German citizenship allows the holder to live in Europe, visit 191 countries without a visa, access high‑quality medicine and a prestigious education. A German passport can not be obtained by investment but only by naturalization, birth, adoption, marriage or immigrantation.
Foreigners usually acquire citizenship after eight years of residence in the country. We will tell you what requirements are imposed on future citizens of Germany, how to shorten the period for obtaining a passport and whether it is necessary to renounce the citizenship of other countries.
What can German citizenship do for you?
A German passport allows you to live in Germany without restrictions, enjoy all civil rights, travel without visas, save on medical treatment and education.
Moving to Germany. The country attracts immigrants with its high standard of living, health care and education.
Minimum wage in Germany in 2021 was € 9.6 per hour before taxes, or € 1,536 per month. It grows every year and the average salary is higher. In 2021 it is € 3,975 per month before taxes.
Access to European medicine. Germany has a developed health care system. State health insurance takes from 7.3 to 15.6% of the salary. It covers doctors’ appointments, tests, complex surgeries, and even part of some drug costs. Citizens of a country with an income of € 64,350 can purchase private insurance instead of public or refuse it altogether.
Free education in schools and universities for undergraduate programs. Since Students only pay a semester fee, it ranges from € 70 to € 450 depending on the university.
The top 100 ranking of the best universities in the world according to QS includes the Technical University of Munich, Heidelberg University and Ludwig‑Maximilian University of Munich. They have received high marks for their academic reputation.
The climate in the country is temperate, with mild winters and not too hot summers. The temperature in summer rarely rises above +30°C, and in winter, it averages from 0 to +5°C.
The environment is one of Germany’s main priorities. They solve wastage, introduce alternative energy sources, try to minimize environmental pollution and use resources rationally.
Nature attracts many tourists. They go to see Rötbachfal, Bruchhausen and Exer stones, the Devil’s table rock, chalk cliffs, lakes and other natural attractions.
There are 16 national parks in Germany and in the cities, you can visit famous parks. For example, the Palmengarten in Frankfurt, the English Garden in Munich and the Hofgarten in Düsseldorf. The botanical gardens are open in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Heidelberg and other cities.
Viktoria‑Luise‑Platz in Berlin, the capital of Germany
Marienplatz is the central square of Munich. This city is the third largest in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg
The famous Berlin Charite Hospital occupies high positions in the world rankings. Here they treat cancer, infertility and carry out complex surgeries. Treatment in the clinic is available to citizens through insurance
Campus of the Technical University of Munich, the most prestigious university in Germany. Students study engineering, natural sciences, economics and medicine
Jasmund National Park is located on the island of Rügen. It is famous for its chalk cliffs and diverse vegetation
Moving to any EU country is possible for every German citizen. For a long‑term stay, you do not need to obtain a residence permit in advance, it is enough to register if you intend to live for more than three months.
Visa‑free travel to 191 countries including all the countries of the Schengen area, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Business in Europe and access to banks abroad. Residents and citizens of Germany can open companies in Europe, open bank accounts for themselves and their business. Foreigners find it more difficult to open an account in a European Bank without a residence permit or other nationality they are often denied.
How to obtain German citizenship
Citizenship is obtained by naturalization, birth, nationality (for later immigrants – ethnic Germans from the territory of the former USSR). You can not obtain a German passport for investment.
The rules for obtaining citizenship are enshrined in the Citizenship Act (stAG).
Citizenship by naturalization is obtained by foreigners who:
- Have lived for eight years in Germany on the basis of a residence permit or permanent residence.
- Support the country’s democratic values.
- Able to support oneself and the family without using benefits.
- Own real estate or rent housing.
- They are going to renounce the citizenship of other countries, if it is not prohibited by the legislation of another country and will not lead to problems and losses.
- They speak German at B1 level.
- We studied the peculiarities of the legal and social structure of Germany.
- They comply with German laws, e.g. they are not married to several people at once.
To confirm the knowledge of the language and device in Germany, applicants take exams. To prepare for them, you can attend integration courses, but this is not necessary. The exams may not be taken by applicants who are unable to complete the assignment due to physical or mental condition.
