Release of the new German citizenship law draft bill – Update November 10th, 2023

On November 6th, 2023 the German Bundestag announced in a press release that the German government has presented a draft bill to amend the German citizenship law. This draft bill wants to take into account “the requirements of being an immigration country”. Access to German citizenship shall be made easier and at the same time be an incentive for rapid integration.

While the draft bill mainly addresses naturalization applicant who are already residing in Germany, what does this mean for German citizens for example in the US or Canada who wish to acquire US or Canadian citizenship ? The new law would abolish the need for a retention certificate (Beibehaltungsgenehmigung), because the new law would allow a general admission of multiple nationalities.

The following points out some changes for naturalization applicants:
– German naturalization shall generally be possible after a stay of five years instead of the previous eight years. In case of “special integration achievements” only a stay of three years shall be sufficient. The period of residence of one parent in Germany required for a child of foreign parents to automatically acquire German citizenship through birth in Germany is also to be reduced from eight to five years and the previous “option model” will be abolished.
-With regard to commitment to the free democratic basic order of Germany “Grundgesetz” (“Basic Law” of Germany) as a prerequisite for naturalization, the draft bill requires that “anti-semitic, racist or other inhuman motivated acts” are incompatible with the Basic Law’s guarantee of human dignity and violate its free democratic basic order.
-The draft further stipulates that, with limited exceptions in the case of naturalization, a person must be able to support themselves and their dependents without claiming benefits from social welfare (SGB XII) or basic benefits for jobseekers (SGB II).

The full press release is available (in the German language) on the webpage of the Bundestag. 

Date of publication 11/10/23