Regulations for obtaining German Citizenship


To become a German citizen, you generally have to be resident in Germany for 8 years and in most cases, you have to fulfill most or all of the following conditions:

  1. A valid Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis or Aufenthaltsberechtigung).
  2. Legally resident in Germany for at least 8 years. Some States (NRW or Niedersachsen) count the study period. Some other states often do not count the study period as the law is not very clear on this. Some people have moved to those above mentioned States before applying for citizenship and have been reportedly successful.
  3. The no. of year or residency is reduced to 7 years, if you successfully attend the Integration Course.
  4. The no. of year of residency is reduced to 6 years, if you are socially well integrated in Germany. This can be proved by good communication skill and being a member of a registered sports club in Germany (e.g. Stuttgart Cricket Eagels e.V. J).
  5. A livelihood-guarantee of you and your dependants without recourse to social welfare or unemployment benefits (exceptions are made for people under of 23 years)
  6. Adequate knowledge of the German language (B1 level).
  7. You have to give up your former citizenship (although there are exceptions to this).
  8. Spouses and children can often be naturalized even if they have not been living in Germany for 8 years. For spouses of German citizens the couple must be married for two years and the spouse resident in Germany for three years before the application can be made.

A brochure entitled Wie werde ich Deutscher (How can I become a German) gives detailed information on becoming a German citizen. It is available from the Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration and at

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