Flash News


Germany towards easing the procedures for acquiring citizenship

Germany towards easing the procedures for acquiring citizenship

Germany's government is pushing ahead with plans to ease citizenship rules in the European Union's most populous country, an effort being attacked by the conservative opposition.

Chancellor Oiaf Scholz said in a video message on November 26 that Germany has long become the "land of hope" for many people and it is a good thing when people who have put down roots in the country decide to take up citizenship.

"Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men," Scholz said.

The overhaul of citizenship rules is one of a series of modernizing reforms that Scholz's three-party coalition of center-left Social Democrats agreed to tackle when he took office last December.

The Interior Ministry said on Friday that the bill is "almost ready".

Last year's coalition agreement calls for people to be eligible for German citizenship after five years, or three in the case of "special integration achievements", instead of the current eight or six years.

Children born in Germany will automatically become citizens if one parent has been a legal resident for five years.

The government also wants to remove restrictions on holding dual citizenship. In principle, most people from countries other than members of the European Union and Switzerland currently have to give up their previous citizenship when they acquire German citizenship, although there are some exceptions.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser argued that reducing waiting times to qualify for citizenship is "an incentive for integration."

The goal is to reflect reality, she said Friday.

"We are a diverse, modern country of immigration, and I think the legislation should reflect that," Faeser said.

Official statistics show that around 131,600 people obtained German citizenship last year, a quarter of them citizens of other EU countries.

The number was 20 percent higher than a year earlier, in part because a growing number of Syrians naturalized. The total population of Germany is about 84 million.

The main centre-right opposition bloc, the Union, opposes plans to liberalize naturalization laws. REL

Latest news