German dual citizenship law delayed again after FDP standoff

German dual citizenship law delayed again after FDP standoff

The German government has once again delayed its plans to pass a new dual citizenship law after disagreements among coalition leaders about how previous benefit claimants should be treated if they apply for a passport.

German dual citizenship law delayed again

Germany’s dual citizenship law has been paused once again during the legislative process thanks to disagreements between the FDP and both of its fellow governing parties, the SPD and Greens. 

According to the dpa, the main point of contention between the FDP and Greens is about an amendment related to withholding citizenship to non-EU residents in Germany who have previously claimed unemployment benefits such as Arbeitslosengeld or Bürgergeld

The SPD is pushing for these tighter rules not to be applied to Turkish migrants of the Gastarbeiter generation or to disabled people who may have received benefits.

It was originally hoped that the law would be enshrined by April 2024, but that timeline is now highly unlikely. Since an agreement has not been reached, the bill will be delayed until after the imminent winter holidays.

In its current form, the law will allow people who have been resident in Germany for just five years to apply for a German passport. They will also be able to keep their original nationality and have dual citizenship, and in cases of particularly impressive achievements in their work and developing their German language skills, the wait time for prospective citizens will be just three years.

Citizenship law already plans to tighten rules for benefit claimants

The terms of eligibility for German citizenship for benefit claimants were already in discussion when it came to preparing the draft citizenship law, and is one of the few areas where some rules of eligibility are set to get stricter for many people.

Currently, citizenship applicants who receive social security benefits (with the exception of Kindergeld) are unlikely to be granted a passport. This will likely remain the case under the new law.

The new law will be less sympathetic to children and carers. Children who are born outside the country whose parents receive social security benefits and people who do not work because they are unable to or because they care for dependents will likely have their applications rejected under the new rules.

However, things are set to get easier for people who are in full-time work but still aren’t paid a sufficient wage to support themselves - so receive supplementary income benefits. They will be able to apply for naturalisation if they have worked in Germany for at least 20 months of the two years prior to submitting their application.

But with the FDP now resisting granting citizenship to non-EU residents in Germany who have claimed benefits in the past, the details of these clauses could change once again before the law goes to its second reading in the Bundestag next year.

Thumb image credit: Heide Pinkall /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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