Foreigners should be able to obtain German citizenship faster, but under certain conditions. The Bundestag accepted the corresponding bill two days ago. What does it contain? Details are provided by Deutsche Welle (DW).
Deadline for obtaining citizenship
Foreigners who want German citizenship can currently obtain it at the earliest after eight years of legal residence in the country. That deadline should be shortened to five years, and in the case of “special achievements in integration” to three years. “Achievements” mean, for example, good knowledge of the German language, voluntary social engagement or very good results in school or at the workplace, reports DW.
Migrants should in principle be able to hold dual citizenship in the future. Until now, applicants for a German passport first had to renounce their previous citizenship. This does not apply to citizens of other European Union (EU) members and Switzerland, who can already have two citizenships.
German citizenship for children
Children of foreign parents, born in Germany, should in the future receive German citizenship unconditionally if at least one parent has lived legally in Germany for more than five years. Currently, that term is eight years. In principle, children born in Germany should receive both the German and the citizenship of their parents and could permanently retain both.
Knowledge of the German language
Faster acquisition of citizenship in the future should also be linked to the fulfillment of several conditions. Foreigners wishing to obtain a German passport must submit evidence of good integration and good language skills. Exceptions apply only to family members, so-called generation of ”gastarbeiters” (foreign workers) who have been living in Germany for decades. They do not have to take the citizenship test and the German language test.
Cost of living
A condition for obtaining citizenship is the ability of migrants to bear the costs of their life in Germany, as well as the costs of supporting family members. Exempt from this rule would be ”gastarbeiters” who came to Germany after 1947, as well as former so-called “contract workers” from the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Declaration for the Basic Law (Constitution)
In order to obtain a German passport, foreigners, as before, must explicitly declare that they respect the libertarian-democratic basic order contained in the Constitution. The Draft Law states that “anti-Semitic and racist actions, as well as those directed against gender or sexual orientation or other actions motivated by contempt for people” are not in line with the Constitution’s guaranteed protection of human dignity.
Revocation of German citizenship
Persons originating from abroad may have their German passport revoked within 10 years, for example due to gross fraud or providing false information. The reform also foresees the revocation of citizenship in case of a false declaration of support for the libertarian-democratic constitutional order.