Naturalization; Granting of German nationality to foreign nationals without entitlement to naturalization (i.e. naturalization by approval of the authorities or “discretionary naturalization”)
A foreign national who fails to meet all eligibility criteria required for naturalization may be naturalized upon application if he or she has been living in Germany for more than eight (8) years.
Naturalization is the granting of German nationality to a foreign national. It requires a prior application and is executed through bestowal of a special certificate of naturalization.
A foreign national who was been lawfully residing in Germany for at least eight (8) years and who meets the prerequisites listed hereinafter may, upon his or her application, be naturalized on the basis of the responsible authorities’ discretion. For persons qualifying for political asylum, other refugees, and stateless persons the mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany has been reduced to six (6) years, whereas for foreign nationals married to Germans the mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany has been reduced to three (3) years. Additionally, the mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany will be reduced to seven (7) years in cases where the integration course has been successfully completed. An additional reduction of the mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany to six (6) years may be granted upon proof of extraordinary integration efforts (German language proficiency considerably above the "German Certificate" level or outstandingly active civic involvement such as e. g. by joining a volunteer fire brigade or sports club).
As a general rule, the foreign national must be capable of assuring his dependent family members' subsistence out of his or her own resources. The foreign national must not have a criminal record and needs to establish proof of adequate proficiency in the German language.
Once the foreign national has been found to meet these prerequisites, the citizenship office will check whether or not the applicant's naturalization is in the public interest. The Federal Government's General Administrative Regulations on the Citizenship Law details the cases in which a public interest in a foreign national's naturalization is to be presumed.
To apply for German citizenship, please consult either your district administrator's office or, if you live in an autonomous town, your municipal administration. Your application will be decided by the co respective government of your administrative district.
Naturalization by approval of the authorities (discretionary naturalization) will apply in cases where the following prerequisites are met:
- Permanent right of residence at the time of naturalization
- Demonstration of knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany
- Legitimate residence in Germany for the past eight (8) years (this mandatory period of prior residence will be reduced to seven (7) years following the successful attendance of a integration course, and it may even be reduced to six (6) years in cases where proof of special integration efforts can be presented). For foreign-national spouses of Germans, this mandatory period of prior residence has been reduced to three (3) years.
- Independent coverage of the cost of living (subsistence) (also for dependent family members) without recourse to public benefits (as a general rule, any receipt of public benefits will regardless of culpability be considered a detriment to naturalization by approval of the authorities (discretionary naturalization).)
- Evidence of adequate oral and written proficiency in the German language
- No prior convictions for criminal offenses
- Commitment to the free democratic basic order laid down in the Basic Constitutional Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
- The general loss or renunciation of the foreign national's previous citizenship, insofar as possible and reasonable
Pre-printed forms are available from the district administration authority.
- Valid passport
- Current photo
- A handwritten curriculum vitae to be written as a general rule on the premises of the citizenship office
- Supporting documents proving the foreign national's civil and marital status (e. g. birth certificate, or marriage certificate, or divorce decree)
- Demonstration of knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany through presentation of a certificate of successful citizenship test completion or a certificate of graduation from a German academic secondary school
- Supporting documents proving adequate oral and written proficiency in the German language (school graduation diplomas, certificates, etc.)
- Supporting documents proving the foreign national's income, retirement provisions, medical insurance and long-term care insurance, also for his or her dependents, where applicable
- In particular cases, the presentation of additional documents may be necessary Foreign official deeds and documents need to be translated.
General: 255.00 Euros
For minor children without an income of their own who are naturalized together with their parents: 51.00 Euros
Additional costs may be charged
- for the presentation of civil-status documents
- for supporting documents proving social and civic knowledge and/or language proficiency
- for the renunciation of previous citizenship
- for the translation of foreign official documents by certified translators, including the certification fees
- Legal bases, Bavaria-wide: § 8 Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (StAG)
- Legal bases, Bavaria-wide: Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift zum Staatsangehörigkeitsrecht (StAR-VwV)
- Legal bases, Bavaria-wide: Verordnung über die Zuständigkeit der Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörden
It is possible to file an appeal against a negative decision with the competent administrative court.
Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Bau und Verkehr
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Regierung von Schwaben
Alphabetical and hierarchical overview of all procedures.