German heritage? Here’s how you can get the ‘world’s most powerful passport’.

So, you’ve fallen in love with Germany. You’re entranced by the beautiful landscapes, the wondrous cultural heritage and, of course, the beer. It seems like the perfect place to settle down and enjoy the unique lifestyle the country affords. Perhaps you’ve even daydreamed about it?

German heritage? Here's how you can get the 'world's most powerful passport'.

If you’ve got German parents or grandparents, that dream may be easier to achieve than you realize. Together with Schlun & Elseven Lawyers, we look at the benefits of obtaining German citizenship by descent, how valuable that passport can be, and outline how you can get one.

Begin your journey towards German citizenship by descent by checking your eligibility with Schlun and Elseven Lawyers.

A great place to live

Germany is known the world over as a first world nation with a very high standard of living. Social services, education and healthcare all rank among the world’s best in league tables. While taxation may seem high in comparison to other countries, those taxes are reinvested in the community, with quality support services available to all.

Education is a concern for many parents, and those with a German passport have access to top-quality education at some of the world’s greatest universities without the student debt that can be accrued elsewhere. Elder support is also second to none, with excellent facilities for those who need round the clock care.

German citizenship not only allows people to take advantage of these very helpful services, but also play a role in deciding the future of the country. German citizens can, of course, vote in Stadt (city), Bundesland (state) and Bundestag (federal) elections, helping make important decisions across a wide spectrum of areas.

A great passport to have

The benefits of German citizenship do not only extend to the services that all citizens can access. A German passport is not only considered the world’s strongest passport in Arton Capital’s 2021 Passport Index, but it is also your key to Europe.

Holding a German passport allows the bearer not only to travel or settle throughout the European Union, but also travel visa-free throughout the ‘Schengen Zone’. This removes much of travel’s red tape and allows a spontaneity of travel and choice that many passports simply don’t afford.

Anyone who has travelled to Europe and watched the holders of EU passports sail through airport arrivals will also realise that holding a German passport is a massive timesaver. In fact, German citizens can travel throughout the ‘Schengen Zone’ without a passport, only needing to carry their Ausweis (Identification card).

Have a family link to Germany? Why not check if you have a right to German citizenship by descent with Schlun and Elseven Lawyers?

A German Passport (Pic: Pixabay)

A path to investigate

For a long time, German citizenship by descent was a fairly limited avenue. However, in the last few decades, there has been a significant easing of restrictions and there are now multiple paths for those with a parent or grandparent who was or is a German citizen.

Proving this can be a time-consuming process, but a worthy one. Those seeking to obtain German citizenship by descent will need to have a considerable amount of paperwork ready, including such documents as your passport, your ancestor’s passport, any marriage certificates and your birth certificate.

Gathering these documents will take some work, and there can be some anxiety over how the process will turn out. Much like many other places, bureaucracy is a complex thing, and you will not be able to receive specific, guided assistance from the German embassy or consulate that you submit your application to.

This is why a good German migration lawyer is very useful in not only streamlining the process, but allaying any fears that you may have. They can ensure that your paperwork meets the requirements of German law, and also ensure that your application is processed in a timely fashion.

Schlun and Elseven Lawyers are one of Germany’s most respected legal firms dealing with German citizenship by descent. They have offices across the country, with a team of experienced lawyers whose speciality is helping those with German heritage secure their citizenship.

To assist you in your journey towards German citizenship by descent, Schlun and Elseven Lawyers have created an Eligibility Checker. A guided series of questions helps you to understand whether you are eligible for German citizenship by descent. If you are eligible, their site can determine what avenue this is through and then help you begin the process by making initial contact with a Schlun and Elseven Lawyers office near you.

German citizenship has many incredible benefits. If you think you may be eligible for it through family descent, why not investigate the possibility? Visit the Schlun and Elseven Lawyers page today to learn more and start your journey towards life in Germany!

Member comments

  1. You must be kidding…..sounds like criteria favorable to European countries were chosen for the rankins…..

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What Germany’s plans for a points-based system mean for foreigners

To tackle its ever-widening skills gap, Germany wants to encourage talent from aboard to move to the country by introducing a points-based immigration system. Here's what foreigners need to know about the changes.

What Germany's plans for a points-based system mean for foreigners

What’s a points-based system?

A points-based system is an immigration model where foreigners have to score above a certain threshold of points in order to obtain a residence or work permit in a country. The exact scoring system is set by the government, but can include factors like language skills, family connections to the country, specific qualifications or work-related skills, or the amount of money in your bank account. 

Points-based systems can also be known as “merit-based systems”, because there tends to be a pretty big emphasis on what you can offer a country in terms of education or skills. 

