The Citizenship Act of Germany regulates acquisition and loss of German citizenship. Citizenship may be acquired by birth, naturalization and by birth to foreign nationals under certain conditions.
Conditions for granting German citizenship:
Children born to German national, regardless place of birth, automatically acquire German citizenship;
Children born in Germany without the identification of parents (foundlings);
Children whose parents live legally in Germany for at least 8 years have the right for German citizenship and the citizenship of a country of which parents are nationals;
Children acquire citizenship automatically if at the moment of the birth parents are the nationals of EU or Switzerland.
Child born to foreign nationals who live in Germany illegally is not entitled to obtain German citizenship.
Child born to foreign nationals legally residing in Germany for 8 years and over, has to decide on his nationality upon reaching 23 years of age. The exception is when he is already a citizen of the EU or Switzerland. Then he has the right for dual citizenship.
A minor child adopted be German nationals automatically acquires the citizenship.
A person lawfully reside in Germany on the grounds of residence permit or permanent residence for the period of at least 8 years (unless otherwise provided by law);
A person embraces democratic principles established in the Constitution of Germany
A person is a EU or Switzerland national or is a holder of permanent residence permit in Germany;
A person has sufficient funds to support himself and his family (if any) without recourse to the state;
A person was not convicted for violating the law and has clean criminal record;
Proficiency in German language;
Knowledge of the county’s Constitution, legal system and livelihoods of German state.
In acquiring German citizenship an applicant is required to submit a document renouncing previous citizenship. Possible exceptions are nationals of EU countries or Switzerland, as also refugees for whom the renunciation of citizenship may pose some difficulties.
Category of persons with lowered residence qualification:
Foreign nationals who successfully integrated into German society can apply for citizenship upon 7 years;
Foreign nationals who proved their German language proficiency (the level higher than required for citizenship) can apply for citizenship upon 6 years of residence in Germany;
Spouse of German national can apply for citizenship upon 3 years of cohabitation;
Refugees have the right for citizenship upon 6 years of lawful residence in Germany;
Former German citizens.
Naturalization on an exclusive basis
The application is considered by the government on a case-by-case basis if an alien has proven his strong social connection with German state and wants to acquire its citizenship.
Jewish nationalities fell into a narrow category of persons with the right to acquire German citizenship.
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