German citizenship - Familienzusammenführung

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German citizenship

english > German Aliens Law in English
German rules on citizenship
The German rules on citizenship were  thoroughly revised by, first, the amended Nationality  Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz) on 1 January 2000. The rules underwent a revision with the Immigration Act  (Zuwanderungsgesetz) on 1 January 2005. And again with the with the government 2022 new rules are to be expected
Children born in Germany to foreign parents may acquire German nationality if certain conditions are met. However, they must decide between the ages of 18 and 23 whether  to retain their German nationality or the nationality of their parents.
Pursuant to section 7 of the Nationality Act, repatriates returning to Germany in or after 1993 automatically acquire German nationality upon receipt of the papers issued under section 15 of the Federal Expellees Act after they arrive in Germany.
As a general rule, foreigners now have the right to become naturalized after eight years of habitual residence in Germany, provided they meet the relevant conditions, instead of fifteen years previously required.
The minimum period of residence for spouses of German nationals is usually shorter (3 years).
For naturalization, it is necessary to prove adequate knowledge of German (B1).
A clean record and commitment to the tenets of the Basic Law (Constitution) are further  criteria.
The person to be naturalized usually must be able to financially support him/herself.
It is possible to acquire the German citizenship from aboard, when there are strong enough ties to Germany.
In general, those applying for  naturalization must give up their foreign nationality.
However, there are exceptions which allow applicants to retain their old nationality (Beibehaltungantrag).
These apply, for example, to  elderly persons and victims of political persecution.
Applicants may also keep their nationality if it is legally impossible for them to renounce it or if they cannot be expected to do so, e.g. because of the  excessive cost or degrading procedures. The same is true if  renouncing the foreign nationality would bring serious disadvantages, especially economic disadvantages or problems with property and assets. The rules were eased for the citizens of most EU countries.
Typically authorities do not check the exemptions from the normal requirements for the citizenhship that are possible.
If authority denies the German citizenship or you have trouble with the authority, it may be wise to consult a lawyer.

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