May 15, 2024
Citizenship by investment programs

Germany's New Citizenship Law 2024

According to the Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, roughly 20.2 million people in Germany in 2022 either moved to the country themselves or were born to two people who moved there. With many struggling with the naturalization process, the Federal Cabinet adopted the draft of Germany’s New Citizenship Law on 23 August 2023. This new legislation that will make it easier to gain German citizenship in 5 years and keep one’s previous citizenship is expected to go into effect in early 2024.

Passed in the German Bundestag with a majority vote, all that remains for this law to go into power is a formal adoption from the Bundestrat, which requires a signature from the President

In this article we are going to cover the main changes that the new citizenship law in Germany brings:

  • The naturalization period requirement was shortened
  • Fast-track citizenship with only three years of residence, for outstanding residents
  • Ability to hold a second passport (dual citizenship)

General changes

Naturalization Period Shortened from 8 to 5 and 3 Years

One of the biggest changes in the new law is reducing the wait time for citizenship from eight years to five, exceptionally fast-track in only 3 years. This means that migrants who have been residing in Germany for at least three to five years can now apply for citizenship. This makes it easier for those who have been waiting for an opportunity to apply for citizenship. 

Not Taking Test

Former guest workers and migrants over the age of 67 no longer have to take a written exam thanks to the new citizenship law in Germany. They only have to take an oral exam and show that they are in line with German values. This change in the new German citizenship law makes it easier for those who are already well-integrated into German society to deal with less bureaucracy. 

Expands to the Entire Family

As long as one parent has been a resident of Germany for 5 years they can extend their citizenship to their entire family. This also applies to those children who were born to a resident outside of Germany. Those who were born in Germany to a parent of a resident are automatically granted citizenship. 

Special Integration Achievements

Those who particularly show particular excellence at school, work, or in civil society, and also have a German language skill equivalent of C1, can be granted citizenship in as few as three years if they are shown to uphold German values. This rewards those who are open to adopting German values and contributing to society as promising future German citizens. 

Main requirements


For residents to be eligible to apply to the naturalization process, they must not be Book Two or Book Twelve of Germany’s Social Code programs. There are some exemptions: 

  • Former “guest workers” or “contract workers” who receive benefits from Book Two or Book Twelve of the Social Code that they can not abstain from
  • Those who have been working full-time for at least 20 months over the past 24 months
  • Spouses of fully employed residents who are living in a family household with a child

Criminal Record

Those with serious offenses in Germany or their home country are automatically denied a chance at citizenship. 

Those with petty offenses and having served a sentence of less than 90 days are denied a chance at naturalization.

The only thing that is not going to be tolerated is going against the values of German society. This includes any offense of antisemitism, racism, sexism, or any contempt for humanity. Those who violate any of these values will not be eligible for naturalization. 

The criminal background process is quickly digitizing, making the screening process much more effective and efficient. This allows more authorities to engage in the background check procedure at different steps in the process.  

Dual citizenship

One of the biggest changes in the 5-year law for German citizenship is being able to hold a second passport. Previously those who wanted to complete the naturalization process had to get rid of their passport and adopt a German one which led to many not taking German citizenship because they wanted to hold onto the passport of their home country. The new German citizenship law opens up the opportunity for German citizenship for those who previously hesitated to now be dual citizens. 

Previously the only second passport that German citizens were able to hold was a Swiss one but now those who originally took a German passport can now apply to get a second one anywhere. 

What's the main purpose of these changes?

For decades many migrant workers did not have proper avenues to pursue German citizenship and integrate into society. These new laws were created to incentivize the integration process and reward those who adhere to German values. 

Since the 1960s, Germany has been accepting “Guest workers” ("Gastarbeiter") to come from abroad to fill the labor shortage. Over the years laws have evolved to help migrants better integrate and have an opportunity to become German citizens. 

Studies show that those who are granted citizenship earlier have an easier time integrating into the education process. 

Pushback from Opposition

While many migrant workers are happy about this new German citizenship law in 2024, some even claiming that it took too long to adopt, other parties are against it. 

In Germany’s Parliament, there were 382 yes votes and 234 no votes, with 23 abstentions for the new German citizenship law. Some of the opposition includes the Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

They express their concern that this new law cheapens German citizenship and is done to create more voters for the ruling parties. 

Current German Residence Options for Non-European

For those who seek citizenship in Germany and are prepared to make a more direct investment into the country, investment opportunities are available for German residency through investment. While there is no official program, investing large sums of money, starting from 500,000 euros,  into the German economy can qualify you for residency. After three years of a residency visa, you will have the opportunity to become a permanent resident then apply for German citizenship. 

This is a great opportunity for investors who want to be a dual citizen of Germany as the new German citizenship law opens up the possibility for holding two passports. 

If you are interested in acquiring dual German citizenship through investment, talk to our experts.


This 2024 German citizenship law opens up an opportunity for citizenship for hundreds of thousands of migrants. It reduces the time needed as a resident, is more inclusive to different kinds of migrants, and allows citizens to hold a second passport. 

These new changes still require that those applying adhere strictly to Germany’s values including not holding any anti-semitic, racist, or sexist beliefs. The Social Democrats, the Free Democrats, and the Green Party who voted for the bill believe that by making citizenship more available, they will better integrate migrants into German society.  However, the opposition claims this new German citizenship law devalues citizenship and voted against the bill, which failed to stop it. 

The German citizenship in 5-year law can be expected to go into effect in the early months of 2024. 


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