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Germany to ease citizenship rules for children of foreign parents

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
Germany to ease citizenship rules for children of foreign parents
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) has been the main Minister responsible for getting the draft citizenship law through federal Cabinet. After that though, it's up to the Bundestag, which could take several months to debate and amend her draft. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has unveiled plans to abolish language tests for naturalising seniors and reduce barriers to citizenship for the children of foreign parents.


As more details come out about the federal government’s plan to make it easier for people to naturalise as German citizens, the Interior Ministry has confirmed that children born in Germany whose foreign parents have been in the country for five years, will automatically get German citizenship.

At the moment, children born in Germany to foreign parents are automatically considered German if their parents have been resident here for eight years. The new reform would bring that in line with new proposals to bring down the general requirement for how long someone has to be resident in Germany before they can apply for citizenship. At the moment, that’s eight years. The current government’s draft law seeks to bring that down to five years.


The government is also looking to dispense with the German-language requirements for people from the Turkish guest worker generation who are 67 years of age or older. Under the plans, the ability to communicate orally would be sufficient and applicants for naturalisation from this group wouldn’t have to pass the German B1 test typically required to become German.

A resident who can prove special integration, typically by being very socially involved or speaking B2 level German, would be able to naturalise after three years.

As first reported by The Local Germany, the new law will also allow non-EU nationals to naturalise as German without giving up their other citizenship.

READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: German Bundestag to debate law allowing dual citizenship in December

The plans came under fire in an article from the high-circulating German Bild newspaper Friday, which accused Faeser of “selling off” German passports at “turbo speed.”

Criticism has also come from the opposition CDU/CSU parties. 

“The traffic-light parties apparently want to sell off the German passport. Soon, almost everyone will have it. Foreigners in Germany are thus deprived of a major incentive to integrate,” said Andrea Lindholz, deputy parliamentary leader for the Christian Social Union (CSU) in the Bundestag. “That can become a real threat to cohesion in our society.”

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: ‘Germany must finally allow dual or multiple citizenship’

The Interior Ministry originally planned to present the law to the Bundestag for debate in September. If that happens, the government hopes to pass the law by summer 2023, according to information obtained by The Local.



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