responsibility finder
Schleswig-Holstein

Apply for German citizenship (for foreigners eligible for naturalization)

Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Schleswig-Holstein (Linie6PLus)

Service Description

If you are a foreigner and wish to become a German citizen with all rights and obligations, you are entitled to naturalization under certain conditions.

With naturalization, you receive German citizenship and become an equal citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany with all rights and obligations.

With German citizenship you can, among other things

  • exercise your right to vote in the federal states and for the German Bundestag,
  • enjoy freedom of movement within the European Union as a citizen of the Union,
  • travel outside Europe to many countries without a visa.

If you meet the requirements, you are entitled to acquire German citizenship:

  • You must have been lawfully ordinarily resident in Germany for 8 years.
  • Your identity and citizenship have been clarified.
  • You are capable of acting or legally represented.
  • You are in possession of a residence title that is basically based on permanent residence or an unlimited right of residence.
  • You are able to support yourself and your dependent family members without receiving certain public benefits.
  • You have not been convicted of a criminal offense.
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the German language (level B1).
  • You have civic knowledge, in principle to be proven by a naturalization test.
  • You give up or lose your foreign citizenship.
  • Your integration into German living conditions is guaranteed, i.e. in particular you are not married to several spouses at the same time.
  • You are committed to the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law, i.e. you do not support or have not supported any anti-constitutional or extremist activities, unless you have credibly turned away from previous persecution or support.

The naturalization becomes effective by handing over the naturalization certificate.

The competent authority is the citizenship authority of your place of residence.


Process flow

An application is possible online or by written application:

  • First of all, an initial interview is required, among other things to make a declaration of belief in the free democratic basic order, identity verification and clarification, verification of the authenticity of foreign documents.
  • The naturalization authority checks the requirements and decides on your application.

The rest of the procedure now depends on whether you are allowed to keep your previous citizenship or whether you have to give it up:

  • If you cannot give up your previous nationality or can do so only under particularly difficult conditions, you will be naturalized while accepting multiple nationality.
  • In all other cases, renunciation of the previous nationality is required for naturalization.
  • If the previous citizenship can be renounced before naturalization, you will receive a so-called naturalization assurance from the naturalization authority. This assures naturalization in the event that you can prove that you have renounced your previous citizenship. You must then apply for release from your previous nationality.
  • If, according to the law of the foreign state, the previous citizenship can only be renounced after naturalization, or if this is only possible when you reach a certain age, you will be naturalized on condition. You are required to renounce your foreign citizenship as soon as this is possible.
  • To apply for renunciation, contact the appropriate foreign mission in your country of origin.
  • Please provide proof of loss of foreign citizenship to your naturalization authority.
  • If the requirements are still met, you will be issued a naturalization certificate. You are then a German citizen or German national.
  • Before being handed over, you must make the following solemn declaration: "I solemnly declare that I will respect the Basic Law and the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and refrain from doing anything that could harm it."
Who should I contact?

You can find out which authority is responsible for your naturalization at the city or district administration of your place of residence, at the Foreigners' Registration Office or the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants or the Youth Migration Services.

Persons living permanently abroad can only be naturalized as an exception and under different conditions than for naturalization in Germany. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne is responsible for them. The first point of contact here can be the locally responsible German mission abroad (embassy, consulate general or other consular office).

Competent authority

You can find out which authority is responsible for your naturalization at the city or district administration of your place of residence, at the Foreigners' Registration Office or the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants or the Youth Migration Services.

Persons living permanently abroad can only be naturalized as an exception and under different conditions than for naturalization in Germany. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne is responsible for them. The first point of contact here can be the locally responsible German mission abroad (embassy, consulate general or other consular office).

Requirements

Entitlement to naturalization pursuant to § 10 of the Nationality Act (StAG) requires an application.

