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Naturalisation is

the conferring of German nationality on a foreigner. It shall be effected upon application and be completed by the issuing of a certificate of naturalisation. With effect from 1st January 2005, naturalisation into the German national state has been regulated in the German Nationality Law (StAG).

It is a critical step on the path to a successful integration, as it provides the immigrant with numerous possibilities of participation in society – ranging from political participation through to equal status in law.

With naturalisation, you become a fellow citizen of our country with all the rights and obligations as a German national. You are then eligible to vote in elections at the municipal, state and national level. You are also eligible to stand as a candidate for a parliament yourself and thereby actively represent your interests. You are free to choose your occupation in Germany.  In addition, you are also a citizen of the European Union, thereby enjoying freedom of movement in Europe and being able to travel to many countries outside Europe without a visa.

General information

1. Entitlement to naturalisation

To be able to claim naturalisation, the applicant must have been in lawful and ordinary residence for a minimum of 8 years.

He shall

  • provide evidence of the required residence status
  • secure his livelihood by his own efforts (work) and not be in receipt of benefits pursuant to the Second or Twelfth Book of the German Social Code (SGB)
  • give up or relinquish his previous nationality
  • have no criminal record (disregarding petty offences)
  • possess sufficient proficiency in the German language
  • make a declaration that he does not pursue (or has pursued) anticonstitutional         activities
  • submit a commitment to the free and democratic basic rule of law.
2. Discretionary naturalisation

A foreigner, who has been resident in Germany for a minimum of 8 years but does not satisfy the requirements for naturalisation on the basis of entitlement, can obtain naturalisation on a discretionary basis. For applicants married to (or in a life partnership with) German nationals, a residence of three years is sufficient. Nevertheless, the foreigner must generally be able to maintain himself and his family members from his own resources.

Further requirements are:

  • Proof of sufficient proficiency in the German language
  • No criminal record
  • A commitment to the free and democratic basic rule of law
  • No indications of extremist or terrorist activity.
3. Fees
Naturalisation 255 Euros
for children being co-naturalised 51 Euros
Nationality check 25 Euros
Nationality retention authorisation 255 Euros
Negative certificate 10 Euros


4. Naturalisation test

Knowledge on the social and legal order as well as the living conditions in Germany required for naturalisation is generally demonstrated by the naturalisation test. The test consists of 33 questions, of which 3 relate to the federal state the applicant is resident in. For each of the questions, you have to selected the correct answer from four possible answers. If you succeed in answering a minimum of 17 questions correctly, you have passed the test. In recent years, well over 90 % of the participants have passed the test. You do not have to sit the test if you are not yet 16 years of age, or are unable to fulfil the requirements due to illness, disability or for reasons of age. Those applicants, who  possess a German school-leaving qualification or can provide evidence of having successfully graduated at a German university in the subjects of legal, human, social, political or administrative sciences, are also exempt from the naturalisation test.

Online Test Centre

5. Frequently asked questions

If my German husband adopts my child, does the child then receive German nationality?

Yes, a child adopted by a German man, who has not yet reached the age of 18 years at the date of the acceptance agreement, will acquire German nationality.

I have been living in Germany for many years. What are the possibilities open to me to acquire German nationality?

Under certain conditions, you are already entitled to naturalisation after 8 years of lawful residence in Germany. For naturalisation, evidence of sufficient proficiency in the German language is required. Further criteria are no criminal record and allegiance to the constitution. In addition, the applicant must provide for his own upkeep and not receive any state support. Furthermore, the previous nationality must be relinquished.
The principle of avoiding multiple nationality still applies. This means that applicants for naturalisation must therefore generally relinquish their previous nationality.
Exceptions to this principle apply to specific groups of persons, such as politically persecuted persons as well as nationals of EU member states (under the condition of reciprocity) or if release from the previous nationality is either legally impossible or not deemed reasonable.

We have been living as foreigners in Germany for many years.  Can our child acquire German nationality?

Yes, a child born in Germany can acquire German nationality, even if neither parent possesses German nationality. Here the requirement is that one of the parents has been lawfully resident in Germany for a minimum of 8 years, is an EU citizen entitled to freedom of movement or an equivalent national of an EEC member state, or possesses an EU residence permit or a settlement permit. The child of foreign parents, who has acquired German nationality by birth, possesses the nationality of its parents at the same time. On reaching his/her 18th birthday, he/she must then decide on one of the nationalities (option obligation). If German nationality is decided on, then the other nationality must have been relinquished not later than by his/her 23rd birthday. If he/she decides on the other (foreign) nationality, then German nationality will be lost. The latter also applies if the child allows this period of time to expire (on their 23rd birthday) without making a decision in this regard.

Our child has possessed since birth another nationality in addition to German nationality. Does the child have to decide later on one of the two nationalities?

No, if the child has automatically acquired two nationalities at birth, then a later decision between the two nationalities is not required. From a German perspective, the child possesses a permanent dual nationality.

Opening hours

Monday 8 am - 4 pm
Tuesday 8 am - 6 pm
Thursday 8 am - 6 pm


Advice on naturalisation

You have a desire to acquire German nationality. First of all, here is some information on the application process:


necessary residence title

A settlement permit or residence permit for other purposes of residence than those listed in §§ 16, 17, 20, 22, 23 Sections 1, §§ 23a, 24 and 25 Sections 3 to 5 of the German Residence Act, or a residence permit as an EU or Swiss citizen.

Ability to secure your livelihood

You must generally secure your livelihood without receiving benefits pursuant to the Second or Twelfth Book of the German Social Code.

Necessary residence periods

A minimum of eight years of lawful residence in Germany (six years in the case of special integration services), shorter periods apply to the co-naturalisation of spouses and children, as well as to the naturalisation of foreign spouses of German nationals. Times derived from the status of a Duldung (temporary refuge) or Aufenthaltsgestattung (temporary permission to remain) as part of an asylum procedure require a precise consideration on an individual basis.

Language skills

Sufficient proficiency in the German language, corresponding – as a minimum – to the B1 language level set forth in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Basic civic knowledge

In the event that that the applicant does not possess a school-leaving certificate or a diploma showing successful completion at a vocational training school or a university degree in legal, human, social, political or administrative sciences, then a naturalisation test is required

in principle, relinquishment of the previous nationality

Exceptions are possible, say, for EU or Swiss citizens or recognised refugees


No criminal record

A commitment to the free and democratic basic rule of law under the Basic Law (Constitution)

No indications of extremist or terrorist activity

Required documents

Valid passport
What specific documents are required depends on the individual case.
For this reason, a simple list is not possible here.
A personal advisory discussion is essential.

  • Forms

You will receive the appropriate application forms following a detailed personal consultation.

  • Fees

Naturalisation: 255 Euros per person, for children being co-naturalised 51 Euros,
Nationality check: 25 Euros
Nationality retention authorisation: 255 Euros
Negative certificate: 10 Euros
For release from the previous nationality, additional costs are applicable for the release and/or certificates and authentications. In this regard, please check with the embassy of your country of origin.

  • Legal bases

Nationality Law

  • Average processing time

The processing time required for a decision on the application for naturalisation is a minimum of 3 months. Following this, a release procedure from the previous nationality may take place – depending on the country of origin.


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State Capital Schwerin -
Ausländerbehörde Specialist Department

Ms Andrea Eichstädt
Head of Specialist

Am Packhof 2-6
19053 Schwerin

State Capital Schwerin -
Ausländerbehörde Specialist Department

Ms Anett Apel
Administrative Assistant

Am Packhof 2-6
19053 Schwerin