The Path to Dual Citizenship in Germany

Tips for gaining citizenship from someone who has watched her friends go through the difficult procedure


Dual citizenship has become a popular topic in recent years as more and more people seek to acquire citizenship in multiple countries. In Germany, the laws surrounding dual citizenship have undergone significant changes, providing more opportunities for individuals to acquire and maintain dual citizenship. However, in most cases they still preclude non-EU citizens from gaining dual citizenship in Germany.

According to VisaGide, Germany is the ideal country where one would love to work and spend their life, as it has low rates of unemployment, perfectly organized healthcare system, and many other factors.

In this article, we will explore the rights for getting dual citizenships, recent changes to (the application of) German law, and the implications of these changes for individuals.

Recent Changes to Germany’s Dual Citizenship Rules

Until recently, Germany had strict rules regarding dual citizenship, requiring individuals to renounce their previous citizenship before acquiring German citizenship. However, in 2014, the German government introduced a new law that allowed individuals with EU passports who were born in Germany or who have lived in Germany for at least eight years to have dual citizenship. This change was a significant departure from previous policies, and it opened up new possibilities for those seeking to maintain dual citizenship.

In 2019, the German government further relaxed the rules on dual citizenship for children of German citizens born abroad. Children born abroad to at least one German parent can now hold dual citizenship up until they turn 23, giving them more time to decide which citizenship they want to keep.

Nevertheless the rules still prevent many. Germany currently allows dual citizenship only in the following situations:

  • For children who have at least one German parent (and a foreign parent) at the time of their birth.

  • For children who are born in Germany to foreign parents.

  • For naturalized citizens who cannot forfeit their previous nationality.

  • For German expats who have applied for retention to keep their citizenship and get another nationality.

  • For foreign citizens who are descendants of German nationals, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community reports.

The changes to German dual citizenship law have significant implications for certain individuals seeking to maintain dual citizenship. The biggest hurdle remains for many that only people with EU passports, or those who have one parent from Germany, are eligible to hold German citizenship. Acquiring dual citizenship is also almost always a complex and lengthy process that requires individuals to meet certain criteria and provide documentation to support their application.

Despite these changes then, Germany is still in need of foreign workers and that’s why the current German government approved changes to the skilled immigration act.

Proposed Law Change on Dual Nationality

This draft law would allow people to apply for citizenship after five years, instead of the current eight, and most significantly it would lift a ban on dual citizenship for people from non-EU countries, meaning immigrants would no longer have to surrender their home country nationality — a red line for many.

Changes will also be made for the so called EU Blue Card, as it will become more accessible to more specialists with a university degree. Two years of professional experience will be enough for foreigners with a state-recognized professional qualification in their home country for them to be allowed to come for work in Germany.

The new changes seem to have significant implications for families and immigrants and this decision is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive and welcoming society for all, as it provides more opportunities for this category of people. However, whether the government will be able to pass the legislation required remains to be seen.