New bill proposes changes to German citizenship rules

New bill proposes changes to German citizenship rules

New bill proposes changes to German citizenship rules

The Bundestag has passed a bill which provides stricter rules for granting German citizenship. It proposes that naturalisation be made even more dependent on a person’s integration into the German way of life.

Terrorists could be stripped of German citizenship

The new regulation will make it possible in future for dual nationals to be deprived of their German passport if they belong to a terrorist group. It will not, however, be possible to strip someone of their citizenship if doing so would leave them stateless. This regulation could also be applied retroactively to people who have already, for example, gone to join IS militia in Syria.

It will also be possible to revoke someone’s passport if they were granted naturalisation on the basis of false information. Previously, the deadline for this was five years; this bill extends it to 10. 

Candidates must fit into “German living conditions”

A particularly controversial part of the bill is the demand that, as well as passing a naturalisation test and other general requirements, candidates only be granted citizenship if they fit into “German living conditions.” According to the Bundestag press office, this somewhat broad criterion is intended to explicitly target polygamists.

In a statement, the federal government explained: “The granting of citizenship by naturalisation sets certain requirements for identification with the existing community, which are not met if the naturalisation applicant is married to more than one spouse. The principle of monogamy is constitutionally and criminally anchored to the Federal Republic of Germany.” The exclusion will apply even if the double marriage has been granted outside of Germany. 

Bill has split German politicians

Opposition parties have criticised the phrase “integration into German living conditions”, with the Green MP Filiz Polat calling it a “spongy criterion” which will have far-reaching consequences for the lives of all migrants in Germany. “With this law, the coalition is trying to anchor the Leitkultur (defining culture) principle in nationality law,” Polat said. 

The FDP, however, expressed agreement with the bill: “It is correct to make it clear that integration into German living conditions is the prerequisite for naturalisation - and that excludes polygamous marriages,” said Liberal Secretary-General Linda Teutenberg. The bill, therefore, makes an important contribution to the defence of “our open, liberal society.”



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

Read more



Leave a comment