a couple receives consultation

Anyone who has lived in Germany for a long time and who has a residence or settlement permit can acquire German citizenship under further conditions. In most cases, however, this requires relinquishment of former citizenship.

Information about citizenship can be found in the Berlin service portal on the website of the federal government or in the brochure of the commissioner for migration, refugees and integration.

The brochure offers you helpful information all about citizenship law. It provides valuable information about how you and your family members can become German and about the new regulations on the so-called option obligation.


  • Permanent right of residence or specific residence permits at the time of naturalisation
  • Habitual and legal residence in Germany for eight years
  • Subsistence security (including for family members entitled to maintenance) without social welfare and unemployment benefit II (“Hartz IV”)
  • Adequate command of German (level B1)
  • Knowledge of the legal and social order and of living conditions in Germany (“citizenship test”)
  • No criminal convictions
  • Declaration of commitment to the free democratic basic law of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Loss or relinquishment of former citizenship

A child acquires German citizenship by birth, if at least one parent has German citizenship. This also applies in the case of two immigrant parents, if at least one parent has lived in Germany legally for eight years at the time of the birth and has a permanent right of residence. However, if such a child grows up predominantly outside Germany then the person must declare again at the age of 21 whether the retention of German citizenship is desired. However, if a child grows up predominantly outside of Germany, they must decide at 21 if they wish to retain German citizenship or the other citizenship.