  • You must have been lawfully ordinarily resident in Germany for 8 years.
    • Shortening to 7 years: in case of successful attendance of an integration course with written proof.
    • Possibility of shortening to 6 years: in the case of special integration achievements.
  • Your identity and nationality have been clarified.
  • You are capable of acting or legally represented.
    • You are eligible to act if you have reached the age of 16.
  • At the time of naturalization you possess
    • a permanent right of residence
      • for example, settlement permit; citizens of the Union entitled to freedom of movement and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and their family members; Turkish workers or their family members who have a right of residence on the basis of the EU's right of association with Turkey
    • or a residence title that is based on the principle of permanent residence
      • are not eligible for naturalization, for example, a residence permit for the purpose of studying.
  • You are able to support yourself and your dependent family members without receiving certain public benefits,
    • i.e. without benefits from the basic security for job seekers or social welfare, unless you are not responsible for claiming the social benefits.
  • You have not been convicted of a criminal offense.
    • This means that you have neither been sentenced to a punishment nor has a measure of correction been ordered against you due to your inability to pay.
    • Not taken into account:
      • Educational measures or disciplinary measures according to the Juvenile Court Act,
      • sentences to fines of up to 90 daily rates,
      • sentences to imprisonment of up to 3 months, which has been suspended and remitted after the expiry of the probationary period.
    • These exceptions do not apply if you have been sentenced to imprisonment, a fine or a juvenile sentence for an unlawful anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhumane act and such motivation has been established as part of the sentence.
    • If an investigation is currently being conducted on suspicion of a criminal act, the naturalization procedure must be suspended until the conclusion of the proceedings.
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the German language (level B1).
    • Exception: This is waived if you cannot fulfill this requirement due to a physical, mental or psychological illness or disability or due to age.
  • You have civic knowledge, in principle to be proven by a naturalization test.
    • Exception: This is waived if you cannot fulfill this requirement due to a physical, mental or psychological illness or disability or due to age.
  • You renounce or lose your foreign citizenship.
    • Exception: Citizens of member states of the European Union and Switzerland, refugees and persons from states in which a renunciation of the foreign citizenship is not possible or only possible under particularly difficult conditions.
  • Your integration into German living conditions is guaranteed, which means in particular that you are not married to several spouses at the same time.
  • You commit yourself to the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law and make a declaration of loyalty (from the age of 16).
    • This means that you do not support or have not supported any anti-constitutional or extremist activities, unless you have credibly turned away from previous persecution or support.
Which documents are required?
  • Valid national passport or official identity document with photograph
  • Valid residence permit
  • Civil status documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree or death certificate of spouse, if applicable), with translation, legalization or apostille, if applicable
  • School, vocational, training and/or study qualifications obtained in Germany
  • if you are a pupil: current school certificate
  • if you are a student: current certificate of study
  • if you are employed: employment contract and proof of income
  • if you receive a pension: pension certificate / pension insurance history (issued by the German Pension Insurance)
  • if you are self-employed: Business registration, current income tax assessment and proof of profit earned (for example, by means of an informal certificate from the tax advisor or tax consultant regarding net income or business evaluation)
  • Rental agreement
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Proof of old-age provision (for example, real estate ownership, private life insurance / pension insurance)
  • Proof of renunciation or loss of previous citizenship
  • Proof of sufficient German language skills (for example, certificate B1); for children under 16 years of age, age-appropriate language development is sufficient
  • Proof of civic knowledge (e.g. by certificate "Living in Germany/Naturalization Test") from the age of 16 onwards
  • for minors: Proof of custody (for example, in the case of divorced or unmarried parents by custody decree)
  • in the case of joint parental custody: declaration of consent from the other parent with custody rights
  • The declaration of belief in the free democratic basic order and the declaration of loyalty must be submitted at the personal interview from the age of 16.

