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Step 1

Do you meet all the requirements for naturalisation?

If you are thinking about naturalisation in Germany, you should check before you apply to see whether you meet the necessary requirements. You can do so here (please note that this check does not provide a guarantee):

Can I become naturalised?

Please note: The Quick Check is only available in German for now.

Step 2

Personalised information from your nationality authority

Your nationality authority (Staatsangehörigkeitsbehörde) will give you the form you need to apply. They can also provide you with more information.

To find out which authority is your nationality authority, you can enquire with your town/city or district administration (Stadtverwaltung or Kreisverwaltung) or with the foreigners authority (Ausländerbehörde).

Some nationality authorities also provide detailed information on naturalisation as well as the application form on their websites. So be sure to do your research online.

Besides the application, you must submit various supporting documents, which are listed in Step 3 below.

Did you know?

According to German law, you do not have to give up your previous citizenships. Anybody can be a citizen of multiple countries.

Step 3

Assembling your documents

Proof of...

If you have a valid passport, submit a copy of your passport. If you do not have a passport, other photo ID may also be suitable, e.g. a driving licence. Even an expired passport can be helpful. If you do not have any of these documents, other proof (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate) is possible. If you are stateless, you will usually need a travel document for stateless persons.

This could be a marriage certificate, a divorce decree or an adoption order, for example.

You can prove that you have a permanent right of residence or a long-term residence permit by presenting your electronic residence permit (eAT).

A temporary residence permit may be sufficient for your naturalisation if, for example, you are in Germany as a skilled worker or if the residence permit was issued for family reunification. You can prove this, too, by presenting your electronic residence permit (eAT).

A copy of your lease agreement, for example, is sufficient proof.

You can prove your residence in Germany with various documents. These include

  • your pension insurance records,
  • a payslip,
  • a certificate of enrolment from a university (including universities of applied sciences),
  • certificates from training courses,
  • school reports,
  • bank statements showing card payments in Germany, or
  • documentation of visits to the doctor.

To prove that you can financially support yourself and your dependent family members, you must submit, for example, your employment contract, payslips or your income tax assessment.

You can prove your German skills with the following documents:

  • a certificate from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) confirming that you have successfully completed a language course,
  • a certificate from the German Test for Immigrants (DTZ),
  • proof that you successfully completed at least four years at a German-speaking school (years that you had to repeat do not count),
  • your lower secondary-school leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss),
  • proof that you reached the tenth grade of secondary school, or
  • your degree certificate from a university (including universities of applied sciences).

You usually prove this by passing a naturalisation test. The Life in Germany test is also considered proof. You can take this test in an integration course. Further information can be found in the following section naturalisation test.

If you have completed school (including vocational school) or university in Germany, your school-leaving certificate or degree certificate is sufficient proof.

This is only a selection of possible documents that you must submit together with your application. Your nationality authority will tell you which additional documents you may need.

You must submit all supporting documents in German. As a rule, you must submit documents from your home country in the original together with a certified German translation. You can find approved translators in the database of translators and interpreters.

Naturalisation test

In order to obtain German citizenship, you usually have to pass a naturalisation test. In the test, you will answer questions about Germany’s legal system, society, culture and history. Topics include democratic values in Germany, the fundamentals of the legal system, equal rights, and freedom of religion.

€25 costs per person
90 % succeed

Who has to take the naturalisation test?

  • Under 16 years of age No
  • Between 16 and 67 years of age Yes
  • Over 67 years of age No

If you have a German school-leaving certificate or university degree, you generally do not have to take the test. And if you entered the Federal Republic of Germany on or before 30 June 1974 as a guest worker, or entered the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on or before 13 June 1990 as a contract worker, you do not have to take the test. This exception also applies to your spouse if they subsequently joined you in Germany. More exceptions can be found in the FAQ section.

Where can I take the test?

You can sign up for the test at the test centres run by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

What does the test look like?

In the test, you will receive a booklet with 33 questions. You have 60 minutes to answer the questions. Each question requires you to select the correct answer from four possible answers. You pass the test if you answer at least 17 questions correctly. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will then provide you with a certificate showing your personal test score. If you answer fewer than 17 questions correctly, you can repeat the test at a later date.


