German citizenship

New rules on citizenship

In future, children of non-German parents who are born and brought up in Germany will no longer have to choose between two passports. Until now they have been required to decide on one citizenship by their 23rd birthday. The new bill will make it possible to hold more than one citizenship under certain conditions.

A group of primary school children

Growing up in Germany

Photo: Integrationsbeauftragte / Jochen Eckel

The Cabinet has adopted the bill to change the Law on Citizenship.

No need to choose

In future, children of non-German parents, who are born and brought up in Germany will no longer have to choose one citizenship. That was agreed in the Coalition Agreement. Until now children born in Germany, and thus entitled to German citizenship, whose parents are non-German citizens, have been forced to choose between the two citizenships.

Under the provisions of the new bill, children who have grown up in Germany, i.e. who have lived for at least eight years in Germany by their 21st birthday, will no longer have to choose. The same is to apply to children who have attended school in Germany for six years, and to those who have obtained a school leaving certificate in Germany or completed their occupational training here.

A good, practicable solution

The German government has thus found a way of regulating the citizenship issue appropriate to this day and age. The bill takes into account the various situations of young people who have hitherto been forced to choose one passport. If they have been born and brought up in Germany they will no longer have to choose between German citizenship and the citizenship of their parents. The bill also stresses, however, the special value of German citizenship for coexistence.

Checking the formalities

The citizenship authorities can check the formalities and thus ensure that individuals can keep their German citizenship before they reach the age of 21. Individuals can apply for this. When an individual reaches the age of 21 the authority must act, however, and check the formalities. Where relevant information is available from the central residence register, nothing else need be checked. Otherwise, individuals will have to provide evidence that they have grown up in Germany on the basis of the above criteria. This could involve submitting a school report, for instance.

The draft will now start its way through parliament and should be on the statute books before the end of this year.

Share the article