Further documents may be added depending on the individual case. Please note the following information:

  • When presenting foreign documents, please refer to the information on the homepage of the German Foreign Office (www.auswaertiges-amt.de) under the term "Internationaler Urkundenverkehr".
  • You must present foreign certificates or documents with a translation by an approved translator. You can find out which translator or translator is approved at the following website: www.justiz-dolmetscher.de/suche.jsp.
  • The translation must be firmly attached and sealed to a copy of the document.
What are the fees?
  • The regular fee is EUR 255.00.
  • Bei naturalized minor children who do not have their own income as defined by the Income Tax Act, the fee is EUR 51.00.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

If an assurance of naturalization is given, it is usually limited to 2 years; it can be extended. During this time, the release from the previous citizenship is to be brought about.

Legal basis
Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI)

Professionally released on

30.03.2022

Teaser

If you are a foreigner and wish to become a German citizen with all rights and obligations, you are entitled to naturalization under certain conditions.

Process flow

An application is possible online or by written application:

  • First of all, an initial interview is required, among other things to make a declaration of belief in the free democratic basic order, identity verification and clarification, verification of the authenticity of foreign documents.
  • The naturalization authority checks the requirements and decides on your application.

The rest of the procedure now depends on whether you are allowed to keep your previous citizenship or whether you have to give it up:

  • If you cannot give up your previous nationality or can do so only under particularly difficult conditions, you will be naturalized while accepting multiple nationality.
  • In all other cases, renunciation of the previous nationality is required for naturalization.
  • If the previous citizenship can be renounced before naturalization, you will receive a so-called naturalization assurance from the naturalization authority. This assures naturalization in the event that you can prove that you have renounced your previous citizenship. You must then apply for release from your previous nationality.
  • If, according to the law of the foreign state, the previous citizenship can only be renounced after naturalization, or if this is only possible when you reach a certain age, you will be naturalized on condition. You are required to renounce your foreign citizenship as soon as this is possible.
  • To apply for renunciation, contact the appropriate foreign mission in your country of origin.
  • Please provide proof of loss of foreign citizenship to your naturalization authority.
  • If the requirements are still met, you will be issued a naturalization certificate. You are then a German citizen or German national.
  • Before being handed over, you must make the following solemn declaration: "I solemnly declare that I will respect the Basic Law and the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and refrain from doing anything that could harm it."

Who should I contact?

You can find out which authority is responsible for your naturalization at the city or district administration of your place of residence, at the Foreigners' Registration Office or the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants or the Youth Migration Services.

Persons living permanently abroad can only be naturalized as an exception and under different conditions than for naturalization in Germany. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne is responsible for them. The first point of contact here can be the locally responsible German mission abroad (embassy, consulate general or other consular office).

Competent authority

You can find out which authority is responsible for your naturalization at the city or district administration of your place of residence, at the Foreigners' Registration Office or the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants or the Youth Migration Services.

Persons living permanently abroad can only be naturalized as an exception and under different conditions than for naturalization in Germany. The Federal Office of Administration in Cologne is responsible for them. The first point of contact here can be the locally responsible German mission abroad (embassy, consulate general or other consular office).

Requirements

Entitlement to naturalization pursuant to § 10 of the Nationality Act (StAG) requires an application.

