Foreigners who wish to become German citizens after meeting the criteria will not have to give up their previous citizenship after the new German government announced its plans to allow dual citizenship.
While presenting its plans for governing Germany, the coalition of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, the Green Environment Party and the pro-business FDP announced that they plan to drop the requirement to renounce previous citizenship in order to obtain one. to become a German citizen.
“We want a fresh start in immigration and integration policy as is appropriate for a modern immigration country,” said the 177-page coalition agreement between the three parties.
According to the current German citizenship law, those who meet the criteria for obtaining German citizenship must renounce their previous citizenship. Only candidates for German citizenship who:
They are born with dual citizenship, i.e. to a German father and a non-German father who are EU citizens or are Swiss nationals who are citizens of a country that does not allow its citizens to renounce citizenship.
At the same time, those who are allowed to keep their previous citizenship are also those who will face hardship if they relinquish it, that is, by losing assets, paying heavy fines or losing an annual income of at least 10,225 euros, TheSchengen.com reports.
Migrants into the country may also have to wait for a shorter period of time before applying for German citizenship, as the new government is also looking into the possibility of enabling them to apply for citizenship after just five years in the country.
Until now, in order for a foreigner to apply for German citizenship, the same person must have lived in the country for at least eight years with a permanent residence permit. This period can be shortened to seven years only if the foreigner completes a German language integration course at a community college, which in German is called Volkshochsschule.
>> How do you obtain German citizenship?
The agreement between the three coalition parties also stipulated the acceleration and simplification of asylum and residency applications.
Commenting on the plan, Green Party parliamentarian Louise Amtsberg told DW that the new government is about to draw a line within the restrictive asylum policy of past years by allowing people already in Germany to “establish their place of residence, start working, and gain access to language, and to do so without discrimination.”
“These are all major intersections that are relevant to the migration of a modern country and present a paradigm shift,” she said.
Still skeptics of the plan are the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), who have been in power for 16 years now, and have supported stricter immigration laws.
If the new government’s plan becomes a reality, the number of foreigners acquiring German citizenship will increase. Based on data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office Destatis, 109,880 foreigners acquired German citizenship in 2020, despite all the challenges emerging amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While 28,305 citizens of other EU countries acquired German citizenship in 2020, the largest EU countries, whose citizens became German citizens in the same year, are Romania – 5930, Poland – 5000, Italy – 4075, Greece – 2650, and Bulgaria – 2,040.