germany, the authority responsible for citizenship issues depends on the federal state (Land) where you reside. Check with the local foreign office (Ausländerbehörde) or the citizen’s office (Bürgeramt).

Your local citizenship authority will schedule an appointment with you to discuss all important information. If you are abroad when applying for the German citizenship, your application will be handled by the local German embassy or consulate.

The citizenship authority will provide you with all the necessary information and forms during your initial appointment. After gathering the necessary documentation, you can submit your application and pay the fees so that it can be processed.

Depending on your federal state, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to receive a decision.

If you have children under 18 and you want them to have German nationality, you can apply for their citizenship with you.

Documents required for the application for German dual citizenship

The citizenship authority will advise you on exactly which documents you need to prepare during your initial appointment, which generally include:

  • Your passport and/or identity card (not the driver’s license)
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Proof of financial stability (for example, bank statements)
  • Proof of German language proficiency
  • Certificate of approval for the naturalization test

Depending on your personal situation, additional documents may be required.

How much does German citizenship cost?

The application for German citizenship by naturalization costs, on average, 255 euros. If you also submit an application for your children, the fee is 51 euros for each child under the age of 16.

You will also have to pay 25 euros for the naturalization test and, if your application is accepted, an additional 25 euros for your naturalization certificate.

Look for experts when preparing your documents

As you have seen, having the right documentation in hand is essential to ensure that the German dual citizenship process runs smoothly.

One of the most important details that you need to consider is that these documents need to have sworn translation.

This is the only way to guarantee the legal validity of your documentation. Therefore, when the time comes, look for trained experts to perform this type of service.

Contact the Fidelity Translations team to help you ensure the quality of your translations, allowing you to focus on other of the many tasks that involve applying for German dual citizenship. 

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