A draft law aimed at making it easier to acquire German citizenship for people who have lived in Germany for 5 years or more is currently being prepared by the German federal government.
The proposed law, if enacted may permit applicants to retain their original citizenship, while getting German citizenship in addition. It is also being proposed to allow people to gain German citizenship after just three years living in Germany if they are especially well integrated and speak good German.
Currently, the process of obtaining citizenship in Germany often requires individuals to reside in the country for up to eight years and for non-EU citizens to surrender their original citizenship. Over 70,000 Brits in Germany now have dual British-German citizenship, as they applied for German citizenship before the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020, allowing them to keep their British citizenship. That is now no longer possible.
The proposed changes to the law have been welcomed by British in Germany because they offer an opportunity for those who were not able to benefit from gaining EU/German citizenship before the Brexit transition period, to potentially still do so, creating less of a division in rights amongst British citizens living in Germany.
The new law, if passed, would bring numerous benefits for British citizens if they acquired dual citizenship including the right to vote in all elections and the right to free movement to live and work in other EU member states, something that British citizens have lost as a result of Brexit. At the same time, it would allow British citizens to preserve their rights in the UK, allowing them for example to work in the UK or if they needed to return to care for older relatives, which is quite often the case.
The German coalition government has expressed its intention to enact the law by the summer of 2023. British in Germany will be following developments closely and keeping our members updated.
To find out more about current citizenship regulations see here.
Some recent press coverage of the changes:
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