The path to becoming a German citizen may soon become easier, as the new German government has promised that within its mandate, it will make changes to the immigration and citizenship law in order to make it possible for immigrants to obtain citizenship within a shorter period of time, and through easier application procedures.

Most importantly, the new German government, which consists of the Greens, Social Democrat Party, and the Free Democrat party, plans to make it possible for foreigners to obtain German citizenship without having to renounce their previous citizenship, thus allowing dual citizenship.

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, currently, German law permits dual nationality only in some very specific cases.

As a rule, children born to a German and a non-German parent, or to parents with dual nationality, acquire the nationalities of both parents at birth, according to the principle of descent,” the Ministry explains, noting that this is one of the cases when dual nationality is permitted.

In a 177-page coalition agreement, the three German political parties now part of the government have also foreseen permitting foreigners in the country to obtain citizenship for a shorter period of time than now.

The government plans to permit immigrants legally residing in the country to file an application for citizenship after five years in the country, unlike now, when applying for German citizenship is possible only after eight countries on a permanent residence permit in Germany.

The government also intends to make procedures for applying for citizenship easier, claiming that the move will mark “a new beginning in migration and integration policy as is right for a modern country of immigration.”

Data by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) shows that 109,880 foreigners became German citizens in 2020, which is a drop of 14.75 per cent compared to 2019 when there were recorded a total of 128,900 cases of citizenship by naturalisation in Germany.

At the same time, 2019 was the year when was marked the highest number of citizenships by naturalisation since 2003. According to Destatis, the main reason behind the high number of foreigners becoming German citizens in 2019 was Brexit, as 14,600 persons who gained German citizenship in the same year were Britons.

In 2020, Turkish citizens were once again the main beneficiaries of German citizenship, with 11,630 of them becoming German citizens. Second came Syrian nationals (6,700), followed by Romanians (5,930), Poles (5,000) and then Brits (14,600).