It is possible to reduce the period of residence to seven years if you take an integration course and receive a certificate from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. If the applicant demonstrates success in integration, e.g. has mastered German at a higher level than B1, the term in resident status is reduced to six years.
minimum residence time in Germany to apply for citizenship
By birth the child receives citizenship if at least one of the parents is a German citizen. If only the father has German citizenship and his paternity is not confirmed, the procedure for establishing or acknowledging paternity must start before the child turns 23.
If the parent is a German citizen born after December 31st, 1999 and lives abroad at the time of birth, the child does not automatically acquire German citizenship if he can acquire another citizenship. For a child to become a German citizen, parents must apply within the first year of their life.
A child of foreigners born in Germany acquires citizenship only if one of the parents:
- Has legally lived in Germany for at least eight years.
- Has the right to live in Germany indefinitely, e.g. he is a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway.
Citizenship by adoption is granted to all minor children adopted by German citizens.
Citizenship for late settlers who are descendants of ethnic Germans who lived in the USSR.
In order for an applicant to obtain German citizenship for immigrants, several requirements must be met:
- Born before January 1st, 1993.
- From birth, live only on the territory of the former USSR.
- Descend from German ancestors: parents, grandmothers, grandfathers, great‑grandmothers or great‑grandfathers. The ancestor had to live in the USSR on May 8th, 1945 or on March 31st, 1952, if he became a victim of forced resettlement.
- Document your nationality.
- Know German at a conversational level.
How to legally move to Germany
To move to live in Germany, you must first obtain a national visa D, then a residence permit and permanent residence.
A national visa is issued for up to a year. It is received for trips to Germany that last more than 90 days. Such a visa is issued for a second visit to the country, work, long‑term treatment, family reunification, study or treatment.
A residence permit in Germany is issued for up to three years, then it can be extended. Residence permit cards are issued to foreigners for various purposes: study, work, marriage with a German citizen, family reunification, immigration of Jews and late settlers. Furthermore, on the territory of the country there are blue cards of the European Union; a residence permit for highly qualified specialists.
Wealthy people can obtain a residence permit in Germany to conduct business. Sometimes residence permit cards are issued to the financially independent. Wealthy people with passive income, with all needs met. Together, with relatives, a spouse and minor children receive a residence permit.
Comparison of residence permit in Germany for doing business and for financially independent people
|Criteria for comparing||Residence permit for business||Residence permit for financially independent people|
|🧑 Who gets a residence permit||Foreign citizen over 18 years old with education and experience in the field of future business||Foreign citizen over 18 years old|
|🇩🇪 Knowledge of the German language||Optional, but it will be an advantage||Optional|
|💶 Capital||Sufficient to start a company||Sufficient to provide for oneself and the family consistently|
|💼 Business project||Useful for the region where the company will operate and approved by the Chamber of Commerce||Not required|
|📝 Additional requirements|| Buy or rent real estate, get health insurance |
For applicants over 45 years old — a pension or life insurance contract
|Buy or rent real estate, get medical insurance|
Permanent residence, or a permanent residence permit, usually obtained after five years of residence in the status of a residence permit. To become a permanent resident of Germany, you need to:
- Have a stable income and not rely on any benefit.
- Make pension contributions for all five years.
- Buy or rent housing with an area of at least 12 m2 for each family member.
- Have no trouble with the law.
- Confirm knowledge of German at level B1.
- Take an integration course.
In some cases, the period for obtaining permanent residence can be shortened. For example, an investor with a residence permit for business can apply for permanent residence after three years, if the company he founded is successfully developing.
one needs to live in Germany with a residence permit in order to apply for permanent residence
Dual citizenship in Germany: is it allowed to have a second passport?
Usually, when obtaining German citizenship by naturalization, you need to renounce the citizenship of other countries. Because of this, immigrants often prefer to remain in permanent residence status and not apply for citizenship. But some categories of citizens can retain multiple citizenship.
The first citizenship should not be renounced if:
- legislation of the country does not imply renunciation or renunciation of citizenship;
- the citizen was denied several times to renounce citizenship, was refused without explanation, or it took too long to make a decision on the application;
- renunciation of citizenship for a senior citizen causes too many difficulties;
- the citizen will lose property or incur losses;
- the citizen has a refugee certificate.
