Naturalization; Granting of German nationality to foreign nationals with an entitlement to naturalization
Foreign nationals living in Germany may under certain conditions be entitled to naturalization.
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 has been legitimately and habitually residing in Germany for the past eight (8) years is generally entitled to naturalization upon his or her application. A foreign national's residence in Germany will be considered legitimate in cases where the foreign national is staying in Germany either as an EU citizen entitled to freedom of movement or as a foreign national with a permit issued by the Aliens Department (e. g. with a permanent settlement permit). A foreign national's stay will be considered habitual or permanent in cases of both the foreign national's willingness to live in Germany permanently and the existence of a legal possibility for staying in Germany indefinitely (e. g. possession of a permanent settlement permit).
The foreign national will not be entitled to naturalization if
- he or she does not commit to the free and democratic order of the Federal Republic of Germany;
- he or she does not have adequate proficiency in the German language;
- he or she does not have knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany;
- he or she is receiving benefits in accordance with Book II or Book XII of the German Social Code and is personally responsible for having to draw public assistance;
- refuses to renounce his or her previous citizenship without justified reasons; exempted from this provision are nationals of the EU Member States and Switzerland;
- he or she has been convicted for a criminal offense;
- he or she pursues anti-constitutional activities.
The decisions on naturalization based on a legal entitlement are made by the district administrator's offices and the municipal administrations of towns independent from county administrations.
You are entitled to naturalization if all of the following prerequisites are met:
- Unlimited right of residence at the time of naturalization
- Demonstration of knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany
- Legitimate and habitual residence in Germany for the past eight (8) years (this mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany will be reduced to seven (7) years following the successful attendance of an integration course; in case of special integration efforts, this mandatory period of prior lawful residence in Germany may even be reduced to six (6) years)
- Independent coverage of the cost of living (subsistence) (also for dependent family members) without social welfare benefits and long-term unemployment benefits (aka. Arbeitslosengeld II)
- 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
Foreign nationals who fail to meet even one of these prerequisites are not entitled to naturalization. In certain case constellations, naturalization by approval of the authorities (discretionary naturalization) may be granted (see "Related Issues").
Pre-printed forms are available from the district administration authority.
- Valid passport
- Current photo
- 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
- If necessary, you may be required to present the following. 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: § 10 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.
- Naturalization; Granting of German nationality to foreign nationals without entitlement to naturalization (i.e. naturalization by approval of the authorities or “discretionary naturalization”)
- Integration von Ausländern; Informationen
- Staatsangehörigkeit; Prüfung des Erwerbs der deutschen Staatsangehörigkeit mit Geburt in Deutschland
- Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis; Beantragung der Ausstellung
Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Sport und Integration