German citizenship For Members

Could your political views bar you from becoming a German citizen?

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
Could your political views bar you from becoming a German citizen?
Two police officers stand at the Brandenburg Gate. Pro-Palestine demonstrations were banned in the city last weekend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

Discussions are intensifying around the role of political beliefs in becoming German, but what does the new citizenship law actually say?


Germany’s sweeping reforms to its citizenship law are on the cusp of coming into force.

Changing the rules around naturalisation, which was a key part of the Traffic Light Coalition’s agenda when they took office back in 2021, has also become a hotly anticipated reform for many foreigners living in Germany.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Germany push through the new dual citizenship law?

That’s because the reforms make it easier to become a German citizen. Easier for those who don’t want to give up citizenship of their home country, as dual citizenship will be permitted, and faster for those who haven’t been in the country for so long.

The standard period of 8 years of required residence will be cut to 5 years, while there will be a fast-track option allowing high-achievers and advanced German speakers the opportunity to get a German passport after just three years.

As the legislation approaches its concluding phase with the readings in the Bundestag scheduled for early November, there's been a resurgence in discussions regarding the importance of political allegiance as a core aspect of German citizenship.

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Germany

The recent outbreak of war in the Middle East has intensified these discussions, leading German politicians to reaffirm support for Israel and impose restrictions on pro-Palestine demonstrations.

What does the law say about political beliefs?

Germany’s current citizenship law states that naturalisation is out of the question if the applicant for German citizenship "shows by his or her behaviour that he or she does not accept the equal rights of men and women laid down in the Basic Law".

These can include "anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhumanely motivated actions incompatible with the human dignity guarantee of the Basic Law".


Under the new law, however, racist, inhuman or anti-Semitic acts are explicitly mentioned - and in future, the public prosecutor's office will have to inform the naturalisation authority about individuals who have committed such acts.

READ ALSO: Which criminal offences could get you barred from German citizenship?

Also to be excluded are those who are married to more than one spouse at the same time and those who reject gender equality.

Recently the FDP’s Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said that there would be tough measures against naturalising immigrants showing anti-Semitic behaviour.

Speaking to Bild am Sonntag, he said: "We are taking precautions against naturalising antisemites,". In his vision, even minor offences, such as insults, would be scrutinised to determine if they have an anti-Semitic motive.

The FDP politician said that those found to harbour anti-Semitic beliefs would then be ineligible for German citizenship.

In no uncertain terms, Buschmann added, "Anyone who agitates against Jews has a particularly strong motive for deportation and should certainly not receive a German passport."

But could the law be tightened up?

The proposed legislation has already cleared the Bundesrat and is scheduled for a reading in the Bundestag, Germany's Parliament, on either November 9th or 10th.


During this phase, a dedicated committee will be assigned to oversee the bill and to organise public discussions to delve deeper into the law and suggest any potential amendments.

But for any amendments to be incorporated at this stage, they would need to be voted on by a majority of politicians in the Bundestag.

READ ALSO: CDU leader calls for German citizenship to be allowed 'only with recognition of Israel'

Most of the current calls to tighten up the law are coming from the CDU and FDP which, together, would not be able to form a majority.

This makes it unlikely, therefore, that any significant alterations supported only by these camps would be incorporated.

One such amendment, proposed last week by CDU leader Friedrich Merz, was that applicants for German citizenship should sign a declaration recognising Israel’s right to exist.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also