Germany to allow dual citizenship under new coalition agreement
It had been rumoured for some time, but now it’s been confirmed: Germany’s incoming coalition government has unveiled plans to simplify the requirements for applying for German citizenship and to make dual nationality possible for non-EU citizens for the first time.
Applying for German citizenship to be made simpler and easier
On Wednesday, the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) released the details of their coalition agreement, laying out a roadmap for the post-Merkel years. Alongside policies to increase the minimum wage, lower the voting age, and legalise cannabis, the deal includes a few paragraphs of special interest to foreign nationals living and working in Germany.
The agreement states that the coalition’s intention is to “simplify the path to German citizenship” and modernise the law. The residency requirement - the minimum amount of time someone has to live in Germany before qualifying for naturalisation - will be reduced to five years, or three years for people who have completed special integration measures.
Up until now, the minimum residency requirement was eight years for someone who was not married to a German citizen. This could be shortened to seven years by completing an integration course, or six years by achieving level B1 in the German language.
Dual nationality to be allowed for non-EU citizens
It also specifically states that the law will be changed to allow “multiple citizenship”, suggesting that non-EU citizens will for the first time be allowed to opt for dual nationality. Previously, dual citizenship was only allowed in certain circumstances, primarily reserved for citizens from other EU nations.
The coalition also wants to make it easier for so-called “guest workers” to qualify for naturalisation. This generation of workers came to Germany during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, mainly from Turkey, to fill worker shortages in key industries. Many ended up staying in Germany but often haven’t fulfilled the requirements for citizenship - particularly the language requirement. The coalition now wants to lower this barrier.