What does it mean to have German Citizenship?

When you are living in Germany only as a permanent resident, you do not qualify as a citizen of Germany. This puts some restrictions in your status, and that is why so many permanent residents of Germany seek to get citizenship.

Having German citizenship gives you rights and freedoms that non-citizens do not have. You will have these opportunities as a German citizen:

  • The right to vote
  • The right of free movement
  • The right of assembly and association
  • The right of consular protection
  • Unrestricted access to find a job in Germany
  • The right to become a civil servant, etc.

Besides the rights as per the German constitution, you will also have the obligations and duties that each German citizen has. This includes the integration in society, respect for and obedience of all laws, and even German military service.

Types of German Citizenship

Becoming a German citizen is not possible under all circumstances. There are three general instances that can lead to you getting German citizenship.

    • By naturalization
    • By right of blood or in Latin Jus Sanguinis
    • By right of soil or in Latin Jus Soli

Getting citizenship by naturalization implies that you have fulfilled certain requirements that the German government has set and you qualify to apply for German citizenship. The other type, by right of blood or Jus Sanguinis means that you get German citizenship if you are a direct descendant of German citizens. This includes only your parents and no other relatives. By right of soil or Jus Soli means that you are born within the borders of Germany, so in German soil and that is how you get your citizenship.

All people with the exception of EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals, must fulfill requirements and fall into one of these categories for getting German citizenship.

Despite these three instances being quite straightforward, each one of them has its own rules and regulations, which we will discuss further.

German Naturalization

German naturalization means that after a certain period of living in Germany as a permanent resident, you apply to become a citizen. There are many restrictions and requirements for obtaining naturalization, so not everyone can get it.

German Citizenship Requirements for Naturalization

The requirements that you need to fulfill in order to qualify for naturalization are as follows:

  • You must have lived in Germany on a residence permit for at least 8 years, or
  • You must have lived in Germany on a residence permit for 7 years and attended an integration course (this becomes 6 years on special integration circumstances)
  • You must prove German language proficiency of at least B1
  • You must be financially able to support yourself and your family without any help from the state
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record
  • You must pass a citizenship test
  • You must renounce any previous citizenships

Your residence records are in the government system so that will be an easy requirement to fulfill. For financial stability, you can submit bank statements and other documents, which state your financial situation. In addition, you must give up all previous citizenships, except if the other country does not allow it or it is impossible to give it up. This is the case with many countries in conflict, such as Syria.