- citizens of the European Union and Switzerland;
- children whose parents have different citizenship. For example, the father is a citizen of Russia, and the mother is a citizen of Germany;
- children of foreign citizens who were born after 2000, if one of the parents has a residence permit in Germany and has been living in the country for at least eight years.
Grounds for revoking German citizenship
A Deutsch passport can be revoked for several reasons.
1. Obtaining citizenship of another country. If a German citizen acquires the citizenship of another country by his own application, as a rule, he loses citizenship in Germany.
To avoid losing German citizenship, you need to obtain permission in advance to retain it. A permit is issued only if the law of another country does not prohibit its citizens from having multiple passports.
2. Refusal or renunciation of citizenship. A German citizen can renounce citizenship if he is already a citizen of another country.
Renunciation of citizenship implies that a German citizen does not yet have a second passport. To renounce citizenship, he provides evidence that he will be accepted into citizenship in another country.
3. Service in a foreign army. If a person voluntarily enlists in the army of another state, he loses his German citizenship. This can be avoided by obtaining permission from the German Ministry of Defense in advance.
Citizenship is not lost in the case of compulsory conscription. Voluntary service in the army of the country of second citizenship is allowed provided that the state is a member of the European Union, NATO or the European Free Trade Association. Also, without losing German citizenship, you can serve in Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
4. Adoption by a foreign citizen can lead to the loss of German citizenship.
How an investor can obtain European citizenship
In other EU countries, an investor can obtain a passport or residence permit card in a shorter period of time. The naturalization process takes one year. Moreover, in most cases, you will not have to renounce your first citizenship.
The Maltese, Portuguese, Greek and Spanish passports both give the same benefits as the German passport. EU citizens can live in Germany; they just need to register after three months of stay.
Malta offers investors two options: permanent residence by investment and citizenship by exceptional services based on direct investment.
Permanent residence status is given for life. After five years from the date of its receipt, the investor can apply for citizenship provided that he has lived in Malta for four years out of the last five, and did not leave the country a year before submitting the documents.
one needs to live in Malta with permanent residence in order to obtain citizenship
Citizenship of Malta for exceptional services is obtained by naturalization. The minimum investment is € 690,000. The investor buys or rents real estate, makes a contribution to the National Wealth Fund and makes a charitable donation.
The investor first receives a residence permit. After one or three years as a resident, he can apply for citizenship. The amount of investment depends on the period for obtaining a passport: in order to apply in a year, you need to pay € 150,000 more to the fund than when applying after three years.
investors spend in the status of a residence permit before obtaining citizenship of Malta
Portugal offers investors to obtain a “golden visa” as a residence permit.
Applicants choose from eight investment options. The most popular options are buying real estate for restoration in the amount of € 350,000, buying any real estate for € 500,000, investing in funds of € 500,000 or transferring € 1,500,000 to a deposit. These conditions have been in effect since 2022.
The application for a Portuguese passport can be submitted after five years as a resident. At the same time, you do not need to live in the country as it is enough to fulfill the requirements of the residence permit program and renew it on time. In order not to lose their residence permit status, investors spend seven days a year in Portugal.
an investor with a residence permit is waiting to obtain Portuguese citizenship
Greece and Spain also offer residence permits by investment. The minimum investment in Greece is € 250,000 and in Spain € 500,000.
A Greek or Spanish passport is more difficult to obtain than a Portuguese one. A prerequisite is permanent residence in the country of residence permit for several years. And if an investor receives a Spanish passport, he has to give up his first citizenship.
Frequently Asked Questions
By naturalization, by marriage, through ancestry, by descent, adoption or the proof of birth from ethnic Germans are all valid.
More often than German nationality is received by naturalization. An application for it can be submitted after eight years of legal residence in the country with a residence permit and permanent residence.
No, there are no investor programs in Germany. Wealthy people can obtain a residence permit for financially independent persons, and then citizenship by naturalization.
No. The first citizenship will have to be renounced.
There are a few exceptions to the rule. Late settlers and children who received citizenship of another state from one of the parents are not obliged to renounce their previous citizenship.
It is not necessary to give up the first citizenship if it causes property losses or if the state does not give permission to renounce citizenship.
The reasons for the loss of German citizenship include contract service in a foreign army, obtaining citizenship of another country and adoption by foreign citizens. You can also renounce German citizenship at your own will.