German citizenship gives you a host of benefits including the right to vote, work and live in Germany. Even permanent residency holders have plenty of reasons to consider naturalisation: much less paperwork, no jobs will be out of bounds, and as a citizen of the EU you’ll enjoy all the benefits of freedom of movement.

German citizenship by descent

The quickest route to German citizenship is through family ties. Having a German parent, grand-parent or even great grand-parent allows you to qualify for German citizenship by descent.

German citizenship requirements

If you do not have family ties, the fastest way is through employment or marriage.

If you were born outside Germany, you need to have lived in the country for eight years and have passed B1 level in German to qualify. There are however specific circumstances that might speed up your waiting time and you could become a citizen within three years.

To apply for German citizenship you will need a valid passport or identity card, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and proof of German B1 language level.

You must also take a citizenship test, which assesses your understanding of Germany's legal framework, society, and way of life. There are 33 questions in total, of which 17 must be correct to pass. You can apply to take the test at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees’ test centres (which costs €25).

Dual citizenship

In Germany, dual nationality has long been off limits but legislators are now clearing a pathway to an eagerly awaited reform. In this article we cover the reforms that were recently announced when applying for German citizenship including the latest of dual citizenship. You can follow additional developments on our latest citizenship news page.

German citizenship for students

Many people who move to Germany for studies end up staying in the country long term. At some point you might start thinking about applying for citizenship. So what are the rules? Do the years spent studying count towards residency requirements, for example? (Yes!). Make sure to check out our guide on what foreign students should know about applying for German citizenship.

Application costs and duration

You can submit your application for German citizenship to your local immigration office. You'll pay an application fee of €255 for adults and €51 for children under 16. There may also be some hidden costs depending on how far along you are in the process.

Processing will usually take between 12-18 months in larger municipalities.

If your application is approved, you'll need to take an oath of allegiance to Germany and attend a citizenship ceremony. If it’s rejected, you'll have the right to appeal.

Please note that German citizenship law is in the middle of a reform process. Our German citizenship news page has all the latest updates.

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