Germany: dual nationality law to be adopted in January 2024


The planned adoption in January 2024 of Germany's dual nationality lawwith implementation expected in April of the same year, represents a major shift in the country's immigration policy. The result of agreements within the government coalition and various legislative stages, this law will enable foreign residents to maintain their original nationality while acquiring German citizenship. Despite the debates it raises, notably on questions of integration and national identity, this reform is part of a socially open approach. It promises improved integration of immigrants and poses challenges in terms of managing naturalization applications, while seeking to balance integration and cultural diversity.

Background and history of the law on dual nationality

Originally, German legislation on citizenship was rather strict, favoring the principle of a single nationality. This approach was rooted in a traditional vision of national identity, but over time it came up against the reality of an increasingly diverse population. Over the years, pressure for reform of nationality law has grown, reflecting a worldwide trend towards greater acceptance of dual nationality.

Discussions surrounding the reform have often been heated, revealing divergent opinions within the German political landscape. Concerns were raised about the integration of immigrants and the potential impact on social cohesion. Despite this, demographic change and Germany's economic needs have led to a gradual relaxation of citizenship rules.

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The change of direction came with the recent agreement within the government coalition, which paved the way for the adoption of the dual nationality law. This agreement represents a recognition of Germany's multicultural reality and a commitment to a more flexible and open immigration policy.

Legislative adoption process and implementation schedule

The adoption of the dual nationality law in Germany is part of a precise legislative framework and follows a set timetable, mirroring the stages of German legislative life.

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The bill's progress is the subject of several readings and deliberations in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament. After the initial proposal, the bill undergoes a first reading, followed by an in-depth discussion in committee. The second reading allows for a more detailed examination and possible amendments. Finally, a third reading precedes the final vote, which determines the adoption of the law.

According to current information, the decisive vote on the dual nationality law in Germany could take place in January 2024. This step would be the result of negotiations and agreements within the coalition government, after resolving previous disagreements. If the law is passed as planned, it will come into force in April 2024, marking an important moment in the history of legislation on immigration in Germany.

Implications of the law for foreign residents

Once the law comes into force, foreign residents will be able to retain their original nationality while acquiring German citizenship. This change offers several advantages:

  • It opens up new avenues for integration and participation in German society.
  • This allows foreign residents to hold dual nationality while retaining their original identity.
  • The new law also facilitates access to employment and education for foreign nationals.
  • Foreign residents can now play a greater role in Germany's political and social life.
  • Freedom of movement and residence within the EU.
  • Access to the European work.
  • The right to vote in local and European elections.
  • Eligibility for civil service posts in Germany.

This law facilitates the integration of immigrants in Germany, enabling them to participate fully in social and economic life while preserving their cultural and family ties. It contributes to a sense of belonging and recognition within the community.

Comparison with current naturalization rules

Visit dual nationality law in Germany introduces significant changes to current naturalization rules. This comparison highlights the evolution of German immigration policy.

Current naturalization rules

Under current legislation, obtaining German citizenship generally involves :

  • Legal residence in Germany for at least eight years.
  • Sufficient command of the German language.
  • Proof of a stable income without welfare dependency.
  • Abandonment of original nationality, with certain exceptions.

Changes brought about by the new law

The law on dual nationality relaxes several of these conditions:

  • Allows retention of original nationality in addition to acquisition of German nationality.
  • Potentially modifies criteria relating to length of residence and dependence on social assistance.
  • Encourages smoother integration into German society while preserving cultural ties.

How to obtain German citizenship: Summary of current law

There are two main routes to German citizenship: naturalization and citizenship by descent. People without German family ties must go through a naturalization process, accessible after at least eight years of legal residence in Germany, often based on employment or marriage. Those with German ancestors can apply for citizenship by descent. The benefits of becoming a German citizen include greater freedom of movement within the EU, access to the European labor market, the right to vote, and eligibility for public office in Germany.

Requirements for naturalization include prolonged legal residence, no criminal record, stable employment, proficiency in German to level B1, and passing a citizenship test. It is also necessary to renounce one's original nationality, except in certain cases such as being a citizen of the EU or Switzerland, or if the country of origin does not allow renunciation of citizenship.

The application process involves several steps: obtaining a visa and a temporary residence permit, apply for permanent residence after around four years, and then apply for German citizenship. It is possible to accelerate this process in certain cases, such as taking a German language integration course or being married to a German citizen. Visas that count towards citizenship include visas for workers skilled workers, researchers, the self-employed, EU Blue Card holders, marriages and families, as well as asylum seekers and refugees.

Applying for citizenship is done at the local Naturalization Authority and involves collecting various documents, paying a fee, and taking part in a naturalization test. After passing the process, applicants receive a certificate of naturalization at a ceremony, after which they can apply for a German passport and identity card. Derivative naturalization allows spouses and children of applicants to apply together, even if they do not all meet the residency requirements.

For more details and the complete guide, visit our article on the subject.

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