Germany is governed by the rule of law. What does this mean?
  • AAll of its inhabitants and the state itself must follow the law.
  • BThe state does not have to follow the law.
  • COnly Germans must obey the law.
  • DThe courts make the law.


People are allowed to vote in Germany. What does this mean?
  • AAll German citizens are allowed to vote once they reach the minimum age.
  • BOnly married people are allowed to vote.
  • COnly people with secure employment are allowed to vote.
  • DEveryone living in Germany must vote.


27 January is an official day of remembrance in Germany. What does this day commemorate?
  • AThe end of the Second World War
  • BThe adoption of the Basic Law
  • CThe reunification of Germany
  • DThe victims of National Socialism

How can I prepare?

30 of the 33 questions belong to the subject areas “Living in a democracy”, “History and responsibility” and “People and society”. The other three questions will be about the Land (federal state) in which you are officially registered. You can find an overview of all the important topics and review test questions in the online test centre of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Step 4

Submitting your application and documents

Once you have filled out the application form and assembled the required documents, take them to your nationality authority. Some authorities also allow you to apply online. It is advisable to make a copy of all documents.

€255 per person
€51 for children under 18, if they are naturalised with their parents

If you are 16 years or older, you submit the application yourself. Children and young people under the age of 16 must have their legal representative apply for naturalisation on their behalf. This is usually their parents.

Step 5

Your application is reviewed and decided on

Once you have submitted the application and all supporting documents, the authority will check them. Processing times can vary and depend on the individual case. Expect a processing time of 18 months or longer. In some cases, the authorities may also ask you to provide further supporting documents.

Commitment to the free and democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany

If you are over 16 years old, naturalisation requires you to declare your commitment to the free and democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany. You must also declare that you do not pursue or support any endeavours that oppose the free and democratic basic order of the state, and have not done so in the past (known as the declaration of loyalty – Loyalitätserklärung).

During the naturalisation procedure, staff at the authority responsible for your application will talk to you about Germany’s basic order and fundamental values. This is about:

  • Elections and principles of voting
  • Fundamental rights and human rights
  • Democracy and the system of government
  • State authority and the separation of powers
  • The government, government bodies, and parties

Antisemitic or racist acts and other acts evidencing contempt for humanity are incompatible with the human dignity guaranteed to all by Germany’s Basic Law. Such acts violate the free and democratic basic order of the state.

You cannot be naturalised under any circumstances if you commit such acts or hold anti-constitutional views. This also applies if you have committed such acts in the past and do not credibly distance yourself from them today.

Before you receive your naturalisation certificate, you must declare your commitment to the free and democratic basic order of the state in writing.

Acknowledging Germany’s special historical responsibility

If you have reached the age of 16, before you can be naturalised you must declare your commitment to Germany’s special historical responsibility for the tyrannical National Socialist regime and its consequences – in particular for the protection of Jewish life – and to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the prohibition on waging a war of aggression.

You cannot obtain German citizenship if you commit acts that violate this commitment.

Step 6

Your application has been approved

Congratulations! The nationality authority will provide you with details on the next steps.

You will receive a naturalisation certificate, which is usually handed over to you in person or at a naturalisation ceremony. This makes you a German citizen.

Applying for a German identity card and passport

Naturalisation makes you a German citizen with all of the accompanying rights and obligations. The naturalisation certificate lets you apply for an identity document, that is a German passport and/or a German identity card.

Multiple citizenship

According to German law, anybody can be a citizen of multiple countries. Thus, you usually do not have to give up your previous citizenships in order to become a German. However, the country or countries that you are already a citizen of may have other legal regulations – so, for example, you might automatically lose your previous citizenship when you become naturalised in Germany. If you have questions about this, you should contact the embassy or a consulate of the country or countries that you are already a citizen of.

If your application for naturalisation is rejected, please check why this is. If you are unsure, you have the option of contacting the authorities and asking them to explain again why the application was rejected.

You can make up any missing requirements for naturalisation and resubmit the application if necessary. If the information provided by the nationality authority does not help you and you have further questions, then you can also contact the public enquiry service of the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.

The brochure My Path to a German Passport provides comprehensive information on the requirements you must fulfil in order to become a German citizen, how to apply, and how the naturalisation procedure works.

See here for a quick overview of the requirements for naturalisation, as well as answers to the most important questions about the German citizenship.

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