  • You must have been lawfully ordinarily resident in Germany for 8 years.
    • Shortening to 7 years: in case of successful attendance of an integration course with written proof.
    • Possibility of shortening to 6 years: in the case of special integration achievements.
  • Your identity and nationality have been clarified.
  • You are capable of acting or legally represented.
    • You are eligible to act if you have reached the age of 16.
  • At the time of naturalization you possess
    • a permanent right of residence
      • for example, settlement permit; citizens of the Union entitled to freedom of movement and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and their family members; Turkish workers or their family members who have a right of residence on the basis of the EU's right of association with Turkey
    • or a residence title that is based on the principle of permanent residence
      • are not eligible for naturalization, for example, a residence permit for the purpose of studying.
  • You are able to support yourself and your dependent family members without receiving certain public benefits,
    • i.e. without benefits from the basic security for job seekers or social welfare, unless you are not responsible for claiming the social benefits.
  • You have not been convicted of a criminal offense.
    • This means that you have neither been sentenced to a punishment nor has a measure of correction been ordered against you due to your inability to pay.
    • Not taken into account:
      • Educational measures or disciplinary measures according to the Juvenile Court Act,
      • sentences to fines of up to 90 daily rates,
      • sentences to imprisonment of up to 3 months, which has been suspended and remitted after the expiry of the probationary period.
    • These exceptions do not apply if you have been sentenced to imprisonment, a fine or a juvenile sentence for an unlawful anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhumane act and such motivation has been established as part of the sentence.
    • If an investigation is currently being conducted on suspicion of a criminal act, the naturalization procedure must be suspended until the conclusion of the proceedings.
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the German language (level B1).
    • Exception: This is waived if you cannot fulfill this requirement due to a physical, mental or psychological illness or disability or due to age.
  • You have civic knowledge, in principle to be proven by a naturalization test.
    • Exception: This is waived if you cannot fulfill this requirement due to a physical, mental or psychological illness or disability or due to age.
  • You renounce or lose your foreign citizenship.
    • Exception: Citizens of member states of the European Union and Switzerland, refugees and persons from states in which a renunciation of the foreign citizenship is not possible or only possible under particularly difficult conditions.
  • Your integration into German living conditions is guaranteed, which means in particular that you are not married to several spouses at the same time.
  • You commit yourself to the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law and make a declaration of loyalty (from the age of 16).
    • This means that you do not support or have not supported any anti-constitutional or extremist activities, unless you have credibly turned away from previous persecution or support.

Which documents are required?

  • Valid national passport or official identity document with photograph
  • Valid residence permit
  • Civil status documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree or death certificate of spouse, if applicable), with translation, legalization or apostille, if applicable
  • School, vocational, training and/or study qualifications obtained in Germany
  • if you are a pupil: current school certificate
  • if you are a student: current certificate of study
  • if you are employed: employment contract and proof of income
  • if you receive a pension: pension certificate / pension insurance history (issued by the German Pension Insurance)
  • if you are self-employed: Business registration, current income tax assessment and proof of profit earned (for example, by means of an informal certificate from the tax advisor or tax consultant regarding net income or business evaluation)
  • Rental agreement
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Proof of old-age provision (for example, real estate ownership, private life insurance / pension insurance)
  • Proof of renunciation or loss of previous citizenship
  • Proof of sufficient German language skills (for example, certificate B1); for children under 16 years of age, age-appropriate language development is sufficient
  • Proof of civic knowledge (e.g. by certificate "Living in Germany/Naturalization Test") from the age of 16 onwards
  • for minors: Proof of custody (for example, in the case of divorced or unmarried parents by custody decree)
  • in the case of joint parental custody: declaration of consent from the other parent with custody rights
  • The declaration of belief in the free democratic basic order and the declaration of loyalty must be submitted at the personal interview from the age of 16.

Further documents may be added depending on the individual case. Please note the following information:

  • When presenting foreign documents, please refer to the information on the homepage of the German Foreign Office (www.auswaertiges-amt.de) under the term "Internationaler Urkundenverkehr".
  • You must present foreign certificates or documents with a translation by an approved translator. You can find out which translator or translator is approved at the following website: www.justiz-dolmetscher.de/suche.jsp.
  • The translation must be firmly attached and sealed to a copy of the document.

What are the fees?

  • The regular fee is EUR 255.00.
  • Bei naturalized minor children who do not have their own income as defined by the Income Tax Act, the fee is EUR 51.00.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

If an assurance of naturalization is given, it is usually limited to 2 years; it can be extended. During this time, the release from the previous citizenship is to be brought about.

Legal basis

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI)

Professionally released on

30.03.2022

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