German Bundestag members likely to vote on citizenship law this Friday

German Bundestag members likely to vote on citizenship law this Friday

Germany’s new and long-awaited citizenship law is likely to face its final readings in the Bundestag on Friday before it moves to the final legislative stage with a vote in the Bundesrat.

German citizenship law likely to face final debates on January 19

After over two years in the works, many disagreements and delays, Germany’s new draft citizenship law is likely to face its final two debates, also known as “readings”, and a vote in the Bundestag this Friday, January 19. 

In its current form, the 80-page-long law will mean that people who have been resident in Germany for just five years will be eligible for a German passport. They will also be able to keep their original nationality and have dual citizenship. In cases where prospective citizens show impressive achievements in their work and speak German at a C1 level, they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after just three years.

The agenda for Friday will complete a significant stage in the legislative process. After a first, heated reading in the Bundestag at the end of November, the law is to face two final readings in one sitting. According to the legislative process, the current German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will then ask elected politicians for their votes or abstentions.

What will happen once the citizenship law is voted on in the Bundestag?

In Germany, once a law faces readings in the Bundestag and has won a majority of votes, it moves to the Bundesrat, which represents the German federal states.

A version of the dual citizenship law actually already passed through the Bundesrat in October 2023, but since then coalition disagreements about withholding citizenship from non-EU residents who have previously claimed unemployment benefits such as Arbeitslosengeld or Bürgergeld have led to amendments in the law.

This means that the draft will head to the Bundesrat once again. However, since the Bundesrat represents the federal states, the coalition government believes that this legislative stage should be little more than a formality.

This is because the planned changes to the citizenship law will be adopted at the federal level and do not concern the budget or amendments to the German constitution (Grundgesetz). Even if Bundesrat members wanted to, the house cannot stop the new legislation from being passed into law.

With the next Bundesrat sittings scheduled for February 2 and 22, either of these dates could be when President Steinmeier is invited to enshrine the dual citizenship law. Once administrative adjustments have been made, the law is expected to come into effect from April 2024.

Thumb image credit: paparazzza /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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