The model was first introduced in Canada way back in 1967 as the country tried to move past a system based on race and nationality to one that favoured language fluency, youth and educational or vocational background. A similar step was taken in Australia just a few years later in 1972 and, since Brexit, the UK has also introduced its own points-based model. 

How does this relate to Germany?

When the new ‘traffic-light’ coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) took office last December, the parties pledged to reform Germany’s immigration system and bring a fresh cohort of workers into the country.

“In addition to the existing immigration law, we will establish a second pillar with the introduction of an opportunity card based on a points system to enable workers to gain controlled access to the German labour market in order to find a job,” the coalition agreement read.

This would apply to third-country nationals who don’t otherwise have the right to live and work in the country. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What Germany’s new government means for citizenship and naturalisation

German language course poster

A sign advertising German courses. Language skills can count towards points in a points-based system. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

FDP migration specialist Dr. Ann-Veruschka Jurisch, who is working on these reforms, says the policy is driven by Germany’s desperate need for workers. 

“The Liberal Party (FDP) is convinced that we need more labour migration,” she told The Local. “We do have a lot of options for coming into Germany as a labour migrant – but it’s a bit complicated – and if you want to come to Germany to search for a job and you don’t come from an EU country, it’s much more difficult.”

That’s why the coalition is aiming to offer a second route for people who don’t have job lined up in Germany, but who otherwise have the skills or talent to find one. 

What will this look like?

The plans for the points-based system are still at an early stage, so the exact criteria haven’t been worked out yet.

What’s clear at this stage, however, is that the points-based option would run parallel to the current model, which generally permits people with a concrete job offer in a skilled profession to come and work in the country. 

“It’s about (people having) a good opportunity to come to Germany when they have either a job offer in sight or a direct job offer,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in response to parliamentary question in January. 

“Next to that, we want to achieve a further possibility for talent – for qualified men and women whose skills we need in Germany, who still don’t have a work contract but, if given access, could use that opportunity. That’s what we’re talking about with this Canadian points-based system. It shouldn’t replace our current system, but rather improve it.”

In short, that means that people with a job lined up won’t be disadvantaged – but there will be alternative routes for those without them. It also won’t affect the EU blue card scheme

READ ALSO: ‘I finally feel at home’: How Germany’s planned changes to citizenship laws affect foreigners

Will people need formal qualifications? 

Probably not – though it will obviously depend on the sector someone works in and their level of experience in their chosen field.

“I personally am convinced that you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on formal qualifications, because it’s very complicated getting your formal qualifications recognised in Germany,” said Jurisch.

“A medical doctor, for example, is one where you can’t say, ‘Okay, you’ve got some experience so we don’t need to see your papers.’ But there are a lot of other jobs which do not have this restriction and they are not formalised but rather based on practical experience.”

Carpenter wood

A carpenter sands down a block of wood in Cologne. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

The issue of recognising qualifications is also a problem that the traffic-light coalition has set their sights on solving during their time in office.

At the moment, the process of getting qualifications officially recognised in Germany is done on a state-by-state basis, so somebody who gets their degree recognised in Brandenburg may have to redo the entire process again in Bavaria, for instance.

According to Jurisch, there have already been conversations between the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education on the issue, and Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has also promised to take steps to solve it.

But, she said, it’s complicated: “I’ve started to dive into this issue, and the more I dive into it, the more complicated it becomes – so there are no silver bullets.” 

How many workers are needed – and where? 

In order to plug its labour shortages, Germany needs around 400,000 new workers every year, according to the Federal Employment Agency. In 2020, Germany’s net migration was just 200,000 and 150,000 people of working age entered retirement – which means the country is currently falling well short of its targets. 

“We have shortages everywhere,” Jurisch said. “We need 400,000 new workers every year, and these people won’t be born in Germany – or if they are, they won’t grow up for another 20 years.

“We haven’t managed to get more women into the labour market, or they work part time, so I don’t think this will make a big difference, and I don’t think we will close the gap by training people.”

In this sense, it seems that immigration is the only option for filling major staff shortages in almost every profession. 

“Whoever I talk to, be it nurses, nannies, IT workers, industrial workers, teachers, lawyers – everywhere we have a shortage,” Jurisch said.

staff shortages Germany

A sign outside a restaurant informs customers of a closure due to staff shortages. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Sauer

When will the points-based system be introduced?

Unlike with the plans to reform citizenship, which the SDP-led Interior Ministry wants to achieve by the end of the year, there’s no firm timeline in place for the points-based system.

However, the FDP is fighting for the policy to be given higher priority and would like to introduce the new visa system before the next federal election in 2025. 

“I hope it will be done in this legislative period,” said Jurisch. “I’m pushing to get it a little bit higher up on the agenda.” 

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: ‘Changing German citizenship laws is a priority’