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Easing The Way: Germany's Potential Reforms For Dual Citizenship

4 min read

Easing The Way: Germany's Potential Reforms For Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship is a practice that allows an individual to hold multiple citizenships. Germany was quite a strict country in the EU as it rarely allowed this case, but this could change soon with its new draft bill.

Starting in 2024, Germany could shift its stance. That would be a massive shift in the immigration world as the German passport is one of the strongest you can have. It offers visa-free access to 190 countries, including the Schengen Area, and all the benefits of an EU passport

So, if you want to discover how you can embrace your roots while embracing new ones, keep reading to discover the details of this proposed legislation. 

 

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

NEW RULES AND SIMPLIFICATIONS

 

RELAXED DUAL CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS

Regarding dual citizenship, each country has its own set of rules. Germany, known for its firm positions on avoiding dual citizenship, has started to think differently. The days of choosing German citizenship and renouncing others could be a thing of the past. This new bill’s implications are monumental, allowing for a more relaxed approach to dual citizenship. 

Until now, the German Government hardly made any exceptions to the principle of avoiding dual citizenship. For example, dual citizenship by descent is accepted, and in case a German wants to get a second citizenship, they need to ask for permission to retain German citizenship. 

This bill is intended to pave the way for German citizenship to the “guest worker” generation and allow native Germans to get second citizenship if they wish. Also, if you have German roots, you might be eligible for citizenship by descent and get increased mobility. 

 

REDUCED CITIZENSHIP PROCESSING TIME

Germany is looking to streamline the naturalization process, making it quicker and smoother. Previously, it took eight years before you could officially call yourself a German citizen. According to the new bill, you would only need five years of residency. 

 

ACCELERATED NATURALIZATION FOR INTEGRATION

Germany has a vast immigrant population and soon could recognize the efforts of those who actively have contributed to society. Showcasing exceptional integration into German society and culture could accelerate the naturalization process of thousands of residents. 

If you prove to be “particularly well integrated,” you could become a naturalized German citizen in just three years. In this context, “particularly well integrated” means:

  • Having a clean criminal record;

  • Possessing good German language skills;

  • And the ability to support themselves without relying on social assistance. 

The Federal Minister of The Interior, Nancy Faeser, remarks that anyone who expresses racism, antisemitism, or hatred in any way will not be granted this opportunity. She insists that those who wish to become German citizens must uphold the values of a free society. 

 

DUAL CITIZENSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR GERMANS

Germans used to give up their citizenship to get another or renounce the opportunity of getting a second passport. It was like closing one door to open another. But the proposed changes could mean that Germans are not forced to part ways with their original identity. They can expand their horizons without leaving their home behind. 

The German passport has tons of benefits, and according to multiple passport rankings, it's considered the second strongest in the world. Germans could keep their German passports in their portfolio without giving up on other opportunities to enhance their mobility and tax advantages. 

 

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

CORE ELEMENTS OF THE LEGISLATIVE REFORM

 

EMBRACING DUAL CITIZENSHIP

For many years, Germany had the notion that dual citizenship was a conflict. Now, it’s a possibility. Imagine that you have this EU passport in your portfolio and others that complement it. Perhaps one passport didn’t allow access to some countries, but the others did. Germany would allow you to diversify your options instead of forcing you to put your eggs in one basket. 

 

ACCELERATING NATURALIZATION

The proposed changes go beyond allowing dual citizenship but also about making the journey smoother and faster. Germany makes the process easier by reducing the residency requirement to five years and even three for those exceptionally well-integrated. 

 

RECOGNIZING MULTICULTURAL CONTRIBUTIONS

Through this reform, Germany rewards the contributions of the “guest worker” generation and their descendants. Proof of spoken German language skills and not depending on social assistance could be the golden ticket to citizenship. 

 

CHANGES AFFECTING CHILDREN BORN TO FOREIGN PARENTS

One common concern of expats is how the future generations will navigate their identities. This reform is about securing a smooth path for the children born in Germany to foreign parents. Most importantly, this will help them avoid the complexities that their parents might have encountered. 

 

Rostock, Germany

Rostock, Germany

EXPECTED ADOPTION AND APPLICATION

 

ANTICIPATED ADOPTION IN 2024

This new piece of legislation could come into effect in the first half of 2024, opening a new chapter in the German immigration story. The anticipated adoption of this reform would prove Germany's readiness to evolve and embrace changing world dynamics.

 

PREPARATION FOR THE CHANGES

Note that the bill hasn’t been passed yet, but rest assured that we’ll inform you about any changes that might unfold in 2024. If you have a profile that could benefit from this reform, make sure to gather all necessary documentation and get ready to expand your passport portfolio. 

 

Ulm, Germany

Ulm, Germany

THE NEW REFORM: MAIN TAKEAWAYS

  • Embracing Dual Citizenship: In the future, naturalization in Germany may no longer necessitate renouncing previous citizenship(s);

  • Shortened Duration and Accelerated Naturalization: The duration of lawful residence required for naturalization is being significantly reduced, making the journey to citizenship more efficient. Residency requirements could be reduced to as little as three years, especially when demonstrating exceptional integration;

  • Birthright citizenship (jus soli): Children born in Germany will no longer face hurdles in acquiring and retaining German citizenship. This could mean children with German citizenship by birth and additional citizenship by descent. Note that each country’s dual citizenship policies vary;

  • Acknowledgment of Contributions from the "Guest Worker" Generation: By recognizing their lifetime achievements and simplifying language requirements, the reform aims to make the process more accessible to this group;

  • Strict Stance Against Discrimination: The reform emphasizes a strict stance against discrimination, specifying that anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic, or inhumanely motivated actions contradict the principles of the free democratic basic order;

  • Flexibility in Language Requirements and Integration: Only oral knowledge (communication in German in everyday life without significant problems) must be proven. In addition, there is no obligation to take a naturalization test.

 

Dresden panorama at sunset, Germany

Dresden panorama at sunset, Germany

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the potential changes in Germany's dual citizenship laws signify a pivotal moment. The reduction in residency requirements, accelerated naturalization, and the acknowledgment of multicultural contributions mark a major step forward. 

Starting in 2024, thousands of foreigners could access one of the world's best passports. Also, Germans will be allowed to get other citizenships and expand their passport portfolio. These days, having options is more important than ever, and opportunities like these are scarce. 

Remember that at Expat Money, we help expats like you have more options. If you want to secure your new life abroad and expand your horizons, check our Second Citizenship and Residency services, and you’ll discover how to secure your new life abroad